Award recognizes the university's strategic approach to internationalization
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – On February 25, NAFSA: Association of International Educators announced Rutgers University as a recipient of the 2014 Simon Award for their comprehensive internationalization efforts. Named for the late Senator Paul Simon of Illinois, the Simon Awards recognize outstanding and innovative achievements in campus internationalization and are among the most prestigious awards for comprehensive internationalization.
Rutgers received the 2014 “Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization” for excellence in integrating international education across all aspects of college and university campuses. "Comprehensive internationalization" is the planned, strategic integration of international, intercultural and global dimensions into the ethos and outcomes of higher education.
“Rutgers is pleased to receive the Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization,” said Richard L. Edwards, executive vice president for academic affairs, “Rutgers understands the importance of international research, teaching and service in providing the best academic environment possible for our students, faculty and staff.”
The award recognizes Rutgers significant strides in providing a global education to its students, tackling global challenges through research, and working with diverse communities at home and abroad. Rutgers reinvigorated its commitment to internationalization with the establishment of the Centers for Global Advancement and International Affairs (GAIA Centers) in July 2011. The university-wide unit for international affairs, brought global education, global services, global programs and global relations under one umbrella. In recent years, the university has welcomed the most international students to campus in its history, launched innovative international service learning programs around the world, established partnerships with well-known institutions abroad and expanded on campus global programming for students and faculty.
Rutgers is one of only a few universities in the U.S. that includes international research, teaching, and service in the tenure and promotion process, recognizing the value of international engagement among faculty. Academic leaders on all Rutgers campuses, along with the GAIA Centers, have supported faculty international research and projects in a wide range of disciplines, such as chemistry, education, environmental sciences, public policy, economics and more, with more than $400,000 in funding since 2012. In addition, more than 70 faculty and staff members already traveling internationally have participated in the Faculty and Staff Ambassadors Program to support the university’s international connections and promote Rutgers abroad.
The university is one of only 27 universities to have a formal relationship with the United Nations Department of Public Information, with more than 900 students engaging with the UN since 2009. This relationship provides Rutgers students and faculty with access to UN briefings, conferences, internships and networking opportunities on critical global issues. The university has launched a United Nations Alumni Interest Group and a United Nations Student Club to further connect the Rutgers community with the United Nations.
A wide range of new programming has been launched to engage faculty and students in conversations about global concerns. This year, more than 100 events are being hosted by units across the university as part of the Global Health! Biennial Theme, which offers a framework for members of the Rutgers community to explore, discuss, and analyze critical global health issues. In its seventh year, the Biennial Theme has grown exponentially and has led the university in conversations around such topics as the role of technology, human rights and ecologies.
The Center for Global Education’s flagship International Service Learning (ISL) programs combine academic learning with service engagement in the local community with 13 programs slated for summer 2014 in countries including China, Ghana, Mexico, Senegal and Turkey. The Center for Global Education has seen a 46 percent increase in ISL enrollment since the first programs were launched. Rutgers ISL programs also typically enroll more diverse populations than traditional study abroad programs. 2013 data shows that 54% of students were Asian, black or Latino. The 34% of black and Latino students who chose ISL programs is nearly three times that of non-ISL study abroad programs. Hundreds of Rutgers students study abroad each year, choosing from more than 100 programs through the Center for Global Education. Nearly $250,000 in student scholarships for semester and summer study abroad programs were awarded during the 2012-2013 academic year.
Rutgers’ engagement with universities and colleges around the world has also enhanced the university’s international engagement at home and abroad. Rutgers currently has more than 250 Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with partners in over 60 countries. In the past year, the university has signed several MOUs to expand opportunities for student and faculty access to international education, including the establishment of the only visiting professorship in global health with the Brazil Fulbright Commission, with the first visiting professor beginning in fall 2014. Rutgers also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) establishing an ICCR Chair in Indian Studies, who will also be a visiting professor at the university. The chair and visiting professor will teach courses, deliver public lectures and engage directly with staff and students at Rutgers.
Rutgers has welcomed an increasing number of international students and scholars to campus each year. The university saw a 61 percent increase in undergraduate international student enrollment and 13 percent increase in graduate international student enrollment between the 2010-2011 and 2012-2013 academic years. About 1,000 international scholars came to Rutgers in 2012-2013. With the increase in international student enrollment, the university has launched new and expanded existing services to the international community, including the development of online, peer advising and cross-cultural programming.
“Rutgers’ selection as a Simon Award winner rewards the university’s strategic approach to internationalization,” said Joanna Regulska, vice president for international and global affairs. “At Rutgers, we understand that internationalization is embedded throughout the entire institution, including sending students abroad, welcoming international students, enabling faculty to tackle global challenges through research, teaching and public service, internationalizing the curriculum, establishing relationships around the world and much more.”
Columbus State University, North Carolina State University and The Ohio State University were also awarded the “Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization.” Albion College, George Mason University, and the University of Texas at Austin will receive the 2014 "Senator Paul Simon Spotlight Award" for a specific international program or initiative that contributes to comprehensive internationalization.
Senator Simon was a strong supporter of international education and foreign language learning. His leadership in these areas was especially evident in his robust support for the creation of the National Security Education Program, which addresses critical national security deficiencies in language and cultural expertise, and for his vision of a national program to greatly expand U.S. citizens' knowledge of the world, which was the inspiration behind the proposed Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation Act. For more information about the Simon bill, visit www.nafsa.org/simon.
Institutions selected for the internationalization awards this year will be featured in NAFSA's report, Internationalizing the Campus: Profiles of Success at Colleges and Universities, to be published this fall, and honored at an event in Washington, D.C. during International Education Week. To learn more about the Senator Paul Simon Awards, visit www.nafsa.org/SimonAward.