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Miami receives top award for campus internationalization effort

By Margo Kissell, university news and communications

international studentsMiami University has been awarded a 2019 Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization by NAFSA: Association of International Educators.

Named after the late U.S. senator from Illinois, the award recognizes outstanding innovation and accomplishment in campus internationalization. Miami is one of eight U.S. universities and colleges to receive the honor. The awards are separated into two categories to reflect the broad array of approaches used to effectively internationalize campuses.

Miami is one of five institutions to receive the Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization, which distinguishes excellence in integrating international education throughout all facets of university and college campuses. The award recognizes overall excellence in internationalization efforts as evidenced in mission, strategies, programs and results, NAFSA said on its website.

“We are honored,” said Cheryl Young, assistant provost for Global Initiatives and eLearning at Miami. “The award represents the strong commitment of our community of educators, staff, students and alumni at Miami University who collaborate to embed international, global, and intercultural perspectives and dimensions into the university mission and vision which emphasizes ‘an appreciation of diverse views, and a sense of responsibility to our global future.’”

From Young’s perspective, Miami’s strengths in internationalization are:

  • Global Miami Plan — general education requirements that have global and intercultural perspectives embedded in them, so that every undergraduate has an internationalized experience at Miami whether they study abroad or not. “This was innovative when it was put in place over 10 years ago and has been strengthened over the years,” Young said.
  • Miami University John E. Dolibois European Center (MUDEC) — the rich, deep history of the Luxembourg program going back 50 years and the collaboration in that program with the Grandy Duchy of Luxembourg as well as the City of Differdange. 
  • Faculty-led study abroad — Miami has about 155 faculty-led study abroad programs, which Young believes may be the largest in the U.S. “These programs and MUDEC are at the core of what keeps us at the top of the Open Doors rankings for education abroad.”
  • Strong support for international students through the American Culture & English (ACE) program, Howe Writing Center English Laboratory and the English Language Center on the Middletown campus, as well as the core of advisers and program managers in International Student & Scholars Services.
  • Partnerships such as the Global Partner Summer School (brings international students to Oxford in the summer for short-term cultural and academic experience) and the US-India Education Foundation grant with Christ University; and centers such as Miami’s Havighurst Center for Russian and Post-Soviet Studies.

group of international studentsEsther Brimmer, NAFSA executive director and CEO, said in a news release it is vital that students have the tools and experiences necessary to thrive in an increasingly interconnected global community. “These eight institutions stand as excellent examples of how U.S. universities and colleges can effectively provide opportunities for cross-cultural competency using a varied set of methods,” she said.

“There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to internationalization. With institutions like these continuing to strive to incorporate creatively global perspectives onto their campuses, I am confident we can prepare our students to succeed and ultimately strengthen ties around the world.”

The awards will be presented at a NAFSA event in mid-November that will coincide with International Education Week.