St. Lawrence University has been named by NAFSA: Association of International Educators as one of eight higher education institutions receiving the 2018 Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization.
St. Lawrence will receive The Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization, which distinguishes excellence in integrating international education throughout all facets of university. St. Lawrence joins this year’s award recipients Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts; Stony Brook University on Long Island, New York; Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas; and, the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida.
“The drive to explore and understand the world beyond our rural, upstate New York campus has been part of St. Lawrence University’s institutional DNA for over 90 years,” said President William L. Fox. “Beginning with our International Relations Club in the 1920s, St. Lawrence has continuously focused on building international components into curricular and co-curricular programming, from the nation’s first Model UN being held at St. Lawrence in 1949 to study abroad programs in France, Austria, and Spain in the 1960s to our now nationally recognized Kenya Semester Program, which celebrated 40 years in 2014.”
Today, St. Lawrence enrolls 214 degree-seeking international undergraduate students from 55 different countries with China, Canada, South Korea, Kenya and Egypt rounding out the top five countries represented. Since 2014, St. Lawrence also has been actively recruiting students from United World Colleges schools and currently enrolls 60 students – one of the highest number of UWC students in New York State.
Recently, the Institute of International Education named St. Lawrence University No. 15 in the “Leading Institutions by Institutional Type-Baccalaureate” category, estimating that 74.3 percent of students study abroad at some point during their undergraduate experience. The top study abroad destinations for St. Lawrence students in 2016-17 were London, New Zealand, Kenya and a tie between Austria, Denmark and New York City.
In 2015, St. Lawrence received a $240,000 Mellon Grant to establish the Global Gateways program in order to advance a summer immersion program for first-year international students, develop faculty and staff training workshops and create an ambassador program with first-year domestic students. The program aims to help the growing number of international students better transition to academic and campus life.
“SLU has a long history of incorporating global engagement into the broader curriculum, offering intercultural and area studies programs in African studies; African-American studies; Asian studies; European studies; Caribbean, Latin American, and Latino studies; Canadian studies; global studies; and Native American studies,” said Karl Schonberg, vice president and dean of Academic Affairs. “Departments across our campus in the arts, humanities, sciences, and social sciences all offer courses each semester that incorporate global perspectives and count towards our interdisciplinary area studies programs. Moreover, the SLU curriculum includes a very robust and challenging Diversity Requirement along with an Integrative Learning Component (ILC) through which students can engage with global issues.”
Named after the late Senator Paul Simon of Illinois, the NAFSA Simon Awards recognize outstanding innovation and accomplishment in campus internationalization. The awards are separated into two categories to reflect the broad array of approaches used to effectively internationalize campuses. The Senator Paul Simon Spotlight Award, which recognizes a specific international program or initiative that contributes to internationalization on campus, went to Baldwin Wallace University, Harper College and the University of Georgia.
“As future leaders of our nation, it is vital that our students have the tools and experiences necessary to thrive in an increasingly interconnected global community,” emphasized Esther D. Brimmer, NAFSA Executive Director and CEO. “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. 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.”
Marina Llorente, Hanson Professor and Associate Dean International and Intercultural Studies, said that international education at St. Lawrence University has always received crucial institutional support as well as solid commitment on the part of donors and alumni. In addition: “Strong faculty leadership and dynamic curricular innovation have been essential to the internationalization of our campus, with national grants supporting the creation of our Department of Global Studies and the consolidation of our area studies programs,” Llorente said. “As a result, off-campus study has been heavily supported by faculty and also boosted, in recent years, by the increased recruitment of international students. As cultural ambassadors, their role is an important factor in promoting international education on campus.”
A strong advocate for international education and cross-cultural learning, the late Senator Paul Simon is also the namesake of the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Program Act. The Simon bill aims to incentivize U.S. institutions to make study abroad an integral part of higher education by creating a modest program of challenge grants. The bipartisan legislation was introduced in the Senate and in the House last year.
Institutions selected for the Simon Awards 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 in November.