Mar 102008
 
Authors: Lucia Papureanu

As a university making strides to keep education in line with an expanding global community, CSU is among the top in the nation for international education.

Along with eight other U.S. colleges and universities, CSU was awarded by the National Association of Foreign Student Advisors for efforts in internationalization.

The honorees, who will be acknowledged at NAFSA’s annual conference at Washington, D.C. in May, were selected for the award based on the incorporation of international education in the core curriculum of the institutions, said Everett Egginton, president of NAFSA.

“The selection jury was especially impressed by Colorado State’s substantial, distinctive commitment to integrating international education into the University Strategic Plan,” Egginton said in his award letter to CSU.

The award comes after the a collaborated effort by CSU administration toward a stronger international education policy in 2005, when President Larry Penley hired international affairs expert Jim Cooney as director of the Office of International Programs.

With Cooney’s hiring, the office began to focus on a guiding theme of “Critical choices for a critical century” in 2006.

Mark Hallett, director of International Student and Scholar Services, said the theme was particularly created to reflect the growing interdependence among countries across the globe.

“For CSU, internationalization refers to the fact that every discipline is a growing recognition that we need to work together on an international basis,” Hallett said.

In following this theme, officials point to the allocation of $50,000 to scholarships for study abroad, starting the International Presidential Fellows program, which is geared toward bringing outstanding international scholars to the University.

In one instance of integration efforts, the program has conducted a university-wide training to help integrate 200 new Arabic speaking students, introducing local professors to the different customs and educational upbringings of the Arab community.

Christy Eylar, the International Sponsored Student Coordinator was the coordinator behind the program, titled “Trainer Series: Understanding and serving Middle Eastern and Arabic Speaking Students.”

The program included four workshops focusing on credential evaluations and practices of screening applicants from the Middle East, as well as addressing the pedagogical differences between U.S. and Middle Eastern educational systems, Eylar said.

The targeted audience was made up of faculty, academic advisors, staff and tutors that are especially impacted by the cultural, academic and service needs of these student populations.

The last workshop was orientated specifically toward Middle Eastern students in order to educate them on the U.S. culture and how to become more effective in the CSU campus culture.

“We’re trying to educate faculty and students on how to make CSU a more welcoming place. By becoming a more educated and more sensitive environment, our university can provide a more positive experience for international and domestic students alike,” Eylar said.

Beyond the program, Hallet also points to an emphasis on promoting faculty traveling grants and international conferences at CSU while developing roughly 20 key institutional partnerships throughout the world.

“We’re seeing some interesting trends worldwide which affect the development of world-class universities in Asia, Middle East and India where we are closely partnering,” Hallett said.

Hallett notes that the university is determined to internationalize the campus and enhance its efforts in the future.

One goal of the office, Hallett said, was to more frequently involve domestic students as part of the internationalization process and retain these partnerships.

NAFSA granted awards to other eight universities, including the University of Illinois, Goucher College, Nebraska Wesleyan University, Valparaiso University, Miami Dade College and Webster University.

Staff writer Lucia Papureanu can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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