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WKU named Diversity & Inclusion Champion in International Education

  • Author: Mahurin Honors College
  • Author: Friday, February 2nd, 2018
WKU named Diversity & Inclusion Champion in International Education

WKU has taken a leap forward in its diversity and inclusion efforts, receiving a prestigious award from Diversity Abroad. WKU has been named the Diversity & Inclusion Champion in the 2018 Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion in International Education (EDIIE) Awards.

The EDIIE Awards celebrates innovative practices, original research and inclusive excellence with an aim toward preparing diverse and underrepresented students for success through access to global education and cultural exchange opportunities. Institutional categories at the EDIIE Awards include Diversity & Inclusion Champion, Organizational Excellence, Financial Support, International Student Success, Student Support, and Programming.

“The faculty, administration and professional team members at WKU are honored by this award,” said Dr. David Lee, WKU provost and vice president for academic affairs. “This recognition sends a strong message that WKU is succeeding in our goal to provide transformational international opportunities through diversity and inclusion. More importantly, it inspires us to continue diversifying the students we send abroad and increase our efforts to provide life-changing international education experiences for a greater and more diverse number of WKU students.”

WKU’s rich internationalization efforts include the work of the Office of Study Abroad and Global Learning (SAGL), Office of Scholar Development (OSD), Intercultural Student Engagement Center (ISEC) and its chief diversity officer, Dr. Lynne Holland, Office of International Programs (OIP) and the Mahurin Honors College (MHC), in conjunction with WKU Student Financial Assistance. Over the last several years, nearly 40 percent of the average $246,000 in annual funding for study abroad scholarships went to diversifying participation in international education.

Dr. Craig T. Cobane, MHC executive director, held the role of WKU chief international officer from 2012 to 2017. During his time at the helm, policies and procedures were revamped, allowing for more accessible study abroad opportunities to diverse WKU students.

From academic years 2011-12 to 2016-17, WKU experienced growth of over 110 percent in underrepresented minority students participating in study abroad programs. This time period saw a growth of 190 percent in African-American students participating in education abroad.

Additionally, Cobane created the Enhancing Diversity in Global Education (EDGE) grant, which serves a broader range of students than just underrepresented minorities. This grant supports first-generation, non-traditional, LGBTQIA+, Appalachian and disabled students. The EDGE grant has invested nearly $200,000 in more than 80 students to expand diversity and inclusion in education abroad since 2013.

The EDIIE Awards will be presented at the sixth-annual Diversity Abroad Conference on April 10 in Miami, Fla. WKU will be represented by Cobane at the conference.

  • About Diversity Abroad: Diversity Abroad is the leading consortium of educational institutions, government agencies, for-profit and non-profit organizations who share its vision that the next generation of young people from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds are equipped with the skills, knowledge and global acumen to thrive in the 21st century global marketplace. Together, Diversity Abroad and its partners advance policies and practices that advance diversity and inclusion in global education and connect diverse students to educational and career opportunities.
  • About the Office of Study Abroad and Global Learning: The Office of Study Abroad and Global Learning (SAGL) serves the WKU community by engaging students, faculty and staff in diverse, educational and cultural experiences through faculty-led, exchange, consortia and other study abroad opportunities.
  • About the Office of Scholar Development: The Office of Scholar Development (OSD) is committed to helping WKU students in all majors and degree programs develop the vision, experience and skills to be independent, engaged scholars. OSD welcomes the opportunity to work with students interested in nationally-competitive scholarships.
  • About the Intercultural Student Engagement Center: The Intercultural Student Engagement Center (ISEC) promotes a culturally inclusive campus environment, cultural awareness and competence, inter-group dialogue, engagement and intercultural interaction, and supports lifelong learning about self and others. The office serves as a hands-on recruitment and retention resource for the many cultural, religious/spiritual and identity groups reflected within the WKU community. The center provides student support services to foster academic success and sponsors culturally based celebratory events.
  • About the Office of International Programs: The Office of International Programs (OIP) strives to complement WKU’s vision to be “A Leading American University with International Reach” through the strategic development, implementation and management of campus-wide internationalization initiatives. OIP, in partnership with SAGL, serves to enhance WKU's international profile by working closely with students, faculty and staff, both domestic and foreign.
  • About the Mahurin Honors College: Prior to becoming the Mahurin Honors College (MHC), an honors program was established at WKU in 1963. The original program evolved over the years, and as a result of continued growth in academic quality, size and overall institutionalization of the program, WKU’s board of regents transitioned the program into an honors college in 2007 – the first of its kind in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The MHC serves over 1,300 scholars, includes 14 administrative professionals and seven faculty members, offers more than 250 honors courses and graduates more than 200 scholars annually. The average incoming ACT/SAT score for freshmen is 30/1300, ranking the college in the top 3 percent of the nation. 

Contact: Gordon Johnson, (270) 745-2243 or gordon.johnson@wku.edu

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 Last Modified 4/20/18