Colorado State University Wins Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization

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Colorado State University’s ongoing mission to internationalize its campus was rewarded Tuesday when NAFSA: Association of International Educators announced schools recognized for winning one of its most prestigious awards.

CSU will receive the Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization in November at the annual NAFSA reception in Washington, D.C. This is CSU’s second significant NAFSA award; in 2008, CSU won a Senator Paul Simon Spotlight Award for its programs linking research and internationalization.

“This is great news for Colorado State,” said Jim Cooney, vice provost for International Affairs. “Internationalization is not just about one thing on campus – it should be about everything. At CSU we use a multi-tiered strategy, and we don’t just concentrate on numbers. We focus on faculty links, on research, on global partnerships and on college and departmental involvement with our strategic partners because with these relationships, student numbers fall into place for all the right reasons.”

CSU has focused the past several years on increasing the number of international students on campus, upgrading numerous programs and facilities to better accommodate additional students. CSU’s international recruitment efforts, particularly in China, have been beefed up to let more prospective students know about CSU’s outstanding research and educational opportunities. The new INTO partnership is also designed to increase enrollment

“This award is a great tribute to Jim Cooney and his leadership of our internationalization efforts at CSU,” CSU President Tony Frank said. “It also honors the remarkable commitment that departments and individuals across our campus have made in putting our goals for greater international engagement into action. We would not have made the progress we’ve made without the passion and energy of many, many people who recognize the importance of international education and global partnerships.”

CSU has more than tripled the number of undergraduate Chinese students at CSU over the past three years, moving from 59 in 2010-11 to the 190 currently enrolled. Overall, CSU has increased international enrollment by 39 percent from 882 to 1,226 since 2008-09. CSU hopes to increase international enrollment to 3,000 by 2020.

“I am quite familiar with the great job CSU is doing to internationalize its campus. I have been impressed by the commitment of the institution,” said Fanta Aw, president and chair of the board of directors for NAFSA. “Congratulations on receiving the Simon Award, one of NAFSA’s top honors – the recognition is well deserved.”

Cooney said CSU’s effort to forge global partnerships was the key to increasing the number of students from China coming to Fort Collins. CSU has working agreements with five major Chinese universities – East China Normal University, Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University, Hunan University, China Agricultural University and Beijing Normal University – and has sought out additional partnerships around the world.

CSU has also boosted its efforts to encourage education abroad experiences for domestic students. Last year, CSU showed a 12 percent increase in participation, with nearly 750 students studying abroad for credit and 400 more participating in non-credit programs.

“CSU has undertaken some particularly innovative and substantive international initiatives in the past five years, recognizing that research universities have a far more significant role to play in international relations than just providing traditional study abroad opportunities,” CSU Provost Rick Miranda said. “The kinds of activities our faculty and students have undertaken in partnership with universities in China, Mexico, Ethiopia, Vietnam and elsewhere have allowed us to build meaningful, lasting global partnerships that benefit both the universities and our respective nations. We’re honored that NAFSA has recognized these efforts with the Senator Paul Simon Award.”