Senior International Officer of the Year designation reflects her commitment to expanding VCU’s footprint in global engagement for students
WASHINGTON, D.C., January 29, 2024 — The Institute of International Education has awarded the 2023 Senior International Officer of the Year Award to Jill Blondin, Ph.D., Associate Vice Provost for Global Initiatives in Virginia Commonwealth University’s Global Education Office.
The award was created in honor of IIE’s centennial in 2019 and is presented annually to an SIO who demonstrates extraordinary leadership in internationalization. Selected by a distinguished panel of peers, honorees are cited for embracing international education and fostering multifaceted, strategic programming that has had significant impact across the institution, building effective administrative structures and mentoring new professionals, among other qualities. “International education leaders are more critical today than ever and serve many different roles for their campuses. Jill’s commitment to VCU, her track record of innovation and contributions to the field represent the gold standard for international education leaders,” said Allan Goodman, the institute’s CEO.
“Being named the Institute of International Education’s 2023 Senior International Officer of the Year is an incredible achievement for Jill Blondin,” said Fotis Sotiropoulos, Ph.D., VCU provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “And yet the award is no surprise. It is just the latest reminder of the incredible work and leadership that Jill brings to VCU’s Global Education Office. We aspire to serve more international students and to see more students from our Richmond-based campuses have international experience during their programs of study. Jill’s vision and experience are among the top reasons why our university will succeed in those efforts.”
Blondin was nominated for the award by Stephanie Tignor, director of global learning at VCU, and Paulo Zagalo-Melo, Ph.D., associate provost for global education at Western Michigan University. The 17-page nomination included more than 50 endorsements from colleagues at VCU as well as international education departments and organizations across the globe.
Blondin says the award represents VCU advancing its global initiatives and broadening its footprint in international education. “Although it honors leadership by a senior international officer, it is really a testament to the work that we are doing at VCU and also to my team, because I have the most amazing team. Everybody has contributed to this award.” she said. With them in mind, Blondin specifically cited the mentoring element of the institute’s SIO honor.“I challenge the leaders within my office to think about being an SIO someday. I think it is important to prepare the next generation of senior international officers,” she said.
Blondin came to VCU in 2013 to lead VCU Globe, a living-learning program focused on world engagement. The program operated for eight years under her leadership before ending in 2021, and she called it the building block of understanding how international education can beneficially change students’ outlook and educational trajectories. Blondin will receive her award on Feb. 21 in Washington during the annual conference of the Association of International Education Administrators. It marks her second notable honor recently: She also was named one of PIE Insider’s 50 Voices of North America for 2023.
About the Institute of International Education (IIE)
The Institute of International Education (IIE) is the leader in designing and implementing international education strategies and program services. We work with governments, 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. With support from donors, we also create initiatives that assist students, scholars, and artists whose lives and work are threatened; expand teaching and learning across cultures; and provide opportunities to underserved populations. A not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of 16 offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,600 higher education partners.