Wednesday, January 28, 2009

International Education Awards

Awards season isn't limited to Hollywood this month — the Institute for International Education will be honoring several universities and community colleges for their study-abroad programs at the IIE conference in New York in March.

Clemson University and the University of Kansas have earned IIE honors for a joint Maymester study-abroad program they operate in Carpi, Italy.

The schools are the winners of the Andrew Heiskell Award for Innovation in International Education for their joint program, in which students from Clemson, Kansas and other universities are immersed in Italian classrooms for four weeks. The goal is to give future teachers the global skills and dispositions that they'll need to operate in diverse classrooms.

“In short, the beneficial tension of living and learning in new environments heightens their potential in addressing the individual needs of each child in their future classrooms,” says Doris R. Helms, vice president for academic affairs and provost at Clemson, in a release from the Institute for International Education

Vanderbilt won honorable mention in the Heiskell competition for its Initiative in Scholarship and Global Engagement. The year-long program begins each January with an on-campus core course, followed by summer service or a field-based project abroad, and a research-intensive seminar in the fall semester when students return to Nashville.

In the community-college competition, Scottsdale Community College in Arizona is the winner for its program titled “Australia and New Zealand: Connecting Communities, Sharing Cultures.”

In the five years since the SCC program began, more than 40 students — half of them native Americans — have visited with and learned from indigenous communities in Australia and New Zealand. The students engage issues regarding racism, water and land rights, sacred site protection and rural-to-urban transitions learning.

“By focusing on learning objectives that include connecting our own communities as well as those overseas, this unique education abroad program has strengthened our partnership with the Salt River Pima-Maricopia Indian community,” says SCC President Jan L. Gehler in the IIE release.

Honorable mention among community colleges went to Chaffey College in California for its Study Near and Far program, in which students raise money to finance student travel to South Africa. IIE says the recognition is to honor Chaffey's "socially minded and fiscally practical" approach to study abroad.

Another honorable mention went to Salt Lake Community College for its Vietnam Study Abroad Program, in which nursing student connect what they've learned in the classroom with the needs of the Vietnamese.

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