These 5 colleges earn high marks for international and study abroad success

NAFSA honors one community college, one public university and three private institutions for their impact on global learning.
By: | February 23, 2022
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For the past 20 years, NAFSA: Association of International Educators has honored the outstanding work of institutions across the nation that prepare students with global cultural and learning experiences.

In the best of times, they’ve done remarkably well to bring different people together with enriching study abroad and international student programs. In some of the most challenging times recently, college offices have put forth extraordinary efforts, dealing head-on with issues of racial justice, the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.

This year, NAFSA has honored five special colleges and universities for achieving excellence in that work with 2022 Senator Paul Simon Awards for Campus Internationalization, including comprehensive winners Kent State University and The College of Lake County. Their flexible solutions not only kept programs running both in-person and online but also offered innovative ideas for the future.

“This year’s awards recognize both creative responses to the recent challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as long-established programs that are true standard-bearers for the field of international education,” NAFSA Executive Director and CEO Esther Brimmer said. “We commend all five recipients for their commitment to engaging their full student population in the pursuit of global education. The Simon Awards continue to serve as an inspiring showcase of how international education is ever-evolving to foster greater understanding and respect among students of diverse backgrounds and forge leaders who are equipped for a globally connected future.”

Globally focused initiatives at Marist College, Northeastern University and Northwestern University were honored with Spotlight awards. All of them made a “conscious effort to integrate and infuse international, intercultural and global dimensions into the ethos and outcomes of their students’ education.”

Marist, a perennial honoree for its study abroad work, was given marks for its Freshman Experiences, which gives students the opportunities to study and embrace the cultures of Florence, Italy, and Dublin, Ireland. That immersion, which Marish supports heavily with academic and residential support services, can help students “distinguish themselves from others” from the first year.

Northeastern was lauded for its world-renowned Global Co-op program, which allows students the opportunity to learn, network and work overseas while giving international students coming to the U.S. a chance to gain skills here. And Northwestern’s Global Engagement Studies Institute was honored for its mission to solve worldwide challenges in numerous countries such as Costa Rica, Ghana, Argentina and Vietnam, as well as its ability to pivot to hybrid during the COVID crisis.

The choice of just two overall campuswide initiatives—at Kent State and the College of Lake County—bucked a trend of at least four being named across the history of the awards. But they each stood out for their breadth in serving students with an array of academic and cultural programs.


More from UB: The 6 areas that are essential in supporting international students


The College of Lake County, a large community college system in Illinois, has been a leader in developing and advising its students, both those who come to the U.S. and those who study abroad, into global citizens. It hosts 70-100 students from 35 nations and provides options for domestic students to go to 10 countries, including China, the Philippines, Japan, Austria, Costa Rica, England, Ireland, France and Spain. And the big bonus is its cost, which is far less than that of traditional four-year institutions.

“We are delighted to have been honored with this award from NAFSA in recognition of our efforts and ongoing work to promote global citizenship and international education throughout our college and Lake County community,” CLC Director of Global Engagement Dr. Jacob Cushing said. “This award is a direct result of support from countless CLC staff, engaged faculty, an encouraging administration and courageous students who, at their heart, believe in the importance and mission of international education and global engagement.”

Kent State University serves more than 1,300 international students and offers American-born students the opportunity to study abroad in more than 60 countries, with a pair of education centers in Florence and Curitiba, Brazil. Hit hard by the pandemic, which reduced those abroad students from 1,500 to 200, Kent State officials say they expect to see a possible record-setting rebound in the fall. “At Kent State University, we are committed to granting access to students from all around the world and to make the whole world available for our students,” said Marcello Fantoni, Kent State’s vice president for global education. “We want to graduate students ready for the global world as active participants in a democratic society.”

