On February 21, 2020, during his visit to Prague, SUNY Empire State College President Jim Malatras signed a new partnership agreement with the general manager of the University of New York in Prague (UNYP) Sotiris Foutsis. Under the agreement, SUNY Empire students would have access to new extensive study abroad and exchange programs between New York and the Czech Republic, which would incorporate a wide range of educational options to experience Prague. Students
will have an opportunity to take apply for a two-week-long residency or more extended Study Abroad programs, varying from one semester up to two years, where they will work toward their degrees with SUNY Empire Faculty at the University of New York in Prague.
The second part of the agreement confirms the launch of SUNY Empire’s first International Virtual Exchange Program, which will be implemented with new cutting-edge Immersive Cloud Learning (ICL) classroom technology. ICL classroom makes it possible for students and instructors to have a flawless learning session experience, similar to a regular class, even when an instructor is thousands of kilometers away from the classroom. Through ICL, students in Prague will have the opportunity to explore even more areas of study, taught by faculty located in New York.
For several years, SUNY Empire has been using ICL technology to connect students and faculty at various locations across New York state and to simulate real-time learning environments. In the fall 2020 semester, the University of New York in Prague will become the first European site, which will allow students and faculty—based in Prague, to interact in an online classroom environment with peers and colleagues based in New York. The first two offered courses- “Human Services for Refugees and Displaced Populations” and “Understanding Medical Marijuana: A Multidisciplinary Perspective,” will be taught at SUNY Empire’s campuses in Selden and Saratoga Springs.
From January 2021, SUNY Empire students will be able to study abroad in Prague for up to two years, as well as will be offered a two-week intensive college-credit residency in Prague exploring Czech culture through cuisine. SUNY Empire faculty based in Prague will provide an educational experience in the areas of Business Administration, Communications and Media, IR, Psychology, ELL, and IT. UNYP will provide housing to visiting students and offer private or shared accommodations in recently renovated residential buildings.
“Colleges and universities must keep pace with developments in society and technology. We have to adapt, integrate and innovate alongside the changing needs of students and today’s technological advances,” said General Manager of the University of New York in Prague Sotiris Foutsis. “We are proud to work together with the State University of New York, SUNY Empire State College, our partner of more than 20 years, to bring Immersive Cloud Learning to UNYP, and to create new educational opportunities with expanded, customizable study abroad programming.”
“This agreement provides SUNY Empire students the option to experience studying abroad in the capital of the Czech Republic, whether they have only two weeks or if they want to do so for two years,” said SUNY Empire State College President Jim Malatras. “I’m excited that this will be SUNY Empire’s first virtual international exchange program, which will incorporate immersive cloud classroom technology, building the bridge between our students in the United States and Prague. Thank you to Mr. Foutsis and to everyone at the University of New York in Prague who shares SUNY Empire’s commitment to global learning for all.”