Pitt Wins Senator Paul Simon Award for International Education Programs

Issue Date: 
March 22, 2017

student overlooking a vista in Peru

The University of Pittsburgh cultivates and sustains a robust commitment to international education and strong global programs — and its success has been rewarded.

It is one of only four institutions nationwide to receive the 2017 Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization.

The awards were given by NAFSA: Association of International Educators. Named for the late Senator Paul Simon of Illinois, the award recognizes colleges and universities that are making significant, well-planned, well-executed and well-documented progress toward integrating international education throughout all facets of a university campus.

“We truly believe that teaching and learning know no boundaries, and that the University of Pittsburgh’s robust international platform benefits students, faculty members and society at large,” says Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. “Our mission — to improve the world through knowledge — is one that we support through a rich catalog of study abroad opportunities, a vibrant community of international scholars and a deep commitment to tackling issues affecting people and communities across the world.”

Pitt’s University Center for International Studies (UCIS) is the “nerve center” coordinating the implementation of the University’s global plan. It is home to the Office of International Services, Study Abroad Office, Nationality Rooms Program and six area and thematic studies centers, four of which have been designated National Resource Centers by the U.S. Department of Education. All of the centers — the African Studies Program, Asian Studies Center, Center for Latin American Studies, Center for Russian and East European Studies, European Studies Center and the Global Studies Center — explore those regions through interdisciplinary academic programs and community engagement activities ranging from projects with local businesses to K-16 teacher training workshops, student competitions and art exhibitions.

Pitt’s international education endeavors include the following:

  • Embracing the World: A Global Plan for Pitt, which serves as a road map for the entire University and coordinates international efforts. It sets up a global ambassadors program, enriches the student experience with cross-cultural programming, provides resources for faculty working on key global issues and much more.
  • A joint institute, the Sichuan University-Pittsburgh Institute, that allows Chinese students to complete their engineering degree in both Chengdu, China and Pittsburgh.
  • Pillar agreements for Pitt’s health sciences in Italy, Ireland, China and Kazakhstan for teaching opportunities as well as medical, nursing and pharmacy rotations.
  • More than 100 research collaborations across Pitt that link faculty with colleagues abroad. These partnerships have advanced research on cybersecurity, sustainability and human rights, among other areas.
  • A thriving study abroad program, in which more than 1,800 students a year participate. Pitt Study Abroad works with more than 80 faculty members to facilitate close to 100 study abroad programs, including such unique and popular options as the multicountry offering PittMAP, Pitt in the Himalayas, Pitt in Cuba, Pitt in London and Pitt in Florence.
  • Twenty-five Living Learning Communities structured within student residences, of which more than half are dedicated to global themes or mandate global programming. These students are exposed to programming on regional themes, global issues and language learning.
  • Close to 6,000 international students, faculty, staff and visiting scholars from more than 100 countries to a world-class institution.
  • Robust platforms to support global operations including partnerships with international universities and organizations and faculty in-country research and collaborative projects.
  • Three international academic associations with worldwide memberships: the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies; Latin American Studies Association and European Union Studies Association.

“Receiving the prestigious Simon Award is a reflection of the priority that Pitt places on educating our students to be global citizens,” says Ariel Armony, senior director of International Programs and director of UCIS. “Internationalization and global engagement are not choices at Pitt. They are imperatives that ensure we participate in a healthy exchange of ideas and values worldwide.”

The other institutions receiving the Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization are Florida State University, University of Iowa and Santa Monica College. 

Institutions selected for the Simon Awards will be featured in NAFSA’s 2017 version of its annual report Internationalizing the Campus: Profiles of Success at Colleges and Universities to be published later this year and honored at an event in Washington, D.C., during International Education Week in November. To learn more about NAFSA’s Senator Paul Simon Awards, visit www.nafsa.org/SimonAward.