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International fund announces grants

The Lois B. DeFleur International Innovation Fund, established last year with the $25,000 2007 Harold W. McGraw Prize in Education awarded to President DeFleur, has announced its inaugural awards.

The fund provides seed money for projects that make creative international experiences possible for students, faculty and staff. “The fund was established,” DeFleur said, “to increase the breadth and depth of international experiences, and to promote increased global awareness, respect and competence.”

Of 16 applications, four projects were funded:

  •  Dora Polachek (Romance Languages and Literatures): $5,000 — Obtaining Experiential Education During Study Abroad
  • Daniel Polhamus (Alumni and Parent Relations): $3,000 — Establishing In-Country Contacts with International Alumni
  • Thomas Sinclair (Public Administration): $2,500 — Integrating Study Abroad into the Master’s Degree in Public Administration
  • Harald Zils (German and Russian): $2,500 — Bringing Cutting-Edge Doctoral Research in German Studies to Undergraduate Students

“We want this fund to help us establish new standards and new practices that others can emulate and we can expand upon,” said H. Stephen Straight, vice provost for undergraduate education and international affairs. “Not old things in new ways, but preferably new things. We are developing models.”

Polachek’s project will initially provide students seeking internships and other types of experiential learning opportunities in Paris with all the information they need — including contact information — before they undertake their study-abroad experience. She will also work with the Office of International Programs to replicate the process in other countries.

Polhamus plans to cultivate relationships with the University’s largest out-of-state population — international students. “As Binghamton University strengthens its international presence, it’s increasingly critical to offer a correspondingly strengthened global network of international alumni and constituents,” he said.

Straight believes the Zils and Sinclair projects can also set new standards. Zils will use distance-learning technology so PhD candidates in Germany can lecture and discuss their ongoing research with undergraduates. This could spark doctoral students from all over the world giving lectures to undergraduate classes all over the world, Straight said.

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Last Updated: 10/14/08