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PCC Wins IIE’s Esteemed Heiskell Award

Along with Darlene Smith-Worthington (not pictured) PCC's Andre Gregory, Stephanie Rook and Dan Mayo, left to right, were instrumental in developing the International Education Travel Scholarship at the college. Last month, their endeavor resulted in the college being selected to receive the acclaimed Andrew Heiskell Award from the Institute of International Education.

WINTERVILLE—Three years after creating the International Education Travel Scholarship to give students, faculty and staff opportunities to study abroad, the program has earned Pitt Community College accolades from the Institute of International Education (IIE).

According to Andre Gregory, PCC International Programs coordinator, IIE announced last week that it will present PCC with a prestigious Andrew Heiskell Award in New York City March 22 for the college’s efforts to “Internationalize the Community College.”

“This is a significant honor for Pitt Community College,” Gregory said. “The Institute of International Education is essentially the Hall of Fame for international education. To receive their Heiskell Award is truly as good as it gets.”

IIE, which has a membership of more than 1,100 higher education institutions, presents Heiskell Awards each year to a small number of member institutions that have developed outstanding international education initiatives.

The 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 international teaching and learning on campus. This year’s awards will recognize five initiatives being conducted by 10 campuses.

In addition to PCC, the winning campuses for 2013 are Susquehanna University (Internationalizing the Campus), St. Cloud State University (International Partnerships) and Wake Forest University (Study Abroad). Receiving honorable mention are University of South Florida (International Partnerships) and University of Pittsburgh (Study Abroad). Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, La Trobe University (Australia), Saint Louis University and Shoreline Community College earned special recognition for “Internationalizing the Professions.”

Created in 2010 by PCC’s Darlene Smith-Worthington, Dr. Dan Mayo, Dr. Stephanie Rook and Gregory, the International Education Travel Scholarship (IETS) provides full funding for participation in a PCC Abroad-sanctioned program. Gregory says the goal is to provide study abroad experiences to students who are eligible but are held back by financial constraints.

“Money is always an obstacle when it comes to studying abroad, so we created IETS to eliminate financial barriers and give all of our students, faculty and staff a chance to obtain a quality education abroad experience,” Gregory said.

IETS is primarily merit-based. Students who apply for the scholarships must meet certain eligibility requirements, including full-time enrollment status, a grade point average of 2.5 or higher, and completion of at least 12 semester hours at PCC. They must also have two letters of recommendation, with one coming from a Pitt faculty member.

Gregory said a key aspect of IETS is that students become ambassadors for education abroad via two major scholarship requirements.

He explained that student scholarship recipients must create sharing plans that require them to find creative ways to share their travel experiences with both college and community members who did not have the opportunity to study abroad. They are also required to write letters to the Global Education committee and college administration, detailing how their experiences have affected them academically, professionally and personally.

“To be credited with a local education that shapes my future, I am honored,” said PCC student Alexandra D. Sauve. “But to be honored with a global education that shaped my life, I am forever grateful.”

Gregory says that granting faculty and staff the opportunity to travel through IETS has also helped internationalize campus. Upon return from their travels, he said they share their experiences with classes and become recruiters for future study abroad programs.

Chris Deville, a PCC French instructor and Foreign Language Lab coordinator, received the faculty version of IETS for her documentation of curriculum internationalization and her language skill set, which was invaluable to students who traveled with her to France in 2011. Deville provided language and culture lessons to the students prior to their departure overseas.

To date, Gregory said approximately 50 IETS scholarships have been awarded. Recipients have traveled through the scholarships to Belize, China, British Isles, Switzerland, Italy and France.

During the 12 years it has presented Heiskell Awards, IIE has recognized nearly 100 programs that promote international education on IIENetwork member campuses.

Leaders from this year’s award-winning campuses will present at the organization’s Best Practices Conference in March, so that international education practitioners can learn from their experience and adapt their innovative internationalization strategies and models to their own campuses.

“The 2013 IIE Heiskell Awards recognize some of the best initiatives in internationalizing higher education,” says IIE President and CEO Allan E. Goodman. “… We appreciate the winners’ commitment to expanding access to study abroad and building partnerships, and we are pleased to recommend these programs as models for other campuses to learn from as they plot their own internationalization strategies.”

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