Carmen Rivera, Ph.D.
Dr. Carmen Rivera, chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at SUNY Fredonia, recently received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Internationalization, for developing “Thematic International Education Seminars, T.I.E.S,” a new educational exchange program with Puebla, Mexico.
For SUNY Fredonia — one of only five campuses throughout SUNY so honored — the award provides $4,000 to support the new summer-seminar program and make it more affordable to students in the 2011-12 academic year.
“We are so excited,” Rivera said of receiving the award. “We want to promote the idea that study abroad goes beyond language studies and to expand student exchange collaborations to disciplines across campus.”
The Chancellor’s Award for Internationalization, coordinated by SUNY Global’s Office of International Programs, encourages the establishment of new study abroad programs in less commonly traveled countries. Its goal is to increase the internationalization of both individual campuses and the entire SUNY system. The award was sought by 20 schools.
The seeds for the new study abroad project were sewn by Rivera and Mary Sasso, Fredonia’s director of International Education, during a trip they made last fall to Puebla. Their vision was a six-week, six-credit seminar that brings together Fredonia faculty and students representing a variety of majors with their counterparts from Mexico to explore a specific theme. The first three weeks of the seminar will be held in Fredonia and the last three in Puebla.
“Health Issues across the Border” is the program’s inaugural topic. It promises to be a comprehensive learning experience, with students attending lectures that explore health-care issues and accompanying challenges, going on field trips to local clinics, hospitals and other health-care facilities, and attending language and culture classes. “When our students travel to Mexico, they will learn about the issues and challenges from a Mexican perspective,” Rivera added.
Prospective topics for future seminars to be offered in alternating years include education, the environment, U.S.-Mexican politics and mass media.
“The idea is to provide a more rounded education to our students who will graduate with an expertise in their area within an international context that brings the notion of ‘global citizenship’ into their immediate reality,” Rivera said. “We hope to create a model that can be adopted by other universities. We can’t wait to bring the world to SUNY and SUNY to the world.”
The new seminar will also expand SUNY Fredonia’s ties with Puebla that already include a cooperation agreement with Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla and a student-teaching program for students in TESOL.
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