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January 27, 2014 Special IIE.Interactive
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The Institute of International Education (IIE) is pleased to announce the winners of the annual IIE Andrew Heiskell Awards for Innovation in International Education. The awards honor the most outstanding initiatives in international higher education among the member campuses of the IIENetwork, IIE’s membership association of more than 1,200 higher education institutions. IIE will present the awards at a ceremony in New York City on March 14, 2014 as part of its annual Best Practices in Internationalization Conference for campus professionals. More than 150 campus leaders and international education professionals in the United States and around the world attend the conference each year.

IIE's Heiskell Awards showcase the most innovative and successful models for internationalizing the campus, study abroad, and international partnership programs in practice today, with a particular emphasis on initiatives that remove institutional barriers and broaden the base of participation in study abroad and international teaching and learning on campus. This year’s awards will recognize ten initiatives that are being conducted by thirteen campuses.

The IIE Andrew Heiskell Awards were named for Andrew Heiskell, a former chairman of Time Inc. and a long-time member of the Executive Committee of IIE's Board of Trustees. Mr. Heiskell was a renowned international and cultural philanthropist and a dedicated supporter of international learning.


See profiles of this year’s winners, along with 13 years of winning programs on IIE’s Best Practices Resource. Read the full press release about the 2014 Heiskell Award winners


The Clemson Engineers for Developing Countries (CEDC) Haiti Initiative is an innovative student-directed program that began as an applied engineering program, but now also integrates civic engagement and extends across disciplines to improve the quality of life and work towards a sustainable future for the village of Cange. CEDC projects have directly impacted over 10,000 Haitians. The CEDC Haiti Initiative works with Zanmi Lasante, a local nongovernmental healthcare provider, to develop solutions through interdisciplinary student-led initiatives in partnership with Clemson University, non-profit organizations, and industry. The program created its first service-learning experience in the fall of 2009 with seven civil engineering students, who focused on the design for a municipal water filtration and distribution system in Haiti’s Central Plateau, serving a population of 3,500. The Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina provided initial funding for the project, and the students raised personal funds to travel, collect data, and initiate the design process. A few months later, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Port-au-Prince, and the devastation caused thousands of Haitians to relocate to the Central Plateau. The surge in population, coupled with a subsequent outbreak of cholera, placed increased pressure on the student team to complete the water filtration system. Faced with growing health and environmental issues, CEDC branched out to form its first interdisciplinary collaboration with Clemson’s School of Public Health and the Bio-systems Engineering Department. Originally a STEM-focused engineering program, CEDC now involves approximately 100 students per semester (freshman through graduate levels) from 30 different majors working on 15 separate projects in engineering, economic development, and education, all focused on a sustainable future for Cange. However, engineering, an underrepresented group in study abroad, remains at the program’s core: students from the College of Engineering and Science comprise nearly two-thirds of its enrollment.

While a number of U.S. institutions have begun developing study abroad programs for first-year students, this is still a relatively recent concept in the field of international education. DePaul University’s FY@broad program, now in its fifth year, has combined the university’s first-year seminars with short-term travel excursions to produce a successful model that integrates study abroad into the students’ academic experience, with demonstrated benefits in retention and graduation rates for participating students. The program comprise three phases—pre-travel preparation and course work, academically engaged travel, and post-travel reflection. This sequence of course delivery exposes first-year students to a variety of disciplinary approaches, improves their writing skills, engages students intellectually in settings that take advantage of the site, and develops students’ critical thinking skills. Participating students have shown growth in areas of academic achievement and retention as well as language acquisition. The retention rate for FY@broad students has been higher for three of the first four cohorts. And, significantly, the first FY@broad group that took part in the program in 2009-10 graduated this past summer had a graduation rate of 75.5%, compared to the 56.4% rate among the general population.


The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire created the International Fellows Program to broaden its offerings to new groups of students and faculty, and attract students who typically were not participating in international education. The program, now in its fourth year, provides funding to faculty and staff members who want to conduct research, explore scholarly questions, or pursue creative projects with students in international settings. Funding for the International Fellows Program comes from the Blugold Commitment, a differential tuition increase approved in 2010 by UW-Eau Claire students and the UW System Board of Regents, with a goal of providing high-impact learning experiences to all students. In a fiscal climate where universities continue to be asked to do more with less, students chose through the Blugold Commitment to invest in more of the high-impact (as well as time- and resource-intensive) educational experiences that prepare them to succeed when they graduate. The International Fellows Program is dedicated to supporting different kinds of scholarly and creative experiences abroad for student-faculty teams. The program draws students and faculty with global interests who, for various reasons, have not traditionally participated in education abroad. Since its pilot in 2010-11, 144 students have completed an international research or creative project through IFP in a wide range of academic disciplines including art & design, biology, communication and journalism. Seventy percent of those students had not previously studied abroad. Projects have been carried out in many countries including non-traditional destinations such as Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, Macedonia and Moldova. Faculty and students who participate in these initiatives often continue their research, creative and service projects after returning to campus, and they are encouraged to share their international perspectives and overseas experiences campus-wide though venues like the annual Campus Research Fair, as well as at the Wisconsin State Capitol.

The Africa Awareness Initiative (AAI) aims to improve discourse on Africa at the University of British Columbia by producing outstanding academic fora to encourage critical discussions pertaining to the relevance of the African continent, the Diaspora and its globalization. Since 2002, this initiative has furthered internationalization on campus by raising awareness about Africa through academic programs and extra-curricular activities. AAI hosts annual events to present world-class African scholars, writers, artists and activists, with the goal of promoting understanding of a continent whose complexities were not well-understood on campus in the past. The initiative facilitates and promotes Africa-related scholarly work to enhance academic studies and deepen the understanding of current affairs on the continent, with the ultimate goal of establishing an African Studies Major program at the University of British Columbia. 