PAST WINNERS

2021
Comprehensive Award
Davidson-Davie Community College
Florida International University
Lehigh University
Santa Fe College
The University of Texas at Austin
Spotlight Award
Indiana University for its Global Gateway for Teachers program
Miami Dade College for its Educate Tomorrow Abroad program
University of North Carolina Wilmington for its First-Year Spring Admit (FYSA) in the UK program
2020
Comprehensive Award
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach Campus
Emerson College
United States Naval Academy
University of California-Davis
Spotlight Award
Agnes Scott College for its SUMMIT Global Journeys program
DePaul University for its Global Learning Experience program
University of Maryland-College Park for its Year of Immigration initiative
2019
Comprehensive Award
Brown University
Dickinson College
Kirkwood Community College
Miami University
West Virginia University
Spotlight Award
SUNY Buffalo State for its SUNY Buffalo State International Professional Development Schools (IPDS) Consortium
University of Evansville for its UE Builds: Local and Global
Virginia Tech for its Rising Sophomore Abroad Program
2018
Comprehensive Award
Babson College
St. Lawrence University
Stony Brook University
Texas Tech University
University of Florida
Spotlight Award
Baldwin Wallace University for its BW in Zambia program
Harper College for its Global Region of Focus Initiative
University of Georgia for its UGA-Minas Gerais Joint Research Partnership
2017
Comprehensive Award
Florida State University
Santa Monica College
University of Iowa
University of Pittsburgh
Spotlight Award
Spelman College for the Spelman Going Global Initiative
Texas Christian University for the TCU Rhino Initiative
University of North Texas for the Heart of Mexico Program
2016
Comprehensive Award
College of William & Mary
New York Institute of Technology
University of Massachusetts Boston
The University of Tampa
Spotlight Award
East Carolina University
Texas Tech University
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
2015
Comprehensive Award
University of Delaware
Mount Holyoke College
North Central College
University of San Diego
University of Virginia
Spotlight Award
Rice University
Virginia Commonwealth University
Wake Forest University
2014
Comprehensive Award
Columbus State University
North Carolina State University
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
The Ohio State University
Spotlight Award
Albion College
George Mason University
The University of Texas at Austin
2013
Comprehensive Award
Colorado State University
Green River Community College
Lone Star College System
St. Cloud State University
University of South Florida
Spotlight Award
Fairfield University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Northwestern University
2012
Comprehensive Award
College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University
Juniata College
Northern Arizona University
San Francisco State University
University of Michigan
Spotlight Award
Providence College
University of Arizona
Washington and Jefferson College
2011
Comprehensive Award
Beloit College
Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis
Kennesaw State University
Macalester College
New York University
Spotlight Award
Barnard College
University of Rhode Island
University of San Diego
2010
Comprehensive Award
Carnegie Mellon University
Hobart & William Smith Colleges
Loyola University Maryland
Northeastern University
University of San Francisco
Spotlight Award
Borough of Manhattan Community College
La Roche College
College of the Atlantic
2009
Comprehensive Award
Boston University
Connecticut College
Pacific Lutheran University
Portland State University
University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Spotlight Award
Berklee College of Music
Fairleigh Dickinson University
University of California Davis
2008
Comprehensive Award
Goucher College
Nebraska Wesleyan University
Pittsburg State University
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Valparaiso University
Spotlight Award
Colorado State University
Miami Dade College
Webster University
2007
Comprehensive Award
Calvin College
Elon University
Georgia Institute of Technology
The University of Oklahoma
Spotlight Award
Shoreline Community College
Valparaiso University
2006
Comprehensive Award
Arcadia University
Concordia College
Earlham College
Michigan State University
Purdue University
Spotlight Award
Babson College
Old Dominion University
University of Richmond
2005
Comprehensive Award
Colby College
Colgate University
Howard Community College
University of California, Los Angeles
University of Kansas
Spotlight Award
Columbus State Community College
El Camino College
University of Denver
2004
Comprehensive Award
Bellevue Community College
Binghamton University
Duke University
St. Norbert College
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Spotlight Award
Juniata College
Lynn University
Missouri Southern State University
Suffolk University
University of Delaware
University of Florida
University of Notre Dame
University of Oregon
2003
Comprehensive Award
Community College of Philadelphia
Dickinson College
Eastern Mennonite University
Indiana University
San Diego State University
Yale University
Spotlight Award
Duke University
Kalamazoo College
Kapi’olani Community College/University of Hawaii
Middlebury College
Montclair State University
Randolph Macon Woman’s College
St. Olaf College
Tufts University
University of Pittsburgh
Worcester Polytechnic Institute