USF World News

USF Education Abroad Receives IIE Andrew Heiskell Award for Access and Equity

Heiskell Award

TAMPA, Fla. (January 18, 2019) – The University of South Florida (USF) is among seven institutional recipients of the 2019 Institute of International Education (IIE) Andrew Heiskell Award for Innovation in International Education. The awards honor outstanding international education initiatives conducted by universities and colleges from among the 1,300 member institutions of the IIENetwork. USF Tampa is the IIE Heiskell Award Winner for Access and Equity for the University’s Education Abroad Inclusion Initiative.

The Access and Equity Award is given in recognition of innovative programs and services that make study abroad and international programming accessible and equitable for a broader student population, with a special emphasis on specific efforts that led to a strong increase in study abroad participation.

Launched in 2014, the USF Education Abroad Inclusion Initiative is a system-wide endeavor to increase participation in credit bearing international experiences by students who are traditionally under-represented in study abroad programs. The goals of the initiative are (1) to increase participation in study abroad by students of color, (2) to increase participation in study abroad by Pell Grant-eligible students, and (3) to create Complementary Embedded Experiences (CEEs) for foundational courses representing diverse majors and disciplines – with the goal of increasing study abroad participation by transfer students, working students, and those whose majors are rigidly scripted. 

In the past four years, USF Education Abroad has generated a 34 percent increase in study abroad participation by Hispanic students, a 49 percent increase in participation by Multi-racial students, and a 55 percent increase in Black student participation. Study abroad enrollment in credit-earning programs has increased by an astonishing 53 percent over this same time period. 

 “What makes this accomplishment even more noteworthy is the fact that the racial, ethnic and socioeconomic distribution of study abroad students mirrors that of our overall student population,” emphasizes USF Provost and Executive Vice President Ralph Wilcox. “We are extremely proud of our track record in supporting diversity among our study abroad student population, of the access we are able to provide to our students, and of our innovative approach to embedding curriculum offerings that have opened study abroad opportunities to a new population of students along their pathway to academic and career success.”

This is USF Education Abroad’s second national award. In 2017, USF won Diversity Abroad’s Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion in International Education (EDIIE) Award. USF will receive the Heiskell Award for Access and Equity at the 2019 IIE Summit in New York City from February 17-19, 2019.   


The University of South Florida, established in 1956 and located in Tampa, is a high-impact global research university dedicated to student success. The USF System includes three separately accredited institutions: USF, USF St. Petersburg and USF Sarasota-Manatee. Serving more than 50,000 students, the USF System has an annual budget of $1.8 billion and an annual economic impact of $4.4 billion. USF ranks in the top 25 nationally for research expenditures among public universities, according to the National Science Foundation. In 2018, the Florida Board of Governors designated USF as a Preeminent State Research University, placing USF in the most elite category among the state’s 12 public universities. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference.

The Institute of International Education ( works to build more peaceful and equitable societies by advancing scholarship, building economies and promoting access to opportunity. As a not-for-profit with 18 offices and affiliates worldwide, IIE collaborates with a range of corporate, government and foundation partners across the globe to design and manage scholarship, study abroad, workforce training and leadership development programs.