Faculty and staff of Texas Global's English Language Center

2021 Simon Award Honors UT Austin During International Education Week

  • Nov 17, 2021
  • Ellen Stader

In March 2021, The University of Texas at Austin was selected to receive the Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization from NAFSA: Association of International Educators, in recognition of its excellence in campus internationalization endeavors.  

The award recognizes UT’s internationally focused initiatives and innovative approach to student opportunity, faculty research, institutional development and alumni engagement. The 2021 cohort of award-winning institutions from across the United States receive this recognition as part of the celebration surrounding International Education Week.  

In a video, University of Texas at Austin President Jay Hartzell accepted the Simon Award on behalf of the university, UT Austin’s International Board of Advisors and global alumni network, Texas Global, and the university’s research and educational partners around the world.  

“Now more than ever, transnational partnerships are critical to creating a better Texas and a better world. From teaching curricula and research programs to alumni engagement and institutional partnerships, we pride ourselves on internationalization,” said Hartzell. “Moving forward, we’re committed to creating even more opportunities for students and faculty to engage with their international peers.” 

Internationalization efforts at UT Austin accelerated in 2018 with the formation of Texas Global, the unit that leads and supports a varied roster of international programs and initiatives. Taking a strategic and coordinated approach by bringing together the myriad activities that contribute to the university’s global mission, Texas Global fosters strategic partnerships on campus and abroad, welcomes a cadre of international students and scholars to campus, and creates opportunities for students and faculty to engage with peers and institutions around the world.   

Although the pandemic initially halted international travel, UT Austin continued to cultivate its global engagement while complying with safety measures. In response, Texas Global pivoted, embracing technology and innovation to engage partners virtually and provide alternatives when travel restrictions sharply curtailed student mobility.  

“During a time of significant global upheaval, UT Austin remained committed to transnational collaborations,” said Sonia Feigenbaum, Ph.D., senior vice provost for global engagement and chief international officer. “I am impressed by the creativity and innovation of our faculty and staff to ensure that engagement with our international partners was bolstered. I am grateful to NAFSA for recognizing the diligent work of the UT community on campus and across the globe.”  

Since 2003, the Simon Award has been presented to institutions with innovative international programs or initiatives that represent outstanding achievements in campus internationalization. The award celebrates the legacy of the late Sen. Paul Simon of Illinois, a lifelong advocate for international education and exchange, by recognizing universities and programs that promote international understanding, leading to a more just and peaceful world.