The University of Hyderabad’s Study in India Program (SIP) for foreign students began as a small experimental summer initiative where students from the University of Pittsburgh took nine credits over nine weeks in the summer of 1998. Since then, SIP has grown in leaps and bounds and has gone from hosting eight students in its debut year to nearly 200 in the most recent academic year. The University Grants Commission (UGC), a governmental organization in India tasked with determining and maintaining standards for university education, has hailed the Study in India Program as a model initiative and has encouraged other universities in India to emulate the program’s approach. SIP’s strength is its flexibility and willing to innovate to meet the needs of universities and study abroad consortia. SIP has created specialized, tailor-made programs for partners such as Dartmouth College, Duke University and the Nordic Centre in India — a consortium of 15 Nordic universities. Students can apply on their own, through their home schools, or through study abroad consortia that are SIP partners.


The University of Michigan - Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute (JI) is a partnership that began in 2006 between the two institutions, encompassing student mobility, dual degrees, and faculty collaboration. The Joint Institute program focuses on STEM education and offers an English language platform in China for collaborative teaching and student learning. The two institutions run a common engineering curriculum that allows Chinese students from the JI to transfer to U-M and pursue a range of undergraduate and graduate programs. After earning a U-M degree, undergraduate students may return to the JI to earn a dual degree from Shanghai Jiao Tong University. In the other direction, nearly 300 students from the University of Michigan have studied abroad at the Joint Institute, making the partnership invaluable for both universities.

In 2008, Franklin University and Wyzsza Szkola Bankowa entered into an academic partnership, with the initial aim of designing, promoting, and offering a Master’s degree program in Business Administration to adult students residing in Poland. The relationship between the two schools matured beyond the concept of partnership to a more interdependent learning ecosystem model focused on the scholarship of teaching and learning and on student success at both institutions. The joint projects currently underway include faculty and staff exchanges; quality review of existing academic offerings; planning and collaborative development of new curricular tracks and courses; and the planned transfer of know-how. These dynamic exchanges have led to new relationships, advances in intercultural competence and knowledge about their respective academic experiences, as well as advances in teaching practices. 

Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Mexico, a Public State University in central Mexico, and the University of North Texas, in the DFW Metroplex, began a relationship in 2002 with the signing of an MOU for student and faculty exchange in Material Sciences. During the past 11 years, the partnership evolved into a strategic international collaboration when UAEM set up an Academic Liaison Office at UNT in 2005 and UNT subsequently established an Academic Liaison Office at UAEM in 2010. Each year, the partners conduct student and faculty exchanges, joint research projects, English summer programs, international academic workshops, and cultural exchange programs. To support substantive research collaboration, both universities have provided funding for 10 joint research projects per year for the past four years, with $5,000 per project from each university.


The Lone Star College System, which serves 90,000 students in the greater Houston area through six full community college campuses and 10 satellite centers, is internationalizing its campuses by engaging the faculty in international exploration. The Faculty International Exploration (FIE) Award offers full-time faculty members the opportunity to conduct research and collect materials abroad with the goal of internationalizing their curriculum and developing study abroad programs. Successful FIE applicants receive up to $4,000 for their proposed explorations. The college has invested approximately $300,000 in the program to date, enabling 61 recipients from 30 disciplines to travel to 45 countries. The FIE award promotes curriculum internationalization, study abroad program development, and increased student involvement. Resulting programs have broadened students’ career horizons, enriched the annual LSCS International Education Conference, and fostered engagement with the community. Approximately 350 students from a variety of backgrounds, some with need-based scholarships, have taken part in FIE programs in countries such as China, Costa Rica, Italy, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and the United Kingdom. FIE recipients share their work with colleagues on campus and at discipline conferences as well as at campus events such as the annual LSCS International Education Conference.

Valencia College's plan for internationalizing the campus focuses on increasing student participation in study abroad by training faculty leaders and increasing funding for students. The college developed a Study Abroad Program Leader Certificate to assist faculty in the program development process and to ensure safety for all programs. A competitive proposal process was launched for faculty to lead short-term study abroad that gives priority to programs that have demonstrated high enrollment.  In addition, the college created a Program Leader-in-Training mentorship initiative, which partners veteran faculty leaders with new faculty leaders who participate on a program as a mentee before leading students abroad. Finally, Valencia increased student scholarship funding by changing its funding model and using Student Development and Foundation funds to support study abroad. Serving a diverse population at five community college locations in Central Florida, Valencia has also engaged faculty in the college’s efforts to internationalize the curriculum at home for students who cannot travel overseas. The interest prompted an Internationalizing the Curriculum event this past summer where faculty teams worked to integrate international/intercultural components into their courses. Faculty are also engaged in the work of creating internationalized course toolkits to make their curriculum work available college-wide.  

The members of the Selection Panel for the 2014 IIE Heiskell Awards include international education leaders from a diverse range of organizations: Amparo Codding, Academic Dean, School of Arts, Humanities and Wellness, Bergen Community College; Arlene Jackson, Director of International Education, American Association of State Colleges & Universities (AASCU); Daniel Obst, Deputy Vice President for International Partnerships, Institute of International Education (IIE);  Anne Waters, Senior Associate Dean, School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University; and Brian Whalen, President and CEO, The Forum on Education Abroad.
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