IIE Announces Winners of the 2017 Andrew Heiskell Awards for Innovation in International Education

NEW YORK, January 23, 2017—The Institute of International Education (IIE) has announced the winners of the annual IIE Andrew Heiskell Awards for Innovation in International Education. 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 promote international teaching and learning on campus.

IIE will present the awards at a ceremony in Miami, Florida on March 14, 2017 as part of its annual Best Practices in Internationalization Conference for campus professionals. The conference will be held this year at Florida International University, which was a winner of the 2016 IIE Heiskell Award.

The awards honor the most outstanding initiatives in international higher education among the member campuses of the IIE Network, IIE’s membership association of more than 1,300 higher education institutions. This year’s awards highlight a total of eight initiatives: five campuses will receive the Heiskell Award and three more will be recognized with honorable mention. The winning campuses and their partners are notable for their geographic diversity, with campuses in six U.S. states across the country as well as winners and partners in Morocco, Australia and the UK.

For the first year, IIE will present a special award in the category of Internationalizing the Minority-Serving Institution, with the inaugural award going to co-winners Santa Monica College for its Global Citizenship initiative and Virginia Union University for its comprehensive program for Institutionalizing Internationalization.

For Study Abroad, the winner is Northern Arizona University for Interdisciplinary Global Programs that provide long-term international immersion experiences for students in engineering, business and international affairs as part of a five-year double major track that adds a language or cultural studies major and a year abroad of study and internship to students’ undergraduate career.  Honorable mention goes to Indiana University for its Global Gateway for Teachers program that provides teacher education majors with international teaching experiences in schools and communities worldwide. These programs align with the IIE Generation Study Abroad goal of increasing and diversifying the population of students who study abroad.

In the category of Internationalizing the Campus, the winning campus is Macquarie University in Australia for its Global Leadership Program that allows both domestic and international students to engage in a flexible program of cross-cultural and global citizenship activities both on campus and in other countries so they can engage with global issues whether or not they are able to study abroad. The selection committee awarded honorable mention to Georgia Gwinnett College for its Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) that enhances student learning and the student learning environment by creating internationalized courses throughout the core curriculum, majors, and electives, as well as an elective Global Studies Certification including foreign languages, study abroad and a Global Studies Capstone course. 

The winner for International Partnerships is Mississippi State University for its Mississippi – Morocco Partnership that has grown from a dual-degree program with International University Rabat to a large scale-multi-sector partnership that now involves economic development and training activities in key sectors that benefit both universities and regions. The University of Warwick, in the UK, and Monash University, in Australia have received Honorable Mention for developing The International Conference of Undergraduate Research (ICUR) through the Monash-Warwick Alliance, a strategic agreement between the two institutions. The partnership has grown to include, amongst others, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, Baruch College in the United States, and Kyushu University in Japan, and the conference now brings undergraduate researchers from seven countries together for online research panels and presentations.

During the sixteen years that it has presented the Heiskell Awards, IIE has recognized 130 programs that advance international education on IIE Network member campuses, and has made their profiles available as a Best Practices Resource online. Leaders from this year’s award-winning campuses will make presentations at IIE’s Best Practices Conference so that international education practitioners can learn from their experience and adapt their innovative internationalization strategies and models for their own campuses.

“The campuses that IIE is recognizing this year have developed new approaches to extending more study abroad opportunities to a broader segment of their student populations and integrating international programs into the campus experience,” said IIE President and CEO Dr. Allan E. Goodman. “We recommend these programs as models, and hope they will offer inspiration as well as guidance to professionals on other campuses who share the goal of preparing their students to live and work in today’s global environment.” 

The members of the Selection Panel for the 2017 IIE Heiskell Awards include international education leaders from a diverse range of organizations: Peggy Blumenthal, Senior Counselor to the President at the Institute of International Education; Gretchen Cook-Anderson, Diversity Consultant, on behalf of IES Abroad; Arlene Jackson, Associate Vice President for Global Initiatives, American Association of State Colleges & Universities (AASCU); Anne Waters, Senior Advisor, Special Projects at Columbia University; and Brian Whalen, President and CEO, The Forum on Education Abroad.

The IIE Heiskell Awards were named for the late 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 education.

