Provost William Fritz, CUNY Trustee Kay Pesile, President Tomas Morales

The College of Staten Island (CSI) recently held its inaugural induction ceremony of students, faculty, and staff into the Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars.

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The Eta Lambda Chapter at CSI inducted several scholars from all walks of life, but the tie that binds them together is their dedication to spreading their knowledge and experience across the globe, eliminating cultural and geographic borders.

“The Honor Society is about recognizing, encouraging, and celebrating internationalization in the broadest definition,” commented William J. Fritz, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic affairs at CSI and a Phi Beta Delta member, at the evening’s event. “In my experience nothing transforms student’s lives better than an international experience. We are increasingly becoming a global community, and globalization provides learning experiences that extend far beyond the classroom.”

Provost Fritz reaffirmed his commitment to increasing international education by highlighting his four priorities: (1) have more CSI students study abroad; (2) bring more foreign students to CSI; (3) internationalize the College’s curriculum; (4) enhance services to foreign students; and (5) encourage more faculty scholarship and connections with scholars abroad.

Last year Dr. Fritz instituted the “Provost’s Initiative on Faculty-Led Trips Abroad,” designed to provide seed money to faculty seeking to develop courses to teach aboard, and also provide support to faculty who are leading a study abroad trip. This has doubled the number of submissions of faculty proposals to teach and study abroad.

The success of these priorities and initiatives was also evident at the induction ceremony, where the activity of CSI scholars and students throughout the world was brought into focus.

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Twenty-one CSI students were inducted, having studied abroad at ten partner institutions.

Fifteen international students studying at CSI were inducted, representing 14 countries.

Jenna Calderon, a Macaulay Honors College student at CSI, played guitar as part of the musical interlude for the ceremony and has taken advantage of the College’s extraordinary study-abroad opportunities.

Crystal Deosaran was inducted for her dedication to the College in establishing the Adelante Scholarship and helping obtain a $20,000 grant from the Mexican government for students at CSI. While studying at CSI, her business advisor, Alan Zimmerman, encouraged her to study abroad in Shanghai, China. Upon graduation, she attended Baruch where she earned her MBA in 2008.

“Crystal has exhibited great enthusiasm and dedication to supporting the Adelante Scholarship Fund at CSI,” commented Susan Holak, Associate Provost for Institutional Effectiveness. “Her fundraising contributions are innovative and truly demonstrate a ‘labor of love.’”  Deosaran has also created a Cinco de Mayo fundraiser to help raise funds for the scholarship, with donors receiving her homemade, signature flan in exchange for their generosity.

Inductees from the College faculty have been involved with traveling overseas in order to teach students in other countries. Some were pioneers who introduced CUNY and CSI students to life beyond New York City.

Recent faculty-led initiatives include a trip led by Lisa Manne to St. John’s in the Virgin Islands where students studied tropical ecology, and a visit to Italy led by Anderson Ohan to study geology in Pompeii and the surrounding area.

CSI students also had the opportunity to study in Dublin and Shanghai .

Alan Zimmerman led an exchange program to the Dublin Institute of Technology to give international business students the experience of living in Europe while studying at one of Europe’s premier business schools. “We were exposed to the inner workings of a company we otherwise never would have been exposed to,” said Mary Beth Reilly, Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management and 2011 inductee. In Shanghai, Professor Nan Sussman led a trip to China, and taught a course on psychology and Chinese culture.

Susan Sullivan was noted for introducing the first group of CUNY student teachers to the Galapagos Islands, where they taught math and science to K-12 students. This was a groundbreaking event in CUNY history since, according to Dr. Sullivan, “CSI is the only school that offers student teaching in the Galapagos.”

In December, delegates from Vietnam’s Ministry of Education visited CSI as part of their ongoing attempts to reform Vietnam’s education policies. Michael Kress discussed the collaboration between CSI and the Post and Telecommunications Institute of Technology (PTIT) in Hanoi, Vietnam, where students complete two years of undergraduate work at PTIT and then complete their junior and senior years at CSI, receiving degrees from both institutions.

“The symbol of Phi Beta Delta membership is a gold medallion on a red and yellow cord,” concluded Provost Fritz.  He encouraged inductees to “wear the medallion on any occasion that calls for academic regalia.  My goal throughout the coming years is to see many such medallions at Commencement symbolizing CSI’s worldview.”

PHI BETA DELTA is an organization dedicated in recognizing scholarly achievement in international education and comprises of 168 chartered chapters worldwide. It is the first honor society dedicated to recognizing scholarly achievement in international education.

PHI BETA DELTA’s goal is to not only recognize international scholarly achievement but to provide a network of faculty, staff, and students involved in international endeavors.