William & Mary Receives Award for Promoting International Education

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Paul Simon AwardThe College of William & Mary was recently honored with an award that recognizes its excellence in promoting international perspectives both on its campus and through its study-abroad programs.

The Reves Center for International Studies announced last week the college had received a 2016 Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization from NAFSA: Association of International Educators.

The award, which is named for Senator Paul Simon of Illinois, is granted to no more than five universities each year that are adopting innovative and creative approaches toward making their coursework and program offerings more globally oriented and internationally connected.

William & Mary was one of only four universities selected for this year’s award thanks to its continued emphasis on teaching international subjects and its facilitation of international experiences for its students through its 45 sponsored study abroad programs.

“Few universities combine centuries of commitment to excellence in teaching international subjects, extensive study abroad programs, opportunities for hands-on student research on crucial global problems, close ties to policymakers and a strong base of local, national and international alumni,” William & Mary President Taylor Reveley said.

One of the school’s most recent accomplishments in the field of internationalization is being named the No. 1 public university for undergraduate study abroad participation in the entire country for the third year in a row, according to a recent news release.

About 50 percent of William & Mary undergraduates now experience overseas study before graduation, amounting to more than 750 undergraduate students studying abroad each year in more than 50 countries.

William & Mary has also tripled the number of its international students and scholars in the past 10 years, and increased the diversity of countries from which they come. This year more than 800 international students and scholars from more than 65 countries have come to William & Mary.

Finally, William & Mary just launched a new undergraduate curriculum in which all undergraduate students must take a 300-level course that engages with global or cross-cultural perspectives in some way.

“Receiving the Simon Award this year is a testament to the hard work and commitment to internationalization of so many faculty, students, and staff across William & Mary,” said Stephen E. Hanson, director of the Reves Center and vice provost for international affairs. “All of us at Reves are truly humbled, and deeply honored, by this recognition from our peers in the international education community.”

The other three institutions receiving the 2016 Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization are New York Institute of Technology, University of Massachusetts Boston and University of Tampa.

All four institutions selected for this year’s Simon Awards will be featured in NAFSA’s report Internationalizing the Campus: Profiles of Success at Colleges and Universities, which will be published this fall. They will also be honored at an event in Washington, D.C. during International Education Week in November.