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Two Faculty Members Chosen For International Online Learning Project

Angela Martin and Amber Gilewski with SUNY colleagues in Egypt
Amber Gilewski (far right) and Angela Martin (second from right) with SUNY colleagues in Egypt

September 13, 2017

Two Tompkins Cortland Community College faculty members traveled to Egypt and Lebanon this summer as part of a unique SUNY program designed to expose more students to international experiences. Associate Professor Amber Gilewski and Instructor Angela Martin were among 15 faculty members from across all of SUNY to participate in the SUNY Center for Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) summer workshop at the American University of Technology in Lebanon.

COIL provides faculty with the opportunity to partner with faculty members from other countries to bring the world into their classrooms. As a result of the COIL relationship, both Martin and Gilewski are partnering with colleagues in Egypt to co-teach courses in Dryden and Cairo using online and blended learning environments emphasizing on experiential student collaboration.

“We are always looking for ways to globalize our curriculum,” said Martin, who serves as the COIL coordinator at Tompkins Cortland. “Not everyone can leave the country for the traditional study abroad experience, so this is a great way to offer an international experience to our students.”  

Collaborating with the American University of Cairo in Egypt, Tompkins Cortland students will work with the Egyptian students on group projects. “Part of what makes the project so great is that it gives students from different parts of the world a chance to get to know each other and realize they have more similarities than differences,” said Martin, noting that international communications skills and the ability to look at things objectively are the strengths of the COIL partnership.  

COIL was founded by Professor 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 Albany, COIL has been a unit of SUNY Office of Global Affairs since 2010.

Statement from Tompkins Cortland Community College President Orinthia Montague

July 25, 2017

A memorial service for Tompkins Cortland Community College student Roberto Eduardo Mata Lopez will be held Wednesday, July 26 at 3 p.m. in the College’s Student Center. Roberto died in a motor vehicle accident while a passenger in a taxi returning to campus in the early morning hours of July 20. The driver of the cab was also killed in the accident, and seven other Tompkins Cortland students were injured.

The memorial service is designed to give the entire College community a chance to share memories of Roberto. In addition to prayers from local clergy, President Orinthia Montague will provide remarks. There will be opportunities for anyone in attendance to speak or write a message for the family, and students will offer a song. The ceremony will conclude with a symbolic releasing of balloons to the heavens.

The community is welcome to attend. Anyone wishing to send flowers should have them delivered to the Student Center by noon on Wednesday.

July 20, 2017

Statement to campus community at 4 p.m.

Good afternoon, I’d like to provide an update on this morning’s tragic incident that left two people dead, including one of our students.

• The deceased student is Roberto Eduardo Mata Lopez. Roberto was a second-year student in our Global Connections program from the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCCM) in the Dominican Republic.
• Roberto’s family is en route to the area. We have been in communication to assist them in any way possible. Dean of Student Life John Bradac and I will meet them at the airport tonight and bring them back to campus, where they will stay in one of our residence hall apartments.
• The three students taken to Cortland Regional Medical Center have been treated and released.
• One of the four students taken to Upstate University Hospital has been released. The other three remain hospitalized, but each is said to be improving. We have College staff, including one of our nursing faculty members, at the hospital to remain in communication with the medical staff and our students.
• At the request of our students, three local Catholic priests came to campus to hold a mass in Spanish with our students. These priests have offered to be available for students and families.
• The College’s counseling staff has set up a temporary office in the residence halls and is using that location to offer services to our students. Counselors in the community have also offered to provide assistance over the weekend as needed.
• Our dining services staff have made adjustments to deliver meals to students in the residence halls.
• We have been in contact with, and received condolences from, SUNY Leadership.

I, along with several members of the College staff, had the opportunity to meet with our Global Connections students this morning. While expressing the sympathies on behalf of the entire College community, we shared our heartache, many tears, and many hugs. It was an emotional meeting, but one that left me inspired by the strength of these students.

Regardless of your faith, please join me in keeping all our students and their families in your thoughts and prayers.

Statement at 10:15 a.m.

“Today is a very sad day for Tompkins Cortland Community College. We are left with a heavy heart after learning of the death of one of our students. We share our deepest sympathies with the families and friends of our lost student, as well as those connected to the taxi driver who also perished.

