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GGC recognized for innovation in international education

Georgia Gwinnett College is one of only eight colleges selected by the Institute of International Education (IIE) to be honored through its annual Andrew Heiskell Awards for Innovation in International Education.

“These are highly competitive, worldwide awards, and this is the first international recognition for GGC,” said Dr. Stas Preczewski, president. “Everyone associated with the college should be proud of this remarkable achievement.”

IIE’s Heiskell Awards showcase the most innovative and successful models for internationalizing the campus, study abroad and international partnership programs in practice today, with a particular emphasis on initiatives that remove institutional barriers and broaden the base of participation in study abroad and promote international teaching and learning on campus.

The awards honor the most outstanding initiatives in international higher education among the IIE’s membership association of more than 1,300 institutions. This year’s awards recognize five campuses with the Heiskell Award and three with honorable mentions. The winning campuses represent six U.S. states as well as the nations of Australia, Morocco and the United Kingdom.

Award categories include Study Abroad, International Partnerships, Internationalizing the Minority Serving Institution and Internationalizing the Campus.

GGC won an honorable mention in the Internationalizing the Campus award category for its “Internationalization of the Curriculum: Engaging the World to Develop Global Citizens” Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP).

The college’s plan enhances student learning and the student learning environment by creating internationalized courses throughout the core curriculum, majors and electives, as well as an elective Global Studies Certification including foreign languages, study abroad and a Global Studies Capstone course.

Students earning the certification include political science major Christina “Hope” Deraney, ’17, of Lawrenceville. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in international affairs and an international career in human rights and gender equality.

“The Global Studies Certification has helped me consolidate my knowledge and have salient, informed opinions about the current state of international affairs,” said Deraney. Deraney highly recommends the program to students of all majors for gaining interdisciplinary understanding of their fields of study.

GGC initiated the QEP in 2014 as a required component for reaffirmation by its regional accreditor, the Southern Association of College and Schools Commission on Colleges. GGC received its initial accreditation in 2009 and its next reaffirmation will take place in 2024.

“QEP-related internationalized courses created by our faculty enrich our students’ educational experience and their intercultural and global competency,” said Dr. T.J. Arant, senior vice president for Academic and Student Affairs and provost. “This helps graduates be better prepared to live and work in the expanding global economy.”

The QEP strengthens and supports GGC’s other affordable, interdisciplinary, faculty-led, study abroad programs and intercultural campus activities.

The IIE Heiskell Awards were named for the late Andrew Heiskell, a former chairman of Time Inc. and a long-time member of the Executive Committee of IIE’s Board of Trustees. He was a renowned international and cultural philanthropist and a dedicated supporter of international education.

IIE presented the awards at a March 14 ceremony in Miami, Fl., as part of its annual Best Practices in Internationalization Conference for campus professionals, held at Florida International University, a 2016 IIE Heiskell Award winner.