SUNY to Create New Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) Partnerships with Universities in Mexico

October 8, 2015

Albany – The State University of New York Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) Center has received a $300,000 cooperative grant from the U.S. Department of State to establish collaborative online courses and co-teaching partnerships between SUNY campuses, colleges and universities in the U.S., and institutions of higher education in 18 Mexican states. The program is expected to serve approximately 1,500 students and 70 faculty over the next two years, and will serve as a pilot for future engagement between the two countries.

"Students participating in COIL-enhanced courses have the benefit of learning not only from SUNY faculty but also from a professor and an entire class of students in another country," said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. "We are proud to offer this innovative teaching and learning experience to even more of our own students as well as those attending partner institutions here in the United States and throughout Mexico."

Jon Rubin, founder and director of the SUNY COIL Center, said, "We are very excited to launch such a program in partnership with universities throughout Mexico, and we are confident this initiative will lead to additional forms of academic exchange and mobility involving faculty, staff and students between the U.S. and Mexico."

The SUNY COIL Center is a leading international organization in this emerging field and has created a model teaching and learning methodology that engages students and faculty across international borders through co-taught online and blended learning environments that emphasize experiential and collaborative learning. With the grant, the SUNY COIL Center will develop and support the implementation of new courses and assist partner colleges and universities with incorporating COIL into their comprehensive internationalization strategies.

The COIL Center model embeds cross-cultural experiences directly into existing curricula and, as a result, can be implemented in a wide range of disciplines. Examples of recent courses between SUNY and Mexico include Geology and the Environment/Advanced Mobile Programming, Multimedia Learning/Families as Partners in Early Childhood Programs, and International Business/International Operations.

SUNY is one of the most engaged and visible U.S. institutions of higher education in Mexico. Established in 2004, SUNY's Program in Mexico generates and supports system-wide initiatives as well as existing campus programs and those seeking to establish new ties. This most recent Department of State grant builds upon the successful Santander Universidades-supported COIL Latin America Academy, which is building relationships with two Mexican university campuses, as well as one public and one private university system, to launch collaborations between professors in both countries.

Rebecca Thompson, Cultural Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, said, "President Obama and Mexican President Peña-Nieto have placed academic exchange and joint research and innovation at the top of our policy priorities. Ensuring that our future leaders speak each other’s languages and know how to work together in the classroom and the laboratory is critical to making North America the most dynamic economic region in the world. With this grant, we bring COIL's successful model to universities in 18 Mexican states, linking students and professors in new and innovative ways and paving the way for many other types of academic partnerships and educational exchanges. COIL will contribute to an educated, bilingual, and bicultural workforce, and greater economic opportunity and prosperity for Mexicans and Americans."

About the SUNY COIL Center
The SUNY COIL Center was founded in 2006 by Jon Rubin as a faculty-led initiative at SUNY's Purchase College with support from SUNY System Administration's Office of International Programs and the SUNY Learning Network. Now based in New York City and a part of the SUNY Office of Global Affairs, the COIL Center currently serves 27 SUNY campuses and a similar number of international partner institutions. COIL-enhanced classes may be fully online, or offered in blended formats with traditional face-to-face sessions taking place at both schools, while collaborative student work takes place online.

About the Mexico-U.S. Binational Forum on Higher Education, Innovation and Research
In May 2013, President Obama and President Peña Nieto announced the U.S.-Mexico Bilateral Forum on Higher Education, Innovation and Research to expand opportunities for educational exchanges, scientific research partnerships, and cross-border innovation to help both countries develop a 21st-century workforce for both our mutual economic prosperity and sustainable social development. The Bilateral Forum complements President Obama’s 100,000 Strong in the Americas initiative, which seeks to increase student mobility between the United States and the countries of the Western Hemisphere, including Mexico. It also complements Mexico’s program Proyecta 100,000 that aims to send 100,000 Mexican students to the United States and to bring 50, 000 US students to Mexico by 2018. For more information, visit

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, 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 2022, 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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