As a result of this tragedy, we have canceled classes and the College’s counseling staff is available for anyone in need. The College is also working to assist the families affected by this tragedy in any way possible.

Our heart and prayers are with the families of the victims, all of our Global Connections students, and the entire Tompkins Cortland community.”


The College has canceled all classes for Thursday, July 20.

Cortland County Sheriff’s Office responded to a single motor vehicle accident on Bennie Rd in the Town of Cortlandville at approximately 2:50 a.m. The vehicle was a taxi van occupied by nine people, including the driver. It left the roadway first striking a utility pole and then striking a tree. The driver and one of the occupants were pronounced dead at the scene, with the remaining seven passengers transported to local hospitals, including Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse and Cortland Regional Medical Center.

The names of the victims have not been released, pending notification of next of kin.

Tompkins Cortland Students Win Study Abroad Scholarships

January 13, 2016

Gilman Scholarship Winners Olu Roberts, Mame Ndiaye, and Stacey Green
Gilman Scholarship winners Olu Roberts, Mame Ndiaye, and Stacey Green

Five Tompkins Cortland Community College students have won scholarships to support study abroad opportunities. The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, were awarded to Karen Betts, Stacey Green, Mame Ndiaye, Christen Parker, and Olu Roberts. The funds supported study abroad trips in January 2016.

The Gilman Scholarship Program aims to diversify the kinds of students who study and intern abroad and the countries and regions where they go by offering awards to U.S. citizen undergraduates who might otherwise not participate due to financial constraints. Such international exchange is intended to better prepare U.S. students to assume significant roles in an increasingly global economy and interdependent world.

The scholarship winners took trips that were led by Tompkins Cortland faculty members. Betts traveled to Ireland as part of the literature and history trip, learning about the country while visiting the inspirations for some of its greatest literature. Green and Parker took part in the College’s health and anthropology trip to Nicaragua, providing health care services to remote communities while earning a deeper understanding of the reality of helping people in a resource constrained setting. Ndiaye and Roberts visited Cambodia, studying anthropology and transformative travel writing while tasting traditional foods and interacting with local people.

In each case, students took classes at the College during the fall semester and then traveled over the winter break. In addition to these trips, Tompkins Cortland also offers trips to Spain, Colombia, and Italy that run in May, with pre-trip courses during the spring semester.

For more information about these opportunities, plus the more than 30 trips available through an agreement with SUNY Cortland, visit the study abroad webpage.

Faculty Member Chosen for Prestigious Program

December 23, 2015

Tompkins Cortland Community College Associate Professor Darlene Gold has been invited to a prestigious international literary program. The co-chair of the College’s creative writing degree program was selected to participate in the 13th annual Under the Volcano literary program in Tepoztlan, Mexico January 14-24, 2016. Gold was one of just ten selected from around the world to participate in the memoir master writing class. In addition to the United States, participants come from Mexico, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Wales, Hungary, Puerto Rico, and Switzerland.

Gold says the work she will be doing in Mexico will have a direct relationship to the classes she teaches, including Introduction to Creative Nonfiction and Writer’s Workshop. “This is truly an honor,” said Gold, noting she will be joining a group of writers from different genres that bring a wealth of professional expertise.

In addition to daily three-hour master classes, the program includes literary readings by the faculty members as well as opportunities for participants to trade know-how in such aspects of literary life as editing, finding an agent, and pitching stories to magazines.

Tompkins Cortland and SUNY Cortland Sign Study Abroad Agreement

November 11, 2015

Tompkins Cortland Community College and SUNY Cortland students now have new options when it comes to where they want to study. The two institutions have signed an agreement to allow their students to participate in the other’s study abroad program. For students at Tompkins Cortland, that means access to SUNY Cortland’s more than 30 study abroad programs on six continents. Likewise, SUNY Cortland students will be able to experience the unique offerings from Tompkins Cortland’s study abroad programs in six different countries.

The agreement was signed by top officials from both colleges, including Tompkins Cortland President Carl Haynes and SUNY Cortland Eric Bitterbaum.

Tompkins Cortland President Carl Haynes and SUNY Cortland President Eric Bitterbaum

For more information on the program at Tompkins Cortland, visit the College's study abroad website.

For more information on the new opportunities, visit the SUNY Cortland study abroad website.

