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WORLD FOCUS: Internationalization of a university

December 1, 2016
By FRANK SHATZ , Lake Placid News

According to Stephen Hanson, Vice Provost for International Affairs and Director of the Reves Center for International Studies at the College of William & Mary, this year marks a major milestone for William & Mary for attaining the 2016 Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization from NAFSA, Association of International Educators.

The Simon Award celebrates the legacy of the late Sen. Paul Simon of Illinois, a NAFSA report states. Simon was a life-long advocate for international education and exchange, and the award recognizes institutions and programs that promote international understanding and a more just and peaceful world at the student level.

This prestigious award is given annually to a small number of institutions that are seen as having truly integrated international perspectives and connections into every aspect of campus life.

William & Mary President Taylor Reveley noted that the award comes in a year of multiple milestones in global education at the college. For the third year in a row, W&M is the number one public university for undergraduate study participation in the U. S. As of 2016 more than 50 percent of W&M undergraduates study abroad before graduation, W&M aims to increase that number to 60 percent by 2018.

He also stated, "Drawing on its historical commitment to innovative teaching and learning, today William & Mary has emerged as a leader in international education with opportunities such as undergraduate research on crucial global problems and strong ethos of public service. For example, W&M is currently one of the top producers of Peace Corps volunteers among institutions of its size."

According to Provost Michael Halleran, "At William & Mary, internationalization is a priority, highlighted in our strategic plan."

He gave credit to vice provost Stephen Hanson for creating an efficient institutional set-up that ensures that international initiatives underway at any of William & Mary's five academic schools - the Faculty of Arts & Sciences, The Mason School Business, the School of Education, the School of Law and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science - can be coordinated and supported at the highest levels of the university administration.

In his report to William & Mary community, Hanson pointed out that faculty and students who participate in the multiple facets of the internationalization of the university, as well as international students and alumni are making unique contributions around the world,

"The remarkable dedication of everyone involved in William & Mary's interdisciplinary programs focused on international affairs, such as our highly ranked International Relations major, has made us the envy of our colleagues at other research universities. Our faculty and students -including W&M undergraduates - are publishing a steady stream of outstanding new books, edited volumes, and articles on critical international issues; many of our professors continue to be recognized by their peers around the world as leaders in their field," Hanson said.

He added, "Something very special is happening with global engagement here in Williamsburg. W&M's excellence in internationalization will surely inspire new pedagogical insights, research breakthroughs, and path-breaking contributions to the global good for many decades to come."

Frank Shatz's column was reprinted with permission from the Virginia Gazette. Shatz is a Lake Placid seasonal resident. He is the author of "Reports from a Distant Place," a compilation of his selected columns.



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