In 1999, former KU Provost Shulenburger posed a challenge to the University community that all undergraduate students should have the opportunity to have some kind of international experience before graduation regardless of whether they study abroad. A university-wide Task Force on Internationalization was formed and GAP is a result of recommendations made by this task force.

In late 2002, the Ad Hoc Committee for Certification of the Undergraduate International Experience was convened as a result of the internationalization recommendations. This sub-committee was charged with the task of "defining an international experience in a way that could be measured, certified and rendered on students' transcripts." The sub-committee sought to develop an international educational opportunity for students that was “substantial, certifiable and accessible” to all students.

First called the Global Proficiency Certification Program, the framework for what is today the Global Awareness Program took shape with input from a broad cross-section of the campus community. Members of the ad hoc committee determined that GAP would be structured around three components that leverage existing University resources. With input from each, GAP was approved for implementation by Provost Shulenburger, the Deans’ Council and the University Senate in late 2003.

GAP first offered certification to students in Fall 2004. While there have been very few modifications to the structure of the program overall, the program is continually fine-tuned to best meet the needs of the campus community.  One improvement has been offering students the option to complete all three components to receive 'GAP Certification with Distinction'.

Since its inception, approximately 2670 students have participated in the Global Awareness Program. Several other universities, in the US and abroad, have implemented programs based on GAP. GAP is also one of the many reasons that the University of Kansas was recognized by NAFSA with the Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization in 2005.

Growing all the time, GAP continues to evolve in order to carry out the vision of offering all KU undergraduates an international education experience.

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KU Experiential Certificate Programs

REP - Research Experience Program SUSTAIN -Sustainability Certificate CSL - Certificate in Service Learning ENTR - Entrepreneurship Certificate ARTS - Arts Engagement Certificate GAP - Global Awareness Program LEAD - Leadership Engagement Certificate KU Experiential Learning Certificates