College Celebrates International Education Week

November 12, 2013

Tompkins Cortland Community College will host a series of activities November 18-22 as part of International Education Week. Among the events will be an international students panel, a roundtable discussion and in-class demonstrations with members of a visiting Quiche Mayan family, and the highlight event: an Oxfam Hunger Banquet on Thursday, November 21.

The Oxfam Hunger Banquet is designed to bring issues surrounding global hunger, inequitable access to resources, and poverty to the college community. When guests arrive, they will draw tickets that will relegate them to high, middle, or low-income socioeconomic classes for the evening. The meal they will be served will be according to what is “typical” for people within that income tier, meaning most participants will be served far less food than they are used to for a meal. There will be speakers throughout the event, as well as a presentation on facts surrounding global, national, and local poverty concerns. This unique and memorable experience allows guests to experience firsthand how others live, and how their privilege and decisions affect others around the world. The event also benefits a local organization: entrance to the banquet is free with a donation of canned food or cash to benefit the Dryden Food Pantry.

The banquet will be followed by a performance by 14 Strings, a Cornell-based traditional Filipino music ensemble, as well as a chance for participants to share their thoughts. Information on what attendees can do to help alleviate hunger and food insecurity will also be provided.

International Education Week was started by the U.S. Department of State and the Department of Education to provide an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. International Education Week 2013 is sponsored by the Global Initiatives Council. The Oxfam Hunger Banquet is sponsored at the College by the Global Initiatives Council, the Diversity and Equity Action Council, and the Sustainability Council, and the Student Activities Office.

The full schedule of events is available at

New International Studies A.S. Degree Program

April 8, 2013

The Tompkins Cortland Community College Board of Trustees has approved the addition of an International Studies associate in science (A.S.) degree program. The program proposal is currently being reviewed by SUNY and the New York State Education Department. Upon securing approval and registration, the program is expected to start in fall 2013.

The international studies degree program is designed to offer students the opportunity to immerse themselves in global learning, reflecting the College's mission of preparing students for citizenship in a global society. Combining history, geography, political science, sociology, cultural and developmental anthropology, language acquisition, and other course work which will transfer to individual four-year degree programs, students will gain an interdisciplinary liberal arts foundation that also includes a study abroad experience. The program is designed for transfer, with bachelor's degree options including programs at Ithaca College, SUNY Cortland, SUNY Oswego, SUNY Purchase, and Wells College. Students completing their baccalaureate degree will be prepared to pursue careers in a variety of areas, including governmental organizations, international aid, international public policy, and in international business.

Program Requirements

Visiting Humphrey's Fellow Presentation

March 20, 2013

Tompkins Cortland Community College will welcome Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow Modibbo Aboubakary for a campus visit March 25 to 29. Modibbo Aboubakary, a native of Cameroon and President of LEAD Cameroon, is a Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow at the University of Washington. He will offer a public presentation entitled “Leadership, Environment, and Development: An International Perspective from Africa” at noon on Wednesday, March 27 in room 263. His visit is co-sponsored by Community Colleges for International Development (CCID), Tompkins Cortland’s Global Initiatives Councils, Sustainability Council, and Students Acting for a Greener Earth (SAGE).

Modibbo Aboubakary worked in the Cameroon Ministry of Economy, Planning and Regional Development from 2001 to 2006, where he was in charge of monitoring and supervising regional development authorities and rural development programs sponsored by the European Union and the French Development Agency. Since 2006 he has been working for Cameroon’s Supreme State Audit Office as an Environmental Auditor, and is currently the president of LEAD Cameroon. His Humphrey Fellowship is a year of academic and professional training in Public Policy Analysis and Public Administration at the Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington.

Tompkins Cortland Community College Vice President Honored

November 17, 2012

Tompkins Cortland Community College Vice President for Global Initiatives Walter Poland has been honored with an International Citizen Award from the International Center of Syracuse. Poland was honored at the 2012 Central New York International Citizen Awards Dinner earlier this month. The awards recognize and honor individuals and organizations for promoting international and global understanding through cross-cultural awareness, education, voluntary service, advocacy, community building, and leadership.

