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Awards Honor Faculty/Staff Excellence in Global Education

Marilyn HoffmanThe winners of the 2017 Excellence in Global Education Awards were recognized in April during the Office for Global Engagement’s (OGE) annual awards reception. OGE established the award to recognize extraordinary and long-term staff and faculty contributions to the university’s global dimension and those who have demonstrated excellence in facilitating global learning and intercultural understanding. This may include international partnership development that engages students, curriculum revision to include global learning outcomes, advancement of the learning of languages, and other initiatives that provide significant opportunities for global learning either on campus or abroad. It may also include providing support or mentoring to international students or students participating in learning abroad programs.

In order to be considered, faculty and staff members must first be nominated. Nominations must be submitted along with two letters of recommendation. Nominations can come from faculty, staff, or students. A committee composed of U staff and faculty select the recipients from the nominations and announce them in spring semester. Awardees are awarded $1,000 and recognition at a reception and University of Utah publications and websites. This was the first year that several staff members were nominated and OGE was able to award the first staff recipient, Marilyn Hoffman.

Marilyn recently retired from her position of Assistant Director for the Academic Advising Center. In this role, she had a significant impact on the experience and success of international students at the U, both directly through her academic advising, and indirectly by helping academic advisors across campus increase their skills and confidence in addressing the needs and concerns of international students. She was considered the expert on international student advising in the Academic Advising Center and demonstrated cultural sensitivity as well as vast knowledge of the University which made international students feel comfortable reaching out to Marilyn. She was also considered an expert among the advising staff members and was committed to sharing her knowledge and understanding of international student issues with the rest of the staff. Additionally, Marilyn provided advising staff with helpful resources she compiled to use when meeting with new international students.

Marilyn served as a liaison between the Academic Advising Center and International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS)/OGE as well as the University Academic Advising Committee to coordinate resources and support structures for international students and to build relationships between students and advisors. She was a long-term partner to ISSS/OGE in coordinating the International Advising Workshop Series once a semester which focused on addressing the unique needs of international students in academic advising contexts.

Marilyn’s nominator stated: “Having traveled extensively herself, Marilyn genuinely appreciates the value of cross-cultural awareness. All students benefit when they have the opportunity to learn side-by-side with students from vastly different backgrounds and cultures.”

Kathy PedersenKathy Pedersen, an Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, received the faculty award. She has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to global engagement and provides students with opportunities to gain global competence. Kathy volunteers with the international community in Salt Lake City and connects students to these glocal opportunities as well. Additionally, Kathy has been very active in meeting health needs for underserved populations on a global basis for over three decades by conducting humanitarian outreach trips and hosting delegations from around the world to address problems with access to health care for those living in rural and other underserved areas in particular countries.

She has also led three faculty-led learning abroad programs to Nepal for PA and medical students which constitutes part of an elective rotation.
Kathy co-founded the “Global Partners Program” at the U under which she hosted visiting scholar physicians from Indonesia who come to the U for 9-month training programs in best practices in primary care, public health, and occupational medicine. This has resulted in rich cross-cultural experiences for Physician Assistant (PA) and Global Health students, residents in Family Medicine & Occupational Health, and faculty/physicians. Under this program, she has also coordinated a series of Emergency Medicine training workshops in Morocco and is hosting a visiting scholar from Angola at the U.
Her nominator spoke about Kathy’s compassion when describing her work. They stated: “Kathy cares passionately about the underserved in our community and around the world and works tirelessly on behalf of those less fortunate. She feels a sense of injustice and futility when trying to help diverse, often poor patients obtain sometimes critical medical care, preventative care, adopt healthier behaviors, and develop good lives for their children.”

For more information on the Faculty & Staff Excellence in Global Education Award and to see past recipients, visit or contact Sabine Klahr, Associate Chief Global Officer, at


Last Updated: 5/30/17