SUNY joins UCosmic Consortium to coordinate international data

On Jan. 6, the State University of New York and the University of Cincinnati announced that they will be working together to expand the UCosmic Consortium.

UCosmic is a comprehensive database for managing international data. Essentially, UCosmic allows a university to collect and access data on an international scale.

Ron Cushing, director of the University of Cincinnati's international services, explained that before UCosmic, most universities had no inclusive system on international data at all. "There was no way to keep track of faculty who were doing research or who had studied overseas, which students came from which universities, agreements we had with other universities and study abroad programs and destinations," he said. "UCosmic has helped us to create a broader international strategy and increase recruitment efforts at key institutions."

UCosmic was founded in 2006 by Mitch Leventhal, then vice provost for university affairs at Cincinnati. "We created UCosmic to give us a snapshot of a country's relationship with the university," Leventhal said. "UCosmic allows us to pull data from many different sources and consolidate it to present it meaningfully."

In late 2009 Leventhal left Cincinnati to become the vice chancellor for global affairs at SUNY. Now, a little over a year later, the SUNY system and Cincinnati have reached an agreement to create the UCosmic Consortium, which will allow any interested university to pay a fee and join the ongoing project. The Consortium's goal is to adapt the original software code and make it available for other universities to use and improve.

"We have the largest university system in the world, with 64 campuses and over 460,000 students," said Leventhal of the SUNY system. "UCosmic gives us the opportunity to figure out where our strengths are and to do more as a system."

"UCosmic will help Geneseo and the SUNY system facilitate collaboration between colleges on international affairs," said Becky Lewis, assistant provost for international programs. "It will allow partnerships through research with faculty in other countries and create new study abroad opportunities."

Geneseo is currently in the process of collecting data on faculty who have studied and conducted research overseas. The survey is not yet complete, but is anticipated to help organize this vital information for the college's use.

In addition to the SUNY system and Cincinnati, seven other universities and institutions have agreed to join the Consortium. UCosmic is expected to be ready for use by early 2012.