Poland was one of three individuals to receive an International Educator Award. He has worked at Tompkins Cortland since it opened in 1968, serving in a variety of roles, most recently as dean of student services before becoming vice president in 2008. He has led the College’s international education efforts and has overseen the Global Connections program since its inception in 1993. Through the years he has touched the lives of thousands of international students and has been a tireless advocate for the benefits of international students to the College as a whole.

The International Center of Syracuse (ICS) is an independent not-for-profit organization that was founded in 1965. Through the years, the ICS has provided services and programming for citizens from virtually every nation, introducing international visitors to many different aspects of life in the area, including educational, cultural, social, and business opportunities.

Tompkins Cortland Welcomes International Anthropologist

October 3, 2012

International anthropologist Ronaldo Lec will offer a lecture at Tompkins Cortland Community College at 11 a.m. on Friday, October 12. The presentation "Globalization, Agriculture and Indigenous Culture" is co-sponsored by Tompkins Cortland Community College's Global Initiatives Council and Cornell University's Committee for U.S. - Latin American Relations (CUSLAR). The lecture will be held in room 123C and is open to the public.

Lec, a renowned indigenous Mayan anthropologist from Guatemala, has been teaching and implementing sustainable human settlements and self-maintained agricultural systems around the world for nearly two decades. Co-founder of the Instituto Mesoamericano de Permacultura (IMAP) in Guatemala, he has delivered courses and workshops on food security, the protection of biodiversity, and the establishment of seed banks at the family and community levels. At Tompkins Cortland, he will discuss the current status of indigenous cultures in Guatemala, their views on globalization and their future prospects, as well as “food sovereignty” and the notion of sustainability as it applies in his country.

International anthropologist Ronaldo Lec

Tompkins Cortland Hosts International Partners for Intensive English Institute

June 28, 2012

For the third year, Tompkins Cortland Community College is hosting the Summer Intensive English as a Second Language (ESL) Institute, which teaches English to faculty and staff from higher education institutions in other countries. This year the program has 58 participants from six different universities in Colombia, nearly triple the number of participants of the first year of the program. The five-week program is run by the College's Global Initiatives Office.

Tompkins Cortland has long had an international focus during the summer, hosting students from partner institutions with the Global Connections program each of the last 19 years. While the Global Connections program continues to bring many students to campus for summer classes, the ESL Institute began three years ago to specifically address the needs of university professionals, including faculty, researchers, and administrators. The ESL Institute participants spend approximately 20 hours per week in classes, with different tracks based on each person's professional needs and current level of English comprehension. Time is also dedicated to professional development workshops and experiencing the culture and beauty of Central New York, including tours of universities and landmarks in the region.

This 2012 Summer Intensive ESL Institute runs through July 14.

Tompkins Cortland to Add International Studies Program

May 16, 2012

The Tompkins Cortland Community College Board of Trustees has approved the addition of an International Studies associate in science (A.S.) degree program. The program will be sent to SUNY and the New York State Education department for final approval.

The international studies degree program is designed to offer students the opportunity to immerse themselves in global learning, reflecting the College's mission of preparing students for citizenship in a global society. Combining history, political sciences, cultural anthropology, language acquisition, economics, and sociology, students will gain an interdisciplinary liberal arts foundation that also includes a study abroad experience. The program is designed for transfer, with bachelor's degree options including programs at Ithaca College, SUNY Cortland, SUNY Oswego, SUNY Purchase, and Wells College. Students completing their baccalaureate degree will be prepared to pursue careers in a variety of areas, including governmental organizations, international aid, international public policy, and in international business.

Professor Wins SUNY Chancellor's Award for Internationalization

April 27, 2012

Tompkins Cortland Community College Associate Professor of Nursing Paula Moore has won a 2012-13 SUNY Chancellor's Award for Internationalization for a new internship that complements the College's successful study abroad program in Nicaragua. The award, which is designed to encourage the establishment of new and innovative study abroad programs in less commonly traveled destinations and the exploration of underrepresented academic disciplines in study abroad program, was given to faculty members at five different SUNY campuses. Moore was the lone community college faculty member honored.

"The Chancellor's Award for Internationalization is representative of SUNY's commitment to increasing opportunities for global exposure among our students and faculty," said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. "Congratulations to each of this year's recipients and to the students and campuses that have contributed to their success."

