Named for the late Senator Paul Simon of Illinois, NAFSA’s Simon Award recognizes colleges and universities that are making significant, well-planned, well-executed and well-documented progress toward comprehensive internationalization -- especially those using innovative and creative approaches across several areas, such as student and faculty access to a global education experience. The award is granted to a limited number of institutions each year -- usually no more than five. William & Mary is one of only four in 2016.
“William & Mary is building on a global tradition of more than three centuries, beginning with our founding in 1693 as an American overseas campus representing the British Crown,” said President Taylor Reveley. “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.”
The award comes in a year of multiple milestones in global education for the university. For the third year in a row, William & Mary is the number one public university for undergraduate study abroad participation in the U.S. Approximately 50 percent of undergraduates now experience overseas study before graduation.
More than 750 undergraduate students study abroad each year in over 50 countries, participating in one of the 45 programs William & Mary sponsors as well as a wide range of programs by other providers.
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 over 65 countries have come to William & Mary. In addition, William & Mary just launched a new undergraduate curriculum in which all undergraduates must take COLL 300 coursework that engage with global/cross-cultural perspectives.
“At William & Mary, internationalization is a priority, highlighted in our strategic plan,” said Provost Michael Halleran, who noted the Reves Center’s director, Stephen E. Hanson, also serves as vice provost for international affairs. “We benefit from an efficient institutional set-up that ensures that international initiatives underway at any of W&M’s five academic schools -- the Faculty of Arts & Sciences, the Raymond A. Mason School of Business, the School of Education, the School of Law and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) -- can be coordinated and supported at the highest levels of the university administration.”
Hanson added, “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. All of us at Reves are truly humbled, and deeply honored, by this recognition from our peers in the international education community.”
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 in the fall, and honored at an event in Washington, D.C. during International Education Week in November.
NAFSA Executive Director and CEO Marlene M. Johnson said, "The 2016 Simon Award institutions prepare our students for success in the thoroughly interconnected environment in which global learning is becoming a prerequisite to success, both in the classroom and beyond."
The other three institutions receiving the 2016 Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization are: New York Institute of Technology, New York, N.Y.; University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, Mass.; and University of Tampa, Tampa, Fla.
NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the world's largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education and exchange. NAFSA's 10,000 members from more than 3,500 institutions, in over 150 countries are administrators, advisors, instructors, students, advocates, volunteers, and all those committed to the growth of international education.