Chancellor Zimpher Announces SUNY Grants for Innovative Study Abroad at Four Campuses

May 21, 2015

Albany – State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher today announced four winners of the 2015-16 Chancellor’s Grants for Innovative Study Abroad Programs, which supports unique international education opportunities for students. Each program will receive $4,000 in funding to offset the cost to students.

“Study abroad helps students develop a unique skill set in their field by practicing and applying their learning in an international setting,” said Chancellor Zimpher. “These experiences are often the most rewarding of a student’s college career, and they make our graduates more competitive in the global economy. We are proud to support some of SUNY’s most innovative cross-cultural study abroad programs with these annual grants.”

Grants will be awarded to the following programs:

  • Abroad in Iceland: Writing and Knowing the Land; SUNY Geneseo - This four-week summer study abroad program in Iceland combines Geological Sciences, Creating Writing, and Environmental Studies and is open to all students. Participating students will explore an understudied region of Iceland believed to be a key to understanding climate change. The program, proposed by SUNY Geneseo Assistant Professor of English Lytton Smith, will be offered Summer 2016.
  • BIOL 271: Global Study in Conservation & Sustainability; SUNY Oneonta – This biology-based opportunity is comprised of a 14-week on-campus course during the fall semester, followed by 2.5 weeks of travel to Japan over the winter break. The course will be open to sophomore students and above who have successfully completed either a general Biology course on Ecology and Evolution or an introductory Environmental Science course. Students will travel to Ogasawara (Bonin) Islands in Japan to study Biology, Conservation, and Sustainable Development in a unique ecosystem of the oceanic islands. The program, proposed by SUNY Oneonta Assistant Professor of Biology Kiyoko Yokota, will be offered in the Winter of 2016.
  • Photographic Explorations of Culture, Landscape and Myth in Iceland; Monroe Community College – This special topics course will provide students the unique opportunity to participate in a 10-day intensive educational experience studying and photographing Iceland. It will also include lectures and online sessions, both before and after the trip. The primary objective of the program is to introduce students to an experiential, interdisciplinary approach to learning a new culture and environment. The secondary intent is to help students apply their specific fields of study to understanding Icelandic culture, landscape, history and mythology. The program, proposed by MCC Assistant Professor Jasna Bogdanovska of the Visual and Performing Arts Department and open to all majors, will be offered in Summer 2016.
  • Language and Culture in Latin America: Summer in Ecuador; Stony Brook University – This five-week summer program offers culture and second language acquisition courses in Ecuador. Undergraduate students will take one language and culture course and participate in a filmmaking workshop alongside Ecuadorian peers.  Together, these two groups will write, script, and produce a fiction short film that is screened publicly in the local community at the end of the program. The program, proposed by SBU Assistant Professor of Hispanic Languages and Literature Joseph M. Pierce, will be offered in Summer 2016.

Initially established in 2003 as the Chancellor’s Award for Internationalization, this competitive grant program has supported the development of 49 unique program opportunities for SUNY students to study abroad in traditionally underrepresented regions and academic fields.  Additional information about the program is available online

About Study Abroad at SUNY
Approximately 5,000 students from SUNY campuses participate in study abroad programs each year. As the largest state system in the country, SUNY operates the largest study abroad consortium in the nation, providing students access to nearly 600 program opportunities on every continent. In October, Chancellor Zimpher announced that SUNY would increase student participation in study abroad by 25 percent over the next five years, in partnership with the Institute of International Education (IIE).

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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