The award comes with $4,000 to support the program and make the cost more affordable for students. Moore won the award for her proposal International Internship in Health Care Education in Nicaragua, and internship program designed as a follow-up to the established Nicaragua-Healthcare Onsite trip the College has sponsored for nearly twenty years.

"The intention of this project is to create an internship for students who have already participated in the study abroad course and experiential learning in Nicaragua," said Moore. "During the first trip, as part of the Healthcare Onsite program, student nurses are exposed to a culture and health care system very different then their own. Through dialogues with local nurses and assessments of the communities visited they identify health teaching needs," said Moore, who designed the curriculum for the new internship program. "The internship creates an opportunity for students to take the experience of international health work and service learning to the next level. The students come home and create culturally-sensitive teaching modules to be translated into the language of the people of this region. This internship and subsequent journey allows the student to work in a deeper and potentially more meaningful way with community members and leaders."

Students participating in the three-credit internship will live in Nicaragua for three weeks during the winter 2012-13 break between semesters. The new internship program is the latest addition to the growing study abroad program at Tompkins Cortland. The College offered seven different study abroad opportunities during the 2011-12 academic year, up from four the previous year. In addition to Nicaragua, trips were offered to Ireland, Ecuador, Spain, China, Italy, and Colombia, with credit available in a variety of different academic areas.

Tompkins Cortland Celebrates International Education Week

November 11, 2011

Tompkins Cortland Community College will host a series of activities November 14-18 as part of International Education Week. In addition to on-campus contests and special activities for students and staff, the community is invited to participate in much the week has to offer, including the keynote presentation Wednesday. Professor and Director of the Institute for Environmental Diplomacy and Security at the University of Vermont Dr. Saleem Ali will offer a presentation entitled "Constructive Consumption: Greening a Poor Planet."

The presentation starts with the question: would the world be a better place if we curbed our desires for material goods? Ali will use examples from his book Treasure of the Earth: Need, Greed and Sustainable Future to argue for a more ecologically driven economic and social system that helps reduce global poverty. The presentation is free and open to the public, starting at 3 p.m. Wednesday in the Forum.

The week's activities will also include an International Student Panel, with students from around the world talking about what it's like for them to be a student in the United States compared to their home countries. The panel will also include an American student who studied and traveled abroad. The student panel is Monday at noon in room 263.

Also on Monday, College students and staff will conduct an International Dance Exhibition and Workshop, featuring several types of native dances. The dancing begins at 3 p.m. in the lower cafeteria.

Tuesday will feature a Chinese Calligraphy Demonstration at noon in the cafeteria, and Thursday is being promoted as "Wear Your Traditional/National Attire Day." Ongoing throughout the week will be a photo exhibit themed on the Mark Twain quote "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness" and the Eatery has added an international lunch menu to its offerings.

International Education Week was started by the U.S. Department of State and the Department of Education to provide an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. The activities at the College are supported by the Global Initiatives Office, the Office of Multicultural Services, the Office of Student Success and Advisement Services, the Global Initiatives Council, the Diversity and Equity Action Council, and the academic departments of English as a Second Language and Environmental Science.

Former Tompkins Cortland Student Honored by U.S. Embassy

October 7, 2011

Former Tompkins Cortland Community College student Beenish Javed has been honored by the United States Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan. The Embassy recognized the achievement of ten alumni of U.S.-funded exchange programs at a "Leaders of Tomorrow" event recently at the National Library of Pakistan.

Javed was a student at the College from August 2008 through July 2009 as part of the Community Colleges Initiatives Program, a collaboration with the Department of State, Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs, and Community College for International Development, which Tompkins Cortland has a long-standing relationship. The students were selected to participate by the Fulbright Commission.

The program includes a cultural exchange, where students are required to discuss their native countries with local students and community members in an effort to help educate people about their respective homelands. While Javed came to Tompkins Cortland to study business administration, these cultural exchanges helped her change her career focus. After dressing in native attire and visiting various community members at a variety of locations to tell the story of her country, she decided she wanted to become a journalist. She completed a brief internship prior to returning to Pakistan, helping her get a start in television broadcasting in her homeland. She is now a respected professional member of the broadcast media.

The College was part of the Community College Initiative Program from 2008-10. During those two years, 33 students from eight countries studied at Tompkins Cortland.