The Daily Item
— SELINSGROVE— Susquehanna University, a small liberal arts college in central Pennsylvania, has managed to internationalize its campus in just a few short years and claim a prestigious award for its accomplishments. The university has won the 2013 Andrew Heiskell Award for Internationalizing the Campus, presented by the Institute of International Education (IIE) in recognition of Susquehanna’s Global Opportunities (GO) program and other related initiatives.
The Andrew Heiskell Awards for Innovation in International Education honor the most outstanding initiatives in international higher education, in five categories, among more than 1,100 IIE-member campuses. Susquehanna’s innovative programs help students achieve a high level of cultural competency that is critical for success in today’s diverse and interconnected world.
University representatives will accept the award March 22 at a ceremony in New York City during IIE’s annual Best Practices in Internationalization conference for campus professionals. Award winners will also have the opportunity to present program information at the conference so that other interested colleges can learn from their experience and adapt innovative internationalization strategies and models to their own campuses.
The GO program requires all Susquehanna students to spend at least two weeks off campus immersed in a culture different from their own. Their time away is followed by a credit-bearing, critical reflection course on the experience when they return to campus. Currently students can choose from among more than 100 GO options, including Travel Writing in South Africa, Sherpa Life and Culture in Nepal, Focus Australia, and a Central America Service Adventure at mission sites in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, to name a few.
“This year’s winners have developed new approaches to extending more international opportunities to a broader segment of their student populations,” said IIE President and CEO Allan E. Goodman. “We appreciate the winners’ commitment to expanding access to study abroad and building partnerships.”
Susquehanna is among only a handful of schools to mandate a study-away experience for all students, and its post-travel reflection course requirement is unique. Students use class discussions, performances, presentations and creative writing to define how the experience changed them, with attention to cross-cultural learning goals such as understanding and recognizing ethnocentrism.
GO’s launch in 2009 means Susquehanna’s graduating class of 2013 will be the first in which every student will have studied away. Before GO, just 30 percent of Susquehanna students had off-campus study experiences.
“The Global Opportunities program is undoubtedly the most ambitious academic initiative in the history of Susquehanna University,” said L. Jay. Lemons, university president. “GO is earning a national reputation for Susquehanna in the areas of international education and curriculum development. This program offers the potential to be a truly transformative learning experience for our students.”
“It is truly amazing how far the internationalization of Susquehanna has come in such a short time,” said Scott Manning, director of cross-cultural programs. “That is largely because of the widespread support and commitment across campus from the beginning. This award confirms our belief that every college graduate should be able to enter the workforce with cross-cultural skills, based on experience. At Susquehanna, we believe this is absolutely critical to the success of our graduates.”
Susquehanna has also increased enrollment of international students by 35 percent in the past year, and added essential services such as a scholar-mentor program that trains juniors and seniors to help international students adjust to their new home.
The IIE Andrew Heiskell Awards were named for Andrew Heiskell, a former chairman of Time Inc. and longtime member of the Executive Committee of IIE's board of trustees. Heiskell was a renowned international and cultural philanthropist and a dedicated supporter of international education.
For more information about the award-winning programs, visit www.iie.org/internationalization.