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NAFSA Recognizes Juniata with 2012 Simon Award for Internationalization

(Posted March 12, 2012)

Language in Motion, an international cultural education program overseen by Deb Roney, director of Language in Motion, is just one of the many international initiatives honored by NAFSA for its 2012 Sen. Paul Simon Award.

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College is one of five institutions across the country to receive the 2012 Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization from NAFSA: National Association of International Educators.

"We are deeply honored that NAFSA has recognized the innovative efforts of the Juniata community with the Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization," says Jenifer Cushman, dean of international programs at Juniata. "Our highly successful international initiatives are the result of 30 years of faculty dedication and strategic administrative support, as well as an institutional commitment to providing our students with transformative experiences."

Juniata will be profiled extensively in the upcoming NAFSA publication, "Internationalizing the Campus 2012: Profiles of Success at Colleges and Universities." Members of Juniata's international office will travel to Washington, D.C. to accept the award at a Capitol Hill event during International Education Week in November.

Juniata was joined by four other institutions recognized by the association: College of St. Benedict (St. Joseph, Minn.)/St. John's University (Collegeville, Minn.); Northern Arizona University, in Flagstaff, Ariz,; San Francisco State University; and the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Juniata's programs and initiatives over the past decade were recognized by the association. Some of the college's internationalization efforts include:

"Our highly successful international initiatives are the result of 30 years of faculty dedication and strategic administrative support, as well as an institutional commitment to providing our students with transformative experiences."
Jenifer Cushman, dean of international programs

--Establishing in 2009 a Global Engagement Initiative that led to the formation of an intercultural learning assessment committee and the Global Village Living and Learning Community.

--The dedication of Juniata's faculty and staff to provide students with transformative international experiences. Some of these experiences can include teaching and advising international students and traveling to international campuses to form partnerships for study-abroad or summer programs. "The greatest innovation in global engagement at Juniata is, perhaps, this collaborative spirit cultivated through robust faculty involvement," Cushman says "It is crucial at small colleges especially to coordinate and share energies in order to maximize available resources."

--Juniata's formation of an international campus community for all students. Keys to this initiative are requirements that all students must take at least two internationally focused courses, establishment of the campus Unity House; an international "Host Family" program, international student clubs, and internationally themed lectures and events.

--Establishing international student exchanges with partner universities around the world. Thanks to faculty and international office initiatives, Juniata has established programs in India, China, Mexico, the Gambia and Morocco. The college also formed a consortium with five other Northeast colleges and universities to help develop new study-abroad opportunities in nontraditional sites. Recently Juniata also has started discussions with international universities to provide combined master's degree programs.

--Juniata's curriculum requires that all students take at least one Cultural Analysis course, and faculty in communication and world languages and culture have started virtual exchanges in Spain, Mexico and Russia. In addition Juniata faculty have engaged in research sabbaticals and teaching exchanges with university partners abroad and offered service learning trips to such locales as Mexico, Northern Ireland, Guatemala, Ecuador and Puerto Rico.

--The Language in Motion program, a 2004 Simon Spotlight Award winner, is a national consortium with 12 partner institutions. In addition, in 2011, Juniata reached its goal of having 10 percent of the college's 1,600 students be international. The college's class of 2011 had 48 percent of its graduates participate in an international experience, mostly through Juniata's 33 programs in 16 countries.

In addition three other institutions were awarded the Senator Paul Simon Spotlight Award, which honors a specific international program or initiative that contributes toward comprehensive internationalization. They are: Providence College, in Providence, R.I.; the University of Arizona, in Tucson, Ariz.; and Washington & Jefferson College, in Washington, Pa.

Named for the late Senator Paul Simon, who represented Illinois in the Senate for 12 years and was a U.S. Representative from Illinois for 10 years, these awards recognize outstanding and innovative achievements in campus internationalization.

Senator Simon was well known as a strong supporter of international education and foreign language learning. His leadership in these areas was especially evident in his robust support for the creation of the National Security Education Program, which addresses critical national security deficiencies in language and cultural expertise, and in his vision of a national program to greatly expand U.S. citizens' knowledge of the world, which was the inspiration behind the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation Act.

With nearly 10,000 members, NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the world's largest nonprofit professional association dedicated to international education.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.