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SUNY Potsdam Business Professor Forms Educational Partnership with University in Portugal

April 1, 2019

International Collaboration Provides Study Abroad Opportunities for SUNY Potsdam Business Students


Dr. Gregory Gardner, a professor in SUNY Potsdam’s Department of Business Administration, has established an academic partnership with the University of Portucalense (UPT) in Porto, Portugal. As part of the exchange, three business students will be able to study at UPT in Portugal next fall with all travel, room and board expenses paid for through a European Union Erasmus Programme grant. The grant-funded exchange will also allow three UPT students to study at SUNY Potsdam.

“UPT received a grant from the European Union Erasmus Programme, which is the program that the EU uses to fund academic mobility,” Gardner said. “Normally their grants and opportunities are only available to Erasmus members. In this case, however, UPT found a specific grant that’s aimed at external mobility, allowing them to collaborate with another university outside the Erasmus system. UPT requested SUNY Potsdam to be their partner.”

The new relationship started when Gardner was teaching in Hungary in 2015 as a Fulbright Scholar. While working there, he met Isabell Vas de Freitas, Head of the Department of Tourism, Heritage, and Culture at UPT, who asked him to submit a paper for their annual International Conference on Tourism Research. Gardner’s paper was accepted, and he presented his research on climate change in northern New York with a focus on water-based tourism.

Gardner just returned to the conference this year, held March 14 and 15 in Porto, Portugal, where he gave the keynote address. Joining him this year was Cara Aguirre ’21, a business student in the Jefferson Community College / SUNY Potsdam jointly enrolled business program; Pamela Griffin, an adjunct professor at SUNY Potsdam; and Dawn Robinson, chair of the business department at JCC.

The three co-authors presented a research paper on how climate change affects the wine industry—something of great interest to the people of Porto, where port wine production is one of their primary economic drivers. Aguirre, Griffin and Robinson were one of 52 groups presenting their research at the conference. “They looked at current models of climate change and what’s predicated, including areas like ours. Then they looked at the likely impact on wine production,” Gardner said. “When the climate changes, the kinds of grapes you can grow and what kinds of wines you can make also changes.”

After the conference, Gardner stayed in Portugal to iron out the details of the partnership with UPT, which will provide study abroad opportunities for students in the JCC / SUNY Potsdam joint business program. There are currently 35 SUNY Potsdam students in the program who have already received their associate degree from JCC and have seamlessly transitioned into their SUNY Potsdam business classes. Another 76 students are enrolled in the first phase of the joint business program, currently taking business classes through JCC with the intention of transitioning to SUNY Potsdam.

For more information about SUNY Potsdam’s Department of Business Administration, visit: www.potsdam.edu/academics/SOEPS/BusinessAdmin

Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 50 colleges—and the oldest institution within SUNY. Now in its third century, SUNY Potsdam is distinguished by a legacy of pioneering programs and educational excellence. The College currently enrolls approximately 3,600 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its challenging liberal arts and sciences core, distinction in teacher training and culture of creativity. To learn more, visit www.potsdam.edu.

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