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Institutional Award for Global Learning, Research, and Engagement

The 2022 cycle of the Institutional Award has ended.  

About the APLU Institutional Award

The APLU Institutional Award for Global Learning, Research, and Engagement recognizes member institutions and their leaders who excel in their efforts to drive an inclusive approach to their global engagement, research, and learning, while measuring the impact of these efforts.

As an organization bringing together North America’s public and land-grant universities, APLU is committed to public service, to providing access to a high-quality global education and partnerships for all stakeholders, and to tackling global problems. APLU believes every member institution in North America must have numerous opportunities for significant global engagement — exploring the interconnections between people and places around the world and deepening their understanding of similarities and differences across the globe.

The award recognizes institutional results and demonstrated commitment during the last six years towards:

  • Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity—the degree to which the institution is committed to and successful in empowering all stakeholders to participate in global engagement activities;
  • Internationalization of Research and Engagement—the degree to which the institution is committed to diverse, inclusive, and equitable 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 participation or progress and impact of internationalization across the institution.

The Selection Committee will choose one Platinum winner of the APLU Institutional Award and may award one-to-three “Gold Awards” for excellence in one or several of the four evaluation criteria for this award. The Award winner and Gold awardees will be celebrated at the APLU Annual Meeting.

APLU hopes every institution that is striving to comprehensively and inclusively internationalize its campus will consider applying for the APLU Institutional Award for Global Learning, Research, and Engagement so APLU can honor your work and share it with other public universities as we continue to encourage internationalization efforts across campuses. If you have any questions, please contact Jordan Merker, International Engagement Manager, at

Previous Award Winners

  • 2021 Award Winners
    2021 Platinum Winner: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    The University of North Carolina at 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. 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 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. 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.


    2021 Gold Award (Leadership and Pervasiveness): University of Maryland, Baltimore County
    Between 2018 and 2020, more than 400 students, faculty, and staff at UMBC participated in activities designed to help shape UMBC’s global engagement strategy. 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.

  • 2020 Award Winners
    2020 Platinum Winner: University of California, Davis
    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. 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 university also created a set of advisory groups tasked with advancing the university’s internationalization in education, research, and engagement. 

    2020 Gold Award (Global Engagement): University of Pittsburgh
    The University of Pittsburgh 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.

    2020 Gold Award (Global Learning): Virginia Commonwealth University
    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 university also achieved a 23 percent increase in study abroad participation since the 2014-2015 school year.

  • 2019 Award Winners

    2019 Platinum Winner: University of South Florida
    The University of South Florida has embraced a holistic approach to campus internationalization. In 2014, the university launched its USF Education Abroad Inclusion Initiative to broaden participation in study abroad. USF has robust international engagement through research and engagement as well. Thanks to its focus on global engagement, USF is the top producer for Fulbright Scholars in the United States. 

    2019 Gold Award (Leadership and Pervasiveness): The Pennsylvania State University
    Penn State’s leadership has worked to develop and implement a Global Penn State effort to spur more pervasive internationalization. Global Penn State is woven into the university’s strategic plan. 

    2019 Gold Award (Internationalization of Research and Engagement): University of British Columbia
    Already a global center for research and engagement, the University of British Columbia has worked to bolster the internationalization of its work in these areas. The university has partnership agreements with more than 300 universities and research institutions in over 50 countries.

    2019 Gold Award (Inclusivity): Florida International University
    With a student population of more than 58,000, Florida International University has worked to ensure every student has global learning opportunities that prepare them to succeed in the 21st Century economy.

  • 2018 Award Winners

    2018 Platinum Winner: Florida State University
    Florida State University is working to secure its place as a leader in internationalization. Offering study abroad opportunities in 60 disciplines at 20 locations across the globe, FSU ranks twelfth in the nation in study abroad participation. The university also boasts an expansive global research and engagement presence.

    2018 Gold Award (Leadership and Pervasiveness): University of Alberta
    Over the past two decades, the University of Alberta has transformed into an institution that comprehensively enriches its academic agenda through international experiences.

    2018 Gold Award (Internationalization of Research and Engagement): Arizona State University
    Arizona State University has worked to vastly expand its research productivity in recent years. The university increased investment in global research, instruction, and public service by 40 times since 2008.

    2018 Gold Award (Inclusivity): University of South Carolina
    The University of South Carolina has established a range of programs to ensure inclusive international learning experiences. These efforts include its Black & Abroad, LatinX Abroad, and Queer & Abroad programs, which connect students with study abroad alumni from these groups to help guide them through the study abroad process.

  • 2017 Award Winners
    2017 Award Winner: University of Calgary
    The University of Calgary is working to become a global intellectual hub through the international strategy it launched in 2013. Leveraging the four pillars of its international strategy – diversity, cross-cultural competencies, partnerships and international development – the University of Calgary made vital strides in internationalizing its campus. 
  • 2016 Award Winners
    2016 Award Winner: University of Minnesota
    The University of Minnesota established a wide-ranging internationalization effort that spans the entire institution – from international students and study abroad to research projects and curriculum design.