Brief descriptions of the 2017 winning initiatives follow. Visit IIE’s Best Practices Resource for in-depth profiles of the 2017 Heiskell Award winners and all of the 130 initiatives that have been recognized since the first awards in 2002.  

About the Institute of International Education (IIE)

The Institute of International Education (IIE) is the leader in providing international education strategies and program services. Our international approach to education—diverse, borderless, impactful—is a proven way for governments and companies to invest in global talent and solidify overseas relationships. We work with policymakers, educators and employers across the globe to prepare students and professionals for the global workforce and equip them to solve the increasingly complex challenges facing our interconnected world. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE designs and implements over 250 programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government and private sources. IIE has a network of 19 offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,300 member institutions.


2017 IIE Andrew Heiskell Awards for Innovation in International Education Winners and Honorable Mention Recipients by Award Category See in-depth profiles of these and 16 years of winning programs on IIE’s Best Practices Resource.

Study Abroad

Winner: Northern Arizona University, Interdisciplinary Global Programs – Arizona

The Interdisciplinary Global Programs are Northern Arizona University’s (NAU) answer to preparing undergraduates with the skills to seamlessly work across disciplines and borders as they prepare for a complex global future.  These five-year, double-major programs integrate language study into students’ chosen majors and include an immersion year abroad in which students complete both coursework and an internship at no additional cost to regular tuition.  After three years on the home campus, students spend their fourth year abroad to complete a study semester and an internship semester. They then return to the home campus for a fifth year to complete their degrees and present their internship project in their language of study during the Interdisciplinary Global Programs Summit. In order to make sure program costs do not exceed regular tuition, the study abroad and internship abroad semesters are conducted on an exchange basis through select bilateral exchange partnerships with institutions abroad. Started in 2011 to increase the number of science and engineering students who study abroad, the immersion program now includes business and international affairs majors, offering six different language options, including in critical languages like Arabic, Chinese and Japanese.

Honorable Mention: Indiana University, Global Gateway for Teachers – Indiana

For future educators, gaining international and intercultural experience is critical given changing U.S. school demographics and expanding globalization, but strict program requirements often limit teacher education majors’ opportunities to participate in traditional study abroad programs. In order to broaden the worldviews of K-12 teachers, Indiana University’s Global Gateway for Teachers affords student teachers the opportunity to learn from people of different races, cultures, and nations. The Global Gateway’s network of collaborators in the host countries secures the overseas school placements for student teachers at Indiana University as well as at 17 other U.S. colleges and universities, making the program a national leader in student teaching abroad. A credit-bearing program complements the student teaching placement with community involvement, service learning, and academic reporting, extending participants’ learning well beyond the school day. Indiana has expanded the U.S. partner institutions to 17, and now places 200 student teachers per year in host schools in 18 nations, with future expansion anticipated.

Internationalizing Minority-Serving Institutions

Co-Winner: Santa Monica College, Global Citizenship – California

Santa Monica College is a highly diverse minority-serving institution that also serves the second largest international student population among community colleges nationwide. Its Global Citizenship Initiative has internationalized the college’s mission, culture, and values and yielded a community that works together to create global citizens. Through a college-wide effort that grew out of a faculty task force convened in 2008, the college’s Global Citizenship Initiative funds $75,000 in Global Citizenship student scholarships, faculty mini-grants for international conferences and affordable short-term study abroad options for low-income students. Professional development programs abroad have enabled faculty to travel to destinations such as Salzburg, China and Turkey in order to develop course modules and lesson plans that integrate the history, politics, culture, economy and social issues of the countries they visit.

Co-Winner: Virginia Union University, Institutionalizing Internationalization at VUU – Virginia

Virginia Union University has served and nurtured thousands of first-generation black college students for the last 150 years. In 2010, the university established the Center for International Studies to provide leadership and resources for the institution’s global initiatives, including the university’s move to add a global component to all core curriculum courses. Every summer, at least 10 faculty members drawn from the university’s four schools participate in professional workshops on how to internationalize existing courses or to develop new internationalized courses across disciplines. Between 2010 and 2016, 55 faculty members have internationalized their courses, and as of the 2015/2016 academic year all general core curriculum courses and many others (66 courses in total) have been internationalized. The Center also founded and partially supports the International Students Association, which assists new international students to acclimatize quickly to the university and Richmond environment and organizes various academic and social events on campus.

