American Academy Growing in Brazil, Poised to Bring Students to Kent State
This article has been updated to reflect a new timeline on the Brazillian students' visit.
Kent State University’s American Academy program in Curitiba, Brazil, has seen an exciting first year, and is poised to bring many Brazilian students to the Kent campus beginning in Fall 2020 to continue their studies.
The American Academy was created in May 2018, when Kent State University partnered with Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná (PUCPR) in Brazil, for a one-of-a-kind program that allows PUCPR students to receive an American degree without leaving Brazil.
The American Academy is a two-year, dual-enrollment program. Upon completion, students will earn an Associate of Science degree from Kent State. Students then decide if they want to finish their four-year degree at Kent State or at PUCPR in Brazil.\
There are 26 majors that Kent State guarantees can be completed in two years following completion of the two years at the American Academy, according to Edward Butch, senior director of the office of Academic Recruitment and Retention.
After completing the first two years of undergraduate course work in Brazil, students can then come to Kent State ready to take their upper division requirements towards their bachelor’s degree.
“Most of these students are telling us they want to come to Kent to complete their degrees after finishing the American Academy – since that is optional, this is really good news for Kent State,” said Leslie Bowser, senior global program advisor in the Office of Global Education.
The American Academy, which began its second semester on Feb. 26, is showing significant enrollment growth.
“We are excited to share that the total enrollment is now 49 students, 15 continuing students who started last semester, plus 34 new students this semester, which means the program has tripled in size after only one semester,” Ms. Bowser said.
She said PUCPR is benefiting from the program, too. The academy has gained widespread attention across Brazil, and the partnership has helped PUCPR in achieving its goal of internationalizing its curriculum.
“Everything is done in English, which is part of the experience for them. It’s all Kent State faculty going down to teach there,” Mr. Butch explained. He has been to Brazil twice and teaches the first year experience course for American Academy students.
The American Academy already has grown significantly due to word of mouth, and officials expect to see continued growth each year.
“With this new cohort, we have students from all over Brazil, so word is making its way around. We are already starting to expand, we’d love to spread across all of South America,” Mr. Butch said.
He explained that initially students are hesitant to speak and participate in classes. “I usually show a documentary about May 4 on the third day, and after that they are a lot more comfortable speaking in class,” he said.
Kent State faculty and domestic Kent State students also are benefiting from the partnership.
“For example, the sociology professor who taught in Brazil last semester held a book review discussion with students in both countries via an online video conference,” Ms. Bowser said. “In addition, we are piloting a new Study Abroad option at the American Academy campus -- several students from our College of Business will spend three weeks in Curitiba this June taking one of the American Academy courses alongside the Brazilian KSU students.”
“Ideally we want to see some growth for it, eventually we’d like to see a couple hundred students in the American Academy at one time. There is definite interest there,” said Mr. Butch.
For more information about the partnership, visit: www.kent.edu/einside/news/kent-state-and-brazil’s-pontifical-catholic-university-paraná-partner-launch-american.