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Award honors U. of I. for efforts in campus internationalization


Matt VanderZalm, communications coordinator, International Programs and Studies

Melissa Mitchell, News Editor

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has been selected to receive the 2008 Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization.

The award, presented by NAFSA: Association of International Educators, recognizes the university for “outstanding and innovative efforts in campus internationalization.”

NAFSA is the world’s largest non-profit association dedicated to international education. The award honors the memory of Simon, a lifelong advocate of international education who, until his death in 2003, supported efforts to expand U.S. students’ participation in study-abroad and exchange programs.

The U. of I. is one of five universities receiving this year’s Simon Award, and will be featured with the other institutions in the NAFSA report “Internationalizing the Campus 2008: Profiles of Success at Colleges and Universities.” Others recipients are Goucher College, Nebraska Wesleyan University, Pittsburg State University and Valparaiso University.

William Brustein, the U. of I.’s associate provost for international affairs and director of International Programs and Studies, said Illinois’ status as the only institution in the United States to rank in the top five in three key metrics of campus internationalization was a key reason for the recognition. Illinois ranks second in the number of Title VI U.S. Department of Education National Resource Centers (with eight), fourth in the number of international students on campus, and fifth in the number of undergraduates who study abroad.

“The University of Illinois’ selection for the prestigious 2008 Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization is further testament to our institution’s prominence as a leading global university,” Brustein said. “The University of Illinois aims to educate future global leaders possessing the ability to communicate effectively across cultural and linguistic boundaries.”

He said the university’s success can be attributed to a supportive campus environment, the leveraging of Illinois’ decentralized international structure, a focus on key strategic international partnerships, and investments in the internationalization of the faculty.

When it was founded in 1948, NAFSA originally stood for the National Association of Foreign Student Advisers. The name changed to NAFSA: Association of International Educators to reflect the expanding roles of NAFSA members into all aspects of international education and exchange.