Think Globally 

The first information session for the new Global Distinction program is today at 5 p.m. in the Campus Center Boardroom.

ALBANY, N.Y. (Dec. 4, 2017) – For students who want to incorporate another language and culture into their academic career, a new program will smooth the pathway to a global education.

Known as the Global Distinction, the new program was introduced by the Center for International Education and Global Strategy (CIEGS).

“It’s a chance to weave into any undergraduate major a set of global experiences that are practically guaranteed to transform students into globally competent graduates,” said Vice Provost and Dean for International Education Harvey Charles.

The Global Distinction is an add-on to any degree program that will appear as a milestone on the bottom of a student’s transcript. To earn it, a student must engage in foreign language study (four semesters or the equivalent); specific globally-oriented coursework; a study abroad semester and an eight-to-10-week internship or research abroad.

“In the demanding, competitive and unforgiving landscape of the 21st century, the individuals who will rise to the top are those who are comfortable negotiating cultural ambiguity, those who have a maturity and sophistication bred of having traveled, worked and lived with people who have very diverse backgrounds, and those who are adept at building the plane while flying it. These are the outcomes that we anticipate for those who enroll in the Global Distinction milestone,” Charles said.

He said the program “is not only for the academically elite or for the financially comfortable, but for any student smart enough and hungry enough to grasp at the opportunity to extract every ounce of advantage from their undergraduate program.”

Admission is open to any undergraduate in good standing, and cost is mostly a non-issue, Charles said. “There are many scholarships students can tap into and the CIEGS will not allow cost to stand in the way of a student participating in this program.”

Associate Vice Provost for Global Academic Programs (GAP) Carrie Wojenski said the initiative will also give students opportunities to learn how to conduct research with colleagues from around the world, and to work as part of a multinational team.

“National data show that the students who engage in these types of activities enjoy an enhanced university experience. They are more likely to earn higher grades, stay in school and graduate on time,” Wojenski said.

Through the new program, “we are making the most of what is already amazing at UAlbany,” said Director of Global Academic Programs Annette Richie, who earned her doctorate in anthropology from UAlbany in 2011.

In addition to arranging study abroad and internship placements, GAP offers coaching on scholarship applications and has its own scholarship fund.

The new program also removes a barrier for STEM students who think that they do not have room within their Major Academic Plan to study and intern abroad, Richie said.

UAlbany has a vast network of exchange partner universities and international alumni, research institutes and corporations in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America, Richie said. Under the new program, students will be able to leverage these connections.

Courses taken as part of the Global Distinction count toward one’s major, minor and General Education requirements, or can be used as elective credit. This means there are no extra classes and students will graduate on time. Those who are already taking language courses and/or plan to study abroad, are excellent candidates, said Richie, who advises students about the Global Distinction, the International Studies minor and international internships. Four sessions are being offered this week for students who are interested in the new program and more information is available.

Upcoming Global Distinction Demos:

  • Today from 5-6 p.m. in the Campus Center Boardroom.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 5, from 2:30-3:30 p.m. in the Campus Center Bean.
  •  Wednesday, Dec. 6, from 12:30-1:30 p.m. in the Boardroom.
  •  Thursday, Dec. 7, from 10:30-11:30 a.m. in the Bean.

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, businesseducation, public health,health sciences, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare and sociology, taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.