President's Report Masthead
September 30, 2012
Success Program is a success

Andy Stoerk of Germany and Zhenghui Lin of China quiz each other on baseball vocabulary they learned in an American culture class. Stoerk is participating in the Binghamton University German Fulbright Summer Institute and Lin is in the Academic Success Program for International Students.

Success Program is a success

The English as a Second Language (ESL) program welcomed its first group of Academic Success Program (ASP) participants this summer. 

Funded by a grant from the Provost’s Academic Program and Faculty Development Fund, the ASP was designed for academically well prepared international students who are not quite ready linguistically or culturally to begin their studies at Binghamton University. The Office of Undergraduate Admissions selected 25 students to participate who were conditionally admitted based on English language proficiency. Two more students opted into the program; eventually, the program hopes more students will elect to participate. Students in this year’s program came from China, Korea and Nigeria.

Arriving on campus five weeks before the start of the fall semester, students in the program took two courses designed to prepare them to study at an American university: ESL 110, Intermediate English as a Second Language, which fulfilled a Harpur College writing requirement, and ESL 142, American College Culture, a two-credit course that exposed them to aspects of college life. ESL 142 included an experiential learning component and focused on campus-based support systems available to students. Participants visited local non-profit organizations with the Center for Civic Engagement, toured the Decker Student Health Services and the Rec Center at the East Gym, took a yoga class, enjoyed a library scavenger hunt, went on weekend excursions, and collaborated on several social and academic events with visiting German Fulbright students.

“The ASP fills a real gap,” said program coordinator Linda Sukarat. “For new international students who would normally struggle to adapt to college life at Binghamton University, brushing up on language skills, learning how to maneuver through the various systems and knowing where to get support on campus ahead of time gives them a better chance at academic success when classes start in the fall.”

The ASP hopes to develop a mentoring component for next year. Although there was no formal mentoring structure set up this summer, other international students on campus volunteered as mentors, running a session on tips for using IT resources and accompanying ASP students on weekend excursions. 

In parallel, the ESL Program, with assistance from the Provost’s Office and the Graduate School, is also offering a free, non-credit course in the fall semester for international graduate assistants and faculty: GRD 675, Professional Language Development for International Scholars, as a service for advanced-level international scholars who want to improve their listening and speaking skills for an academic setting.

More information about the Academic Success Program is available at