National Collegiate Honors Council


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From Internationalizing Honors, ed. Kim Klein and Mary Kay Mulvaney (Lincoln, NE: National Collegiate Honors Council, 2020)


Copyright © 2020 National Collegiate Honors Council


The interconnected nature of the world economy, including the need for international cooperation in science, politics, the environment, justice, and all aspects of social development, is the reality in which higher education—and not least educational programs catering to the best and brightest—find themselves. The impact of globalization on the United States continues undiminished, and accordingly, honors programs must equip their students with the critical skills and practical knowledge needed to succeed in this global environment to the benefit of themselves, their local and national communities, and the world at large. The fundamental nexus driving the Washington State University (WSU) Honors College is the realization of the importance for honors undergraduates of global citizenship as they prepare to live in and engage with a complex, integrated world. According to international education scholar Hans de Wit, higher education has always been “international”; for example, travelers throughout the Middle Ages sought “learning, friends and leisure” in university cities (5). After World War II, however, the passage of the Fulbright Act, designed to “[foster] bilateral relationships in which citizens and governments of other countries work with the U.S.,” marked the beginning of intentional internationalization on college campuses throughout the U.S., and WSU was a part of that trend (“History”). Before 1950, then Washington State College (WSC) offered a smattering of courses with international content. The first course, which was on international trade, appeared in the 1910 catalog, and a course on international law followed in 1911. After World War I, a few more courses with international content populated subsequent catalogs, but it was not until the availability of Fulbright awards in the 1950s that WSC became more institutionally attentive to its role in international education. Although the first international student advisor was named in 1954, a formalized Office of International Programs was not established to “administer and coordinate international programs undertaken by the university to strengthen its perspective and role in international affairs” until 1966 (Washington State University Bulletin).