February 17, 2012

SUNY Empire State College President Alan R. Davis Statement on the College’s International Program with University of New York Tirana

Important background about the program follows the president’s statement

“I am proud of the program we offer at Tirana, at six other international locations, at more than 35 locations in New York state and online everywhere. 

“Our students earn their diplomas through a rigorous academic program and are well prepared to meet the demands of the global economy or to pursue an academic career. Faculty challenge our students and insist on the attainment of high standards.

“At Tirana, the quality of Empire State College’s international programs is assured in many ways, including through an on-site review by a team of senior faculty conducted every semester. 

“The curriculum is reviewed by both the college’s International Programs’ Curriculum Committee and the college’s Assessment Committee.

“Faculty teaching the college’s courses are reviewed and approved by us and the college has significant input in all faculty hiring by UNYT, so instructional quality is also assured.

“In fact, all of the college’s academic endeavors are also subject to SUNY policy and the college is fully accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

“Anyone with further questions may email me at president@esc.edu or the college’s Vice Provost for Academic Standards Marjorie Lavin at Marjorie.Lavin@esc.edu."

About SUNY Empire State College’s International Program at UNYT

The State University of New York Empire State College international program offered in conjunction with the University of New York Tirana is the only bachelor’s program in Albania where the language of instruction is English.

The partnership offers Albanian students the chance to earn dual degrees – one from the UNYT and one from SUNY. The student studies the UNYT curriculum for the first three years of enrollment, earning 96 credits, and then enrolls in Empire State College classes in the fourth year of study, to earn the additional 32 credits needed for a bachelor’s degree.

The college first offered this program in the summer of 2005 at the request of Elias Foutsis, founder of UNYT, and Dr. Gramoz Pashko, UNYT provost, who together sought a bachelor’s program for Albania delivered in English, with the curricular content and pedagogy common in American colleges and universities.

Enrollment in the program for the year beginning with the fall 2011 semester was 111 students.

SUNY Empire State College Oversight and Academic Quality Assurance

SUNY Empire State College ensures the quality of the instruction and curriculum of our international programs through review by the International Programs’ Curriculum Committee and the college’s Assessment Committee. 

The program curriculum adheres to the SUNY general education requirements and Empire State College’s areas of study standards. 

The college employs a regional coordinator in Prague and an on-site coordinator in Tirana, and the two communicate on a daily basis. The regional coordinator in Prague, who is also a full-time faculty member, travels to Tirana twice a year, at a minimum, with a faculty team and otherwise on an as-needed basis.  On their semi-annual visits, the regional coordinator and two other senior faculty members of Empire State College review the curriculum.  While on site, the team also meets with students to help them shape their educational programs and solve any academic problems they may be encountering. They sit in on classroom instructions, and meet with faculty, principal administrators, the Tirana managing director, its provost and others as necessary.

 This team makes recommendations for any changes or enhancements necessary to ensure academic rigor after substantive discussions with UNYT on curriculum.  It also reviews each student’s degree-program rationale to ensure his or her course of study is moving in the right direction to meet education goals.

 All these measures, taken together, help students make a smooth transition into their fourth year of study to earn their dual SUNY and UNYT degrees.

Faculty Hiring

Empire State College has significant input into faculty hiring decisions, not just for those teaching in the Empire State College portion of the program, but also for those teaching courses for the Tirana program.

This review and approval of new faculty and the ongoing consultative process with current faculty during the on-site review each semester ensure quality of instruction.


SUNY Empire State College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. UNYT is accredited by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Albania.

The Middle States evaluation team reviews the college’s International Programs offerings as part of its overall review of the college. UNYT is listed by Middle States as an “other instructional site.”

Program Costs

The cost for a student who seeks dual degrees from Empire State College and UNYT averages $8,175 per year in tuition and $165 in fees.

Fees include a $365 one-time fee for application and portfolio assessment, plus a $100 per term technology fee. 

About SUNY Empire State College

SUNY Empire State College was established in 1971 to offer adult learners the opportunity to earn associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the State University of New York.

In addition to awarding credit for prior college-level learning, the college educates through guided independent study with a faculty mentor, onsite, online or a combination, which provides the flexibility for students to learn at the time, place and pace of their choosing.

The college serves more than 20,000 students worldwide at more than 35 locations in New York state and online. Its 63,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more.

For additional information, visit www.esc.edu.



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