Award for Global Engagement

2009 Recipients

Kathleen Sellew

Kathleen Sellew has demonstrated exceptional leadership in international education throughout a career of more than 30 years, including 17 years at the University. Her responsibilities have been wide ranging, including college relations, faculty development, exchange policy and development, grants management, leadership on projects that cut across units, and University representation in national and international organizations. She was instrumental in forming a single flagship international office with a national reputation. Sellew is a strategic thinker, determined leader, and a visionary in the field of international education.

When Sellew came to the University in 1990, she brought a strong foundation of experience in various aspects of international education. She worked with educational exchanges between the United States and Latin American nations at the Latin American Scholarship Program of American Universities (LASPAU), and she served various organizations and groups dedicated to facilitating international admissions from and exchanges with underrepresented parts of the world. Because of this experience, she was an active and sought-after member of NAFSA: Association of International Educators and a valued contributor and consultant to such groups as the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), Educational Testing Services, and the U.S. Agency for International Development. Her expertise has qualified her to author contributions to publications that guide international admissions professionals and expand the knowledge base of all international educators.

At the University of Minnesota, Sellew was a key figure in establishing the foundation, justification, and programs to advance the institution’s internationalization agenda. She championed the involvement of faculty, staff, and students in international activities, which she helped make possible by providing services, programs, grants, and scholarships that support research, teaching, exchanges, and service projects overseas. She coordinated and advised on the development of exchange agreements throughout the University, and served as a central contact point for faculty international activities. Faculty, staff, and students seeking support for travel for academic activities abroad found an astute and enthusiastic ally in Sellew’s office. She developed strategies to fill the gap in financial support for master’s students seeking an international experience. She secured risk management tools such as easy access to travel insurance for faculty and staff, and built fruitful relationships across her office’s units and the University’s many colleges, administrative units, and campuses.

Her contributions extend well beyond the University. The Papua New Guinea Higher Education Project is an outstanding example of Sellew’s role in institution building. As the project manager and principal investigator for this six-year, $8.8 million project funded by a contract between the Asia Development Bank and the Midwest University Consortium for International Activities (MUCIA), she recruited a talented cadre of junior faculty from Papua New Guinea to participate in the U.S.- and Australian-based graduate training programs and recruited U.S. faculty for replacement positions in PNG. She proved to be a gifted administrator and mentor as demonstrated by her work on this successful and far-reaching project.

Sellew’s accomplishments show an abiding commitment to international activities at the University and abroad. She genuinely rejoiced in learning about the leading-edge scholarship that the University’s work supported, enjoyed the complexity of research universities, took joy in the professional service and international travel, and valued and fostered relationships wherever she went. She kept her eye on the University’s reputation in the nation and the world at all times. Her dedication to the University and its constituents is clear.