Campus: San Diego State University -- April 16, 2003

SDSU Receives Top Honor for 'Exemplary Internationalization'

New NAFSA Report Profiles SDSU, Five Other Institutions for Campus-wide Efforts

A report issued today by the world’s largest nonprofit association for international education honors San Diego State University as one of the nation’s six leading colleges and universities for international programs and experiences.

The report, “Internationalizing the Campus: Profiles of Success at Colleges and Universities,” was compiled by NAFSA: Association of International Educators and sponsored in part by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The report details model approaches, exemplary practices and major trends in international education in the United States. It includes in-depth profiles of SDSU and five other colleges and universities, as well as descriptions of individual programs at 10 other schools.

“The institutions highlighted in this report have developed innovative ways to educate our students for a world in which global challenges know few boundaries and cross-cultural knowledge and understanding are essential,” said NAFSA Executive Director Marlene Johnson. The report’s introduction states San Diego State University, which is “making great strides toward fulfilling an ambitious goal to be a ‘global university,’ was selected in part because of the commitment of top administrators to achieve that ambition.”

SDSU President Stephen L. Weber said that the university’s faculty, staff and students are the ones truly responsible for this latest distinction.

“International education is in demand on this campus because our faculty and students realize that it’s the wave of the present, as well as the future,” Weber said. “Faculty and staff from across the university have been expanding our international relationships and programs for years, and the students are quickly taking advantage of these opportunities.”
SDSU’s successes in international education include the following:

  • The number of SDSU students studying abroad has risen from 167 in 1997-1998 to 731 in 2001-2002, a 337 percent increase in five years. SDSU now ranks fifth in the nation among universities of its type for students studying abroad.

  • The number of international students studying at SDSU has jumped from 600 in fall 1995 to 1,530 in fall 2002, an increase of 155 percent.

  • SDSU’s undergraduate international business program was ranked the best study abroad program in the nation – in any discipline – in 2002 by the Institute for International Education.

  • SDSU recently developed the nation’s first transnational triple-degree program in any discipline, called Project CaMexUs. It’s an international business program designed to prepare future business managers to effectively conduct business in all three NAFTA countries. Students enroll in 10 business courses taught in Spanish at Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, 10 business courses taught in French at Université du Quebec à Chicoutimi, and take courses at SDSU. Students will also do internships in all three countries. Students graduate with bachelor’s degrees from all three universities.

  • SDSU has established more than 70 exchange and dual-degree programs with universities abroad in the last six years.

  • SDSU’s Office of International Programs has given out more than $1.1 million in faculty travel grants over the last four years to help support the creation of new international exchanges and programs.

SDSU Provost Nancy Marlin said enhancing the university’s international perspective remains a top academic priority.

“There’s simply nothing more powerful we can do for our students, educationally and developmentally, than provide them the opportunity to learn and grow in a different country and different culture,” Marlin said. “We’ve made international study mandatory for students in International Business and International Security and Conflict Resolution. We’re looking at expanding that requirement to other majors as well. Right now, about 12 percent of our graduating students spend a full term or more studying abroad. We hope to increase that to 30 percent within five years.”

The featured institutions in “Internationalizing the Campus” were selected by a distinguished advisory committee of international educators, who examined the mission, breadth, commitment and impact of internationalization efforts at 117 colleges and universities nominated for consideration. The winners reflect the diversity of college and university environments available to students. The other five institutions that are profiled in depth are Yale University, Indiana University, Dickinson College, Eastern Mennonite University, and the Community College of Philadelphia. For more information on this report, visit

CONTACT: Jason Foster,SDSU Marketing & Communications
(619) 594-4285,

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