University of Richmond Receives National Award for Widening Access to International Education

EnCompass Program Eliminates Barriers to Study Abroad
May 11, 2022

Pictured above: UR faculty Monti Datta and Bob Spires led students on a study abroad trip to Cambodia and Thailand in 2019 as part of the EnCompass program.

UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND — The University of Richmond has been awarded a 2022 IIE Andrew Heiskell Award for Innovation in International Education in the category of “Widening Access for International Education” for its EnCompass program.

This award from the Institute of International Education recognizes the most innovative and successful models nationwide for developing and expanding international education. UR was one of six awardees.

The Office of International Education created EnCompass to increase study abroad access for populations of students who may be reluctant to take on international travel or whose academic requirements make study abroad difficult. The program connects faculty and at least one student who has studied abroad with students making their first international journey.

“In a typical year 65% of Spider graduates have studied abroad, but that means 35% of our students are at risk of graduating without international experience due to concerns about finances, academic scheduling, and the unfamiliarity of international travel,” said Martha Merritt, dean of international education. “EnCompass helps to eliminate these barriers and provides the first of what we hope will be many opportunities to travel abroad.”

Previously, Richmond received an honorable mention in 2003 for the Heiskell Award for Faculty Programs. The faculty international seminar has since become a model for other higher education institutions, and since 2017 UR has partnered with neighboring Virginia Commonwealth University to send their faculty together in interdisciplinary groups to study a country or region.  

Earlier this semester, Richmond received the Association of International Education Administrators Innovation Award in Internationalization. The award specifically recognized innovative approaches to campuswide International Education Week programs during the pandemic.