Faculty International Exploration Award
2014 Heiskell Award Winner: Internationalizing the Community College
Nomination submitted by: Nithy Sevanthinathan, Chief International Officer
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. Faculty members who received FIE awards advocated for the implementation of a formal process for designating courses with an international perspective. As a result, about 20 course sections taught by FIE faculty have received international designation which can be applied toward an International Studies concentration within the Associate of Arts degree. It has also impacted the growth and diversification of Lone Star College System’s study abroad programs, producing 16 different programs.
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.