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USD Earns Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization

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From Inside USD – The University of San Diego’s dedication to internationalization — as a successful initiative for students’ experiential learning, as a formidable enhancement for liberal arts education and an opportunity for students around the world to come and study in San Diego and flourish — has earned mainstream recognition.

The National Association for Foreign Student Affairs (NAFSA): Association of International Educators announced on Feb. 24 that USD is one of five recipients of the Sen. Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization.

“It’s a thrill to have USD selected for our achievements, across the university, toward comprehensive internationalization,” said Denise Dimon, USD’s associate provost for international affairs. “The Simon Award is considered the gold standard of internationalization and the universities selected by NAFSA, this year and in previous years, have initiated very creative, meaningful and sustained activities toward this goal. It is very exciting and an honor to have USD included with these other institutions.”

Mount Holyoke College, North Central College, University of Delaware and the University of Virginia join USD as award winners in this specific category.

“USD is very proud of the enormous progress we have made to create and expand innovative programs that provide members of our campus community with enriching global experiences in nearly 50 countries across the globe,” USD President Mary E. Lyons, PhD, said. “We are committed to the goal of graduating men and women who are truly global citizens with the competencies to navigate our world well.”

Comprehensive internationalization consists of such areas as student mobility, faculty expertise, curriculum development, co-curricular activities, international partnerships and collaborations, leadership at the highest levels and governance structures to support all of these efforts.

“Achievement in these varied activities clearly involves the entire campus community and moves us toward our ultimate goal of providing education to develop effective, thoughtful and caring globally citizens,” Dimon said.

Named for the late Illinois Senator Paul Simon, NAFSA’s Simon Awards recognize outstanding and innovative achievements in campus internationalization. From the innovative use of technology to expanded English language and support systems, the 2015 Simon Award winners reflect a broad diversity of approaches to campus internationalization, both in terms of models and implementation.

“We are proud to present NAFSA’s 2015 Simon Awards to these colleges and universities that have excelled in expanding global learning for students and scholars,” said NAFSA Executive Director and CEO Marlene M. Johnson. “This year’s Simon Award winners are outstanding models for how higher education across the country can and must innovate to prepare our graduates for success in today’s increasingly complex and interdependent world.”

This is the second time USD has received a Simon Award. In 2011, USD earned the Paul Simon Spotlight Award, given for a specific international program or initiative contributing to comprehensive internationalization. That honor recognized the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice’s Women PeaceMakers Program, an annual fall endeavor that brings four courageous and impressive international women leaders to campus for eight weeks to share their stories with peace writers and the public, meet women from other countries doing incredible work, and to be recognized for their tremendous efforts.

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.

— Ryan T. Blystone