CWRU wins prestigious national award for campus internationalization

Case Western Reserve University has been selected to receive the prestigious Andrew Heiskell Award for Innovation in International Education, honoring the university’s innovative and successful programs in campus internationalization.

Created in 2001 by the Institute of International Education (IIE), the annual Heiskell Awards promote and honor the most outstanding initiatives being conducted in international higher education among its 1,400 member universities and colleges.

IIE is especially interested in highlighting innovative initiatives that can be used as models to address a specific need, remove institutional barriers and broaden the base of participation in international teaching and learning on campus.

Case Western Reserve, one of nine campuses recognized for a 2016 award, won in Category 1: Internationalizing the Campus. Florida International University was a co-winner in the same category.

“Case Western Reserve University’s comprehensive plan for internationalization has created a sweeping, organic change in the university’s culture,” the IIE acknowledged in the award announcement. “As a result, internationalization is becoming embedded throughout the university’s thought and curriculum.”

Representatives from Case Western Reserve will receive the Andrew Heiskell Award for Internationalizing the Campus at a ceremony in California on March 11, as part of the Annual Best Practices in Internationalization Conference. Florida International University was a co-winner in the same category.

“Case Western Reserve University has a long and proud history of international engagement,” said William A. “Bud” Baeslack III, provost and executive vice president. “However, only since focusing on internationalization in the university’s 2008 strategic plan have we specifically concentrated on strategic, campus-wide and comprehensive internationalization.”

As a result, the university hired a senior international officer, created an International Planning Committee and began a formal international strategic planning process. The process was inclusive—driven by faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members. Implementation of Phase I began in 2012; Phase II began in November 2015.

As a result, the university has increased the percentage of incoming undergraduate international students from 3 percent to 15 percent. The international student population has nearly doubled since 2008-09, from 1,076 to 2,026. International students now constitute almost 19 percent of the total student population and represent 90 countries.

The university also provided $130,000 to fund 20 Faculty Seed Grants to develop sustainable initiatives to create and implement international research projects, study-abroad programs and cross-discipline curricula.

The university has partnered with numerous universities abroad for research and exchange. Most recently, Case Western Reserve has signed agreements with Tohoku University (Japan), Taipei Medical University (Taiwan), Albert Einstein Hospital (Brazil) and Future University (Egypt).

These efforts have placed the university among the top 20 of the nation’s doctoral-granting institutions in the percentage of undergraduates studying abroad. In 2013-14, 45 percent of undergraduate students had an academic education abroad experience, up from 19 percent in 2010, according to the 2015 Open Doors Report.

“The Heiskell Award for Internationalizing the Campus, along with CWRU’s top 20 national study-abroad ranking in November 2015, is further validation—from perhaps the most highly respected higher education organization—of our success in changing the culture of the university,” said David Fleshler, vice provost for International Affairs. “CWRU’s emergence as one of the nation’s most recognized universities for comprehensive internationalization is a true reflection of the dedication, commitment and support of faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members.”

The IIE Heiskell Awards were named for the late Andrew Heiskell, a former chairman of Time Inc. and a longtime member of IIE’s Board of Trustees. Heiskell was a renowned international and cultural philanthropist and a dedicated supporter of international education.