Internationalizing the Campus

Winner: Macquarie University, Global Leadership Program – Australia

The first of its kind when it launched in the Australian University Sector in 2005, Macquarie University’s Global Leadership Program is now the country’s flagship tertiary global leadership program with more than 3,600 active participants in more than 200 academic disciplines. The program is a voluntary, extra-curricular learning and engagement program that students design according to their own interests and complete at their own pace. Students are required to complete an experiential credit component, which ranges from short-term study abroad to learning a new language to attending international seminars such as a Domestic Symposium in Canberra or an International Symposium in Brazil. The program is the only co-curricular activity formally recognized on the official Macquarie University Academic Transcript, and provides flexibility for students to complete the requirements on campus at no additional cost. Committed to building a pipeline of global citizens, Macquarie University also selects local high school students to begin the Global Leadership Entry Program during their senior year. It boasts a track record of results in developing cross-cultural competency, leadership capability, understanding of global issues, community responsibility and global citizenship.

Honorable Mention: Georgia Gwinnett College, Internationalization of the Curriculum: Engaging the World to Develop Global Citizens – Georgia

Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) is an access institution with more than 90 percent of students qualifying for federal financial aid, and as such, it strives to create global opportunities on campus and affordable, shorter-term study abroad programs to less traditional destinations in South and Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe. Named the most ethnically diverse Southern regional college by U.S. News and World Report, the 12-year-old institution has undertaken an aggressive, five-year, Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) to enhance student learning and the student learning environment to cultivate global citizenship by internationalizing the core curriculum, majors and electives. The QEP also introduced an elective Global Studies Certification including foreign languages, study abroad and a Global Studies Capstone course. The QEP strengthens and supports the college’s other efforts to provide affordable, interdisciplinary, faculty-led, study abroad programs and intercultural campus activities.

International Partnerships

Winner: Mississippi State University, Mississippi – Morocco Partnership – Mississippi

Mississippi State University leadership seized upon a new program ignited by an engineering faculty member’s passion for the globalization of engineering in Morocco to expand ties with the newly created International University of Rabat’s Schools of Automotive and Aerospace Engineering in a wide-ranging bi-national partnership. Initially, the two campuses developed a dual degree program consisting of three years of study in mechanical and automotive engineering at International University Rabat, followed by a senior year at MSU, with B.S. degrees awarded at both schools and automatic entry into the Master’s programs at MSU. With an initial focus on start-up ventures in manufacturing technologies mutually beneficial to Mississippi and Morocco, two years later, the partnership now encompasses projects to improve K-12 education systems, to develop teacher education programs and to redesign workforce training in automotive, aerospace, smart agriculture, forest and environmental management sectors and has evolved into a bilateral transportation development partnership involving the Mississippi Development Authority and the Governor’s Office. MSU’s innovative Morocco Partnership has garnered attention at the highest levels of government. In 2015, the Moroccan Ambassador to the United States visited MSU to speak with students and faculty, and the Government of Morocco invited MSU’s president, former Undersecretary of Agriculture Mark Keenum, to serve as Honorary Consul to the Kingdom of Morocco.

Honorable Mention: University of Warwick and Monash University, International Conference of Undergraduate Research – UK and Australia

Spanning seven countries in five continents, and bringing together nearly 500 undergraduate researchers each year from universities across the globe, the International Conference of Undergraduate Research (ICUR) is a boundary-crossing partnership that challenges students to rethink their work in an international context. ICUR brings students together from universities across the world using the latest in video conferencing technology, to participate in a single international forum with close to a hundred separate sessions conducted over 48 hours.  It allows participants to present their work from their home universities to an international and interdisciplinary audience, and provides a supportive yet critical environment for talented young scholars. In the four years that ICUR has run, it has connected nearly 1,500 students across eleven institutions around the world.  Launched in 2013 as a pilot project of the Monash-Warwick Alliance, a strategic agreement between Monash University in Australia and the University of Warwick in the UK, the partnership has grown to include, amongst others, Nanyang Technological University, Baruch College, and Kyushu University, with more expected to join in 2017.


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