June 21, 2017

Francesca Cichello Named Executive Director of International Education

Retired International Programs Faculty Member Richard Bonnabeau and Francesca Cichello, executive director of international education.
Now retired International Programs faculty member Richard Bonnabeau joins Francesca Cichello in Turkey.

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – June 21, 2017) SUNY Empire State College today announces the appointment of Francesca A. Cichello as executive director of international education.

A new position, SUNY Empire’s executive director of international education also serves as the college’s senior international officer and oversees the college’s Center for International Programs.

As part of her overall responsibilities, Cichello is liaison to the SUNY Office of Global Affairs and leads the college’s ongoing efforts with the SUNY Center for Collaborative Online International Learning (SUNY COIL).

As a member of its founding advisory board, Cichello will play a critical role in advancing the goals of the SUNY-UWI (University of the West Indies) Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development, at the college’s Manhattan location.

“We look forward to Francesca's leadership in expanding our programs overseas, building new international enrollments and strengthening our existing partnerships, while working closely with SUNY Global and supporting a culture of international education across the college,” said Merodie A. Hancock, president of the college.

Cichello’s collegewide responsibilities include:

  • leading the ongoing development of new international partners
  • strengthening existing partnerships
  • collaborating with college faculty and academic leaders to internationalize the college’s curriculum
  • expanding field studies, both college-supported and with other SUNY campuses, and other study abroad opportunities for working, adult students
  • fostering greater international faculty exchange.

“Leading SUNY Empire in this next chapter in international education provides a tremendous opportunity to extend our reach, while providing access to academically rich, intercultural exchanges for our New York state-based students,” said Cichello. “The confidence placed in me by President Hancock, Vice Provost Mackey and the search committee is both gratifying and humbling. I look forward to collaborating with colleagues within the college, across SUNY and around the globe to draw attention to the uniquely student-centered SUNY Empire approach to learning.”

Cichello’s appointment is the result of a national search.

“Francesca’s leadership as executive director of international education will take the college to a new level of prominence globally as we expand our existing academic programs and seek new international opportunities for our students and faculty,” said Tom Mackey, the college’s vice provost for academic programs, who chaired the search committee.

Mackey added that the new position of executive director reflects the college’s commitment to leveraging international education as one of the college’s core strengths, which will lead to significantly enhanced innovative international programming, through greater student and faculty learning opportunities, strengthened relationships and new partnerships within the SUNY system and internationally.

Cichello will chair the college’s International Education Council, a collegewide cross-functional team.

As chair, Cichello will work with council members to increase academic program quality and outcomes assessment, enhance international student services and academic supports, as well as foster international academic program development and expansion.

Cichello said, “These developments reinforce SUNY Empire State College’s commitment to leveraging teaching collaborations and partnerships established over the past 45 years, as the college moves into the next phase of institutional internationalization.”

About Francesca Cichello

Cichello began working in the college’s Office of International Programs in 2006 as coordinator of student services.

After the announcement in 2016 of the retirement of Gavin Lowder, who had led international programs since 2004, she was appointed interim director.

Cichello earned a B.A. degree with a concentration in literary criticism at Skidmore College and a Master of Arts in Teaching at Union Graduate College, now a part of Clarkson University’s Graduate School.

Raised in a tri-lingual home, Cichello’s early interest in language and intercultural exchange has been foundational to a career devoted to international education.

Her research interests include the internationalization of higher education and the examination of American education within the global context.

For more than a decade, Cichello has worked with students, faculty and partners across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America.

Blending international distance learning and classroom-based instruction are particular areas of expertise. With the support of an Innovative Instructional Technology Grant (IITG), Cichello developed the first hybrid, SUNY COIL field-study course, within the 64-campus system.

Cichello and her husband, Adam Daily, reside in Fort Miller, N.Y., with their son, Roman.

About SUNY Empire State College Center for International Programs

The Center for International Programs is a vehicle to fulfill an important aspect of the mission of the college: making education accessible to those beyond U.S. borders.

The center primarily serves undergraduate students. Degrees earned abroad are identical to those earned in the United States.

Students engage in classroom-based instruction in Athens and Thessaloniki, Greece, Prague, the Czech Republic and Tirana, Albania. Onsite Empire State College offices serve students studying in these cities.

The Turkey Program, Lebanon Residency Program and the Dominican Republic Program combine short-term residencies with online learning.

In accordance with the college's core philosophy, faculty mentors work closely with students to develop degree plans, choose courses and complete learning contracts.

The Center for International Programs draws faculty from across the college, as well as from other institutions, when necessary.

Local faculty provide academic support at sites abroad. Experienced SUNY Empire professors provide personalized academic support and degree planning services to all students.

About SUNY Empire State College

Empire State College, the nontraditional, open college of the SUNY system yearly, educates nearly 19,000 students worldwide at eight international sites, more than 30 locations across the state of New York, online, as well as face to face and through a blend of both, at the associate, bachelor’s and master’s levels.

The average age of an undergraduate student at the college is 35 and graduate students’ average age is 40.

Most Empire State College students are working adults. Many are raising families and meeting civic commitments in the communities where they live, while studying part time.

In addition to awarding credit for prior college-level learning, the college pairs each undergraduate student with a faculty mentor who supports that student throughout his or her college career.

Working with their mentors, students design an individual degree program and engage in guided independent study and coursework on site, online or through a combination of both, which provides the flexibility for students to choose where, when and how to learn.

The college’s 78,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more.

The college was first established in 1971 by the SUNY Board of Trustees with the encouragement of the late Ernest L. Boyer, chancellor of the SUNY system from 1970 to 1977. Boyer also served as United States commissioner of education during the administration of President Jimmy Carter and then as president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

More information about the college is available at www.esc.edu.