Developing dual-degree programs offer new take on education abroad

As Geneseo continues to raise its academic standards, the ongoing development of dual-degree programs as an initiative to further international education has taken on an important role.

Dual degrees are specially-tailored programs that offer students the opportunity to pursue an education at Geneseo and another university abroad at the same time. Students participating in the program have the opportunity to satisfy degree requirements and receive diplomas from both universities.

The potential benefits of such programs include the development of language skills, the bicultural experience and academic excellence. Thus far, the college has established partnerships with three schools, fulfilling programs in international relations, economics and communication.

Robert Goeckel, professor of political science and international relations, was among a number of faculty and staff responsible for the first few dual-degree programs established with other universities.

"I was involved in the early stages of the dual-degree development," Goeckel said. "I traveled with former SUNY Chancellor Robert King to Mexico City in 2005 to begin the process of discussions with CIDE [Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas] and UDLA [Universidad de las Americas Puebla]."

Geneseo has since taken one student from UDLA, due in large part to the efforts of political-science professor Jeffrey Koch, who negotiated most of the details. Koch traveled to Mexico three times to meet with students, faculty and staff at the university, meeting various officials and hosting the chair of their international relations department.

The UDLA student did not respond to interview requests.

"The student from America would attain an extremely strong grounding in Latin American Studies, as well as the benefits of Geneseo's rigorous liberal arts program," Koch said. "A student from Mexico would also receive the benefits of Geneseo's liberal-arts program, as well as UDLA's strong program in Latin America and a good understanding of American politics."

As a former professor in the faculty of foreign languages at Moscow State University, Goeckel was also instrumental in the early development of this second dual-degree program.

In the latest development among Geneseo's dual-degree endeavors, sophomore Jim Kuras is currently studying at Haceteppe University in Ankara, Turkey. (He did not respond to interview requests.) Goeckel visited the university in a 2005 provost-led delegation and hopes Geneseo will arrange a dual-degree program in international relations.

For more details about the dual-degree programs at Geneseo, including FAQs, costs and application forms, visit