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Center for International Programs: A hot destination

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The staff at the Center for International Programs, which is responsible for making connections around the world, is (front row) John Gaudet, peer mentor; Gulesin Delipinar, graduate assistant; Alida Van Almelo, peer mentor; (middle row) Bruce Sillner, dean; Jeff Pollard, Institute for International Business coordinator; Carol Ward, assistant to the dean; Daisy Simmons, keyboard specialist; Joan Feuer, study abroad advisor; Connie Perdreau, special projects coordinator; (back row) Christian Speedling, International Programs Assistant; Jean Paul Sewavi, Study Abroad Advisor; Penny Schouten, marketing coordinator; Beth Vargas, International Study Programs director; Julie O'Sullivan, International Student advisor; and Kelly Franklin, Haggerty English Language Program director.

The Center for International Programs has made its mark on the map by exploring new trends in international and study abroad programs.

Bruce Sillner, dean of the Center for International Programs, and his staff are always on the lookout for new programs to meet the needs of the growing number of New Paltz students studying abroad and international students studying on campus.

Sillner said that of the approximately 400 students that study abroad each year through the center, 60 percent are New Paltz students; 25 percent come from other SUNY colleges and 15 percent come from other institutions.

On campus, there are a record 514 international students from more than 50 countries studying at New Paltz this fall. New Paltz is also a leader in the SUNY system in terms of both the number of students it has studying abroad and the number of international students attending classes on campus.

Sillner said that part of the reason for the increased interest in international education is that students know that in today's global society it is important for them to be aware of and interact with people of different cultures. International education fulfills these missions.

In order to meet the changing needs of students, the International Programs staff speaks to students to learn what potential locations and academic programs they would benefit from. The staff then searches the globe for programs and locations that meet students' needs.

"We're looking for programs that add value to the New Paltz degree," he said.

The International Programs staff covers five areas: study abroad and exchange programs, international student advising, immigration services for students and scholars, the Institute for International Business and the Haggerty English Language Program. Sillner said the center is also instrumental in the international student admissions process.

He believes international students are drawn to New Paltz because it is safe, the location is beautiful location, it is close to New York City and it has academic programs.

New Paltz has had a long tradition of connecting students to the global community. Its history dates back 100 years when a group of Cuban teachers came to the college to study for a year.

Today, Penny Schouten, marketing coordinator, uses such Internet networking tools as Trillian, Skype and Facebook to connect with students around the world.

Last February, the center was recognized for conforming with the Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad by the Forum on Education Abroad.

"This is very unique," said Sillner. "No other SUNY - and very few other colleges and universities around the world - have this distinction."

New Paltz was one of only 19 institutions throughout the world selected to participate in the Forum's pilot project to establish standards for study abroad.

For more information on the center, call x3125 .

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