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Campuses offer status report on Turkish program

Representatives from eight other State University of New York sites joined Binghamton officials on campus last week for a meeting about the Turkish dual-degree programs. About 25 SUNY officials discussed the programs progress and challenges that lie ahead.

President Lois B. DeFleur welcomed the group to campus and noted how proud she is of the dual-degree project. “It really is a model program,” she said. “You have to start with a good base for any international program, an understanding of common goals and needs on both sides.”

SUNY schools have joined with numerous Turkish colleges to offer programs in subjects ranging from civil engineering to teaching English as a foreign language. About 555 students were chosen from 4,025 applicants to begin the program this fall. Students spend their first and third years in Turkey and their second and fourth years in New York.

Binghamton has partnered with three Turkish universities to offer programs in business, global and international affairs and information systems. The business program is among the three most popular offerings, officials learned during the meeting. This year, 351 students applied for 29 spaces in that program.

Binghamton saw its first students in the program arrive last fall, and DeFleur said theyve already had a campus-wide influence, from the performing arts to athletics. The initiative benefits the participants as well as American students because it broadens their awareness of other cultures, she said. Robert Gosende, SUNYs associate vice chancellor for international programs, led the Nov. 29 meeting in Binghamton, which addressed both accomplishments and problems at the campus and system-wide levels.

The program is experiencing some growing pains, he said, and must find ways to address language skills and cross-cultural understanding. It has already made strides in terms of faculty acceptance, he noted.

Katharine Krebs, director of international programs, spoke on Binghamtons behalf when campuses were invited to give progress reports.

Some students have sailed through their coursework without a hitch; others have required help developing study skills. All of them have been determined to succeed, Krebs said.

“The Turkish students,” she said, “are wonderfully supportive of each other.”
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Last Updated: 10/14/08