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News & Media

APLU Honors University of North Carolina & UMBC for Internationalization Efforts

November 17, 2021

Washington, DC – In recognition of its extraordinary global learning, research, and engagement efforts, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) today named the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill the Platinum winner of its 2021 Institutional Award for Global Learning, Research & Engagement. The Platinum Award is APLU’s highest-level award granted to a member institution in recognition of inclusive and comprehensive efforts to internationalize its campus. The University of Maryland, Baltimore County was also recognized for its internationalization efforts as a recipient of the Gold Award in Leadership and Pervasiveness. The Gold Award recognizes an institution’s leadership and commitment to both prioritizing internationalization across campus and moving the campus culture toward internationalization.

“In our increasingly globally linked world, internationalization of campuses is critically important for the excellence of education, research, and community engagement work,” said APLU President Peter McPherson. “We’re excited to highlight the important work of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County toward the internationalization of their institutions’ mission.”

The Platinum award recognizes an institution with a demonstrated commitment to:

  • Inclusivity — the degree to which the institution is committed to successfully empowering all students through global learning;
  • Internationalization of Research and Engagement — the degree to which the institution has successfully achieved internationalization of research and engagement;
  • Leadership and Pervasiveness — the degree to which the institution’s leadership (at the president/chancellor or provost level) has made internationalization a priority for the institution and the degree to which internationalization pervades the culture across campus; and
  • Assessment — the degree to which the institution is committed to measuring progress and impact of internationalization across the institution.

More information on the winners’ internationalization efforts is below.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill) has made globalizing the university one of the top priorities in its strategic plan. Under the Global Guarantee, Carolina’s promise that a global education is available to every student, the university has expanded the menu of global learning opportunities. Prior to the pandemic, 43% of undergraduate students studied abroad before graduation, supported by $1 million in annual scholarships. Carolina faculty have embraced Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL), through an initiative launched by the Office of the Vice Provost for Global Affairs in summer 2020. In the first year, 19 COIL courses enabled 400 Carolina students to study and collaborate with faculty and students from global partner universities. In addition to traditional study abroad opportunities, students can also enroll in virtual study abroad to undertake research projects, internships, or courses at a partner university. Participation in study abroad and global learning at Carolina is equitably distributed and reflects on-campus enrollment in terms of race, ethnicity, and financial need. UNC-Chapel Hill’s six area studies centers, five of which are Department of Education Title VI National Resource Centers—more than any university in the American Southeast—provide area studies and language resources for UNC-Chapel Hill faculty and students, as well as K-12 educators and students throughout North Carolina.

With a $1 billion research portfolio, UNC-Chapel Hill has research activity in or related to 150 countries including Ecuador (the only U.S. university research center in the Galápagos Islands), Malawi, Mexico, Vietnam, the United Kingdom, and Zambia. One such partnership, the PharmAlliance, among UNC-Chapel Hill, Monash University in Australia, and University College of London, has dramatically accelerated gains across research, education, and practice to transform education delivery and address major research challenges—as well as providing a replicable model for creating highly productive partnerships. The university’s Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases brings together government agencies, universities, and hospitals and clinics in more than 50 countries. UNC-Chapel Hill’s robust network of partnerships around the world produces results and substantially advances Carolina’s aspiration to be the leading global public research university.

University of Maryland, Baltimore County
University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) is the 2021 Gold winner in Leadership and Pervasiveness. Between 2018 and 2020, more than 400 students, faculty, and staff participated in activities designed to help shape UMBC’s global engagement strategy. To help advance this work, UMBC established an Internationalization Steering Committee in 2018 and collaborated with a cohort of other institutions working to increase the pervasiveness of internationalization. Backed with investment from the university, this committee also oversaw: campus-wide engagement at international education meetings, a university leadership retreat focused on internationalization, collaborative efforts to support international enrollment, and the founding of the Center for Global Engagement. The university’s global engagement strategy includes robust opportunities for increasing access to global learning opportunities at home, including development of online intercultural training programs, expansion of Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) and innovative partnerships with Maryland-based community organizations focused on global engagement. Additionally, undergraduate students have access to international research experiences as well as scholarship opportunities in which to participate.

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