Appalachian State Establishes Dual Degree Program with Burapha University’s International College in Thailand

Published Thursday, July 19, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Representatives from Appalachian State University and Burapha University’s International College in Thailand have entered into a partnership in which students at the International College will take their first two years of coursework in Thailand and complete their junior and senior year at Appalachian. The students will graduate with degrees from both institutions. Representing Appalachian were Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Lori S. Gonzalez, left, and Dr. Jesse Lutabingwa, associate vice chancellor for international education and development. Representatives from Burapha University were Professor Suchart Upatham, advisor to the president and former Burapha University president, Professor Sompol Pongthai, president of the university; and Dr. Rana Pongruengphant, dean of the International College. Photo by Marie Freemen

July 19, 2012. Appalachian State University has expanded its engagement with Thailand by establishing a 2+2 articulation agreement with Burapha University’s International College (BUUIC) located in Bangsaen City in the Province of Chonburi.

Officially launched on June 11, the 2+2 program will enable the Thai students to study for two years at BUUIC and then transfer to Appalachian for their last two years of education. The students will graduate with Appalachian and BUIC degrees. 

The official signing of the articulation agreement took place at Appalachian with the following individuals representing Burapha University: Professor Sompol Pongthai, president of the university; Professor Suchart Upatham, advisor to the president and former university president; Dr. Rana Pongruengphant, dean of the International College; and Dr. Kumutinee Jaroenrat, assistant dean for academic affairs in the International College. 

“This is a win-win project for all involved,” said Dr. Jesse Lutabingwa, associate vice chancellor for international education and development at Appalachian. “The program will enable Appalachian to increase its international student population on campus at the junior and senior levels, helping the university to achieve one of its strategic plan goals. BUUIC will expand its offerings beyond what currently is being offered in Chonburi. Lastly, the students will graduate with U.S. and Thai degrees, thus making them more attractive to employers in Thailand and other Association of South East Asian Nations.”

This is the second international 2+2 articulation agreement for Appalachian.  The first 2+2 articulation agreement was launched in February 2012 with Duy Tan University in Danang, Vietnam. 

Yuki Okoshi, a third-year management student at BUUIC, left, learns about educational opportunities at Appalachian State University from Dr. Jesse Lutabingwa who directs Appalachian’s international education office. She plans to attend Appalachian during the spring 2013 semester. Photo courtesy of Burapha University’s International College

The Thai students will pay Appalachian’s out-of-state tuition and fees.  However, because they are transferring to Appalachian as juniors, they will receive their U.S. degrees at a very reasonable cost. Many students at BUUIC are excited about the opportunity to come and study at Appalachian, according to Lutabingwa who visited BUUIC in June to discuss the program with faculty, students and parents. 

Fifty-four freshmen attended an information session conducted by Lutabingwa at Burapha University to provide more information on the 2+2 track at BUUIC.  “About 10 of these 54 students will transfer to Appalachian in the fall of 2014,” Lutabingwa said.  The Thai students will pursue various majors at Appalachian, even though most of them are interested in business, social sciences, and fine and applied arts degree offerings, he said.

Beginning with the 2012 fall semester, BUUIC students will enroll in a special curriculum designed to meet Appalachian’s general education requirements. The Thai students will take almost all of their general education courses at BUUIC. 

BUUIC officials and faculty say they are excited about the expanded opportunities that the 2+2 program will provide to their students.

In June 2010, Appalachian signed a memorandum of agreement with Burapha University to exchange students and faculty and explore other academic collaboration. Under this agreement, two Appalachian students have studied at BUUIC for a semester and 13 students have been hosted there for two weeks through a faculty-led program with Dr. Benjamin C. Powell, a faculty member in the Walker College of Business.

CUTLINE THREE: Dr. Jesse Lutabingwa from Appalachian State University talks with students at Burapha University’s International College (BUUIC) about the universities 2+2 program in which students at BUUIC can complete their junior and senior years at Appalachian and graduate with degrees from both institutions. Lutabingwa is associate vice chancellor for international education and development at Appalachian. Photo courtesy of Burapha University’s International College

Three BUUIC students have also studied at Appalachian for a semester.  One Thai student from BUUIC will study at Appalachian during the spring 2013 semester.  Additionally, BUUIC will participant in a new “Global Understanding” Freshmen Seminar course which will be offered on their campus this fall.

Burapha University is positioning itself to be a key player in educating students from the Association of South East Asian Nations when it opens in 2015.  Already, there are students from Cambodia, Vietnam, Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore and Laos who are studying at BUUIC.  “This makes the 2+2 articulation agreement with BUUIC even more important as Appalachian will be able to increase the diversity of its international student body,” said Lutabingwa.

Established in 1955, Burapha University is one of Thailand’s major public universities with more than 50,000 undergraduate and graduate students.  The university is located in the coastal town of Bangsaen, Chonburi Province.

The International College was established in 2003 to offer undergraduate degree programs in humanities and social sciences. There are about 900 students from more than 20 countries around the world studying at BUUIC. More than 40 percent are international students, most of them coming from mainland China.  BUUIC students benefit from an international, cross-cultural learning environment where English is used as a medium of instruction for all courses.

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