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May 3, 2013

SUNY Oneonta's study abroad program wins awards

By Mark Boshnack
The Daily Star

---- — Half of the 2013-14 SUNY Chancellor’s Awards for Internationalization went to SUNY Oneonta professors.

The four awards announced Thursday encourage the establishment of the new and innovative study-abroad programs in less-commonly traveled destinations, and the exploration of underrepresented academic disciplines in study abroad, according to a release from the State University of New York.

SUNY Oneonta recipients included Robert Compton, chairman of the department of Africana and Latino studies, for a program titled “South Africa and the Quest for Justice and Social Cohesion: 20 Years After the End of Apartheid.”

“We are obviously excited,” Compton said. He is working on the program scheduled for May 2014 with his fellow professor in Africana and Latino Studies and English, R. Neville Choonoo, who was originally from South Africa.

It will be a chance for the two to blend their different strengths — Compton in political science and Choonoo in literature. The prize includes $4,000 for support of the program and to make participation more affordable for students.

Compton said part of the award will be used to help defray some of the costs for students. He hoped it will help build student interest in the program, which is scheduled to spend three weeks at various locations in South Africa. The course will use technology to meet with South African students online before the trip and afterward.

This was the second time he applied for the award, and the first time he won it.

Also being chosen from SUNY Oneonta was Maria Montoya, assistant professor in the department of Foreign Languages and Literature, for “San Andres Island Teaching Abroad Experience,” in Columbia. She did not return a call for comment Thursday.

SUNY Oneonta Provost Maria Thompson said in a statement: “We’re thrilled that two of the four recipients of this year’s Chancellor’s Award for Internationalization are from our campus. Dr. Compton and Dr. Montoya certainly help our students gain broader perspectives of our world and a deeper appreciation of others’ experiences. Focusing on geographic areas that historically are less often discussed also brings a richness to their teaching and scholarship, which contributes to the overall excellence of our academic program.”