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APLU Names University of California, Davis Platinum Award Winner of 2020 Institutional Award for Global Learning, Research, & Engagement; Two Others Recognized for Internationalization Efforts with Gold Awards

November 10, 2020

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 California, Davis the Platinum Award level winner of the 2020 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 their campus. The University of Pittsburgh and Virginia Commonwealth University were recognized for their internationalization efforts as recipients of Gold Level Awards. The Gold Level award recognizes institutions that have excelled in one of the four dimensions of internationalization.

“Internationalization of campuses is critically important to the success of students and our universities,” said APLU President Peter McPherson. “The pandemic is creating new challenges to advancing global learning, research, engagement, but also new opportunities. We applaud the University of California, Davis for its exceptional work to internationalize campus. The University of Pittsburgh and Virginia Commonwealth University stand as leading exemplars of internationalization in global engagement and global learning, respectively.”

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 are below.

University of California, Davis – Platinum Winner
University of California, Davis has taken a multidimensional approach to internationalizing its campus. The university’s Global Education for All initiative aims to provide every undergraduate, graduate, and professional student with global learning opportunities. The UC Davis strategic plan also emphasizes eliminating barriers, such as international travel, from preventing students from gaining global experience. It has increased learning through efforts such as study abroad, global coursework, seminars, and service-learning opportunities. Since 2015, participation in study abroad has increased 28 percent and participation in global internships has more than doubled.

To promote global research and engagement, the university created global centers to better link UC Davis with researchers across the globe. The centers are first developing in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa, building on longstanding connections to those regions. The university created the centers to address global challenges through collaborative research and provides grants for faculty to undertake research that advances the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals and supports faculty and staff to act as ambassadors for the university abroad.

The university also created a set of advisory groups tasked with advancing the university’s internationalization in education, research, and engagement. UC Davis is tracking progress on this work through holistic yearly assessments measuring post-graduation outcomes, percentage and diversity of students participating in global learning opportunities, research activities and partnerships, as well as international rankings. This information is used to inform further internationalization efforts.

University of Pittsburgh – Gold Award for Global Engagement
The University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) has a host of efforts promoting global engagement. The university’s educational programs to K-12 schools and community college leaders emphasize international studies and world languages. Pitt also hosts the mid-Atlantic coordinating site for the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia, covering 11 states. Additionally, the university works with local ethnic societies to host cultural events and festivals for students, faculty, staff, and the wider community. Pitt also has a partnership with Carnegie Mellon University to provide mini-courses on global themes, offered to both students and public.

Virginia Commonwealth University – Gold Award for Global Learning
Over the past six years, Virginia Commonwealth University has prioritized increased inclusion in global learning programs. The university launched a globally oriented living-learning program that is one of the first credit-bearing courses of its kind. The undergraduate interdisciplinary curriculum fosters intercultural learning through sustained, structured interactions among program participants, international students/scholars and community members in Richmond and abroad. The course, which is designated as a Peace Corps Program, has increased enrollment by 60 percent. More than half those enrolling are Pell Grant recipients and 46 percent are first-generation college students. The university also achieved a 23 percent increase in study abroad participation since the 2014-2015 school year.

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