Kent State and Brazil’s Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná Partner to Launch the American Academy
Matheus Priosti came a long way to find his purpose. Five thousand miles, in fact.
The São Paulo, Brazil, native made the long journey from South America across the equator to arrive at Kent State University in August 2016, and he has never looked back.
“Kent State has had a huge role on me finding my identity and passion,” says Mr. Priosti, a sophomore biology student concentrating in pre-medicine. “What has most helped me identify my passion is trying – trying every opportunity and learning from your mistakes. And I feel that Kent State University is excellent at this aspect.”
Now, more students from Brazil will enjoy the Kent State experience as two universities from separate hemispheres have come together to offer an exciting new opportunity for students seeking an American college degree from Kent State. The American Academy is a new partnership between Kent State and Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná (PUCPR), a major university in Brazil, for students who want a global experience while earning their degree.
The presidents of the two universities formally signed the agreement in a special ceremony at Kent State on May 3, 2018.
“Kent State is committed to making a difference – in our community, in our region and around the globe,” says Kent State President Beverly J. Warren. “It’s wonderful to work with PUCPR, an institution that shares our passion for life-changing educational experiences. Through our strategic partnership with PUCPR, we’re excited to help these talented students from Brazil discover their purpose and apply their passion to make a global difference.”
For the first two years of studies, students will experience U.S.-style education, taking Kent State classes taught in English by Kent State faculty members at PUCPR’s Curitiba Campus. At the end of those first two years, students will earn an Associate of Science degree issued by Kent State and then can choose which career to pursue and where to finish their studies: in the United States at Kent State or in Brazil at PUCPR. At the end of their studies, and according to their choices, they will receive a Kent State degree, a PUCPR bachelor’s degree or a double degree.
The American Academy will begin educating students in July 2018. Coursework for four semesters is taught in three- to four-week modules, depending upon the semester credit hour of the course. Students will be admitted to both Kent State and PUCPR.
“This program is unique because it blends the best of educational practices across two hemispheres,” says Todd Diacon, executive vice president and provost at Kent State. “A liberal arts education is largely unknown in South America, as students must commit to a narrow program of study as entering freshmen. The American Academy allows students to explore across the humanities, social sciences and sciences, just like U.S. students are able to do.”
The American Academy will offer 18 degree programs and five concentrations students can choose that can be completed in four years, and students will have the opportunity to explore more than 300 Kent State programs. Once students transition to Kent State, they already will be experienced in Kent State ways and will be positioned to successfully complete their degree.
Provost Diacon also mentioned that Kent State is working on a summer program after the first year so students can come to Kent, Ohio, see the university, meet other students and learn more about culture and opportunities in the area.
The American Academy is the latest initiative between Kent State and PUCPR. The two universities have enjoyed an active partnership since 2012. The universities have collaborated on several programs, including Kent State’s International Storytelling course, student and faculty exchanges, and the Mission: Life program. In March 2016, Kent State and PUCPR formally recognized their elevated relationship as strategic partners with a signing ceremony on the Kent Campus.
All of this is great news for Mr. Priosti, who has dreamed of studying in the United States since he was 11 years old, eventually choosing Kent State because of the quality of education and the experience. With the American Academy, more of his fellow Brazilians will have the opportunity to pursue an American college degree closer to home and then finish their studies in the United States at Kent State.
“I know that in Brazil, an American degree is very valuable depending on the area you want to study,” Mr. Priosti says. “However, the value of this choice I made to come here is definitely changing throughout time because of the variety of experiences I’m gaining here. Although American degrees are valuable in Brazil, the amount of growth as a human being and experience I’m having is much more valuable to me.”