An NAU education professor is surveying the impact of dual degree programs with U.S. universities and China.

Thomas J. DeStefano, a professor in educational psychology, will research how students are benefiting from Sino-American student dual degree 1+2+1 programs.

Students in 1+2+1 programs attend their home university in China the first year, study at a U.S. university for two years, and then complete a final year at their Chinese university. Students receive dual degrees—one from each university.

After traveling with NAU graduate students in a summer study program on Chinese higher education and visiting several 1+2+1 universities in China , DeStefano decided it was time to “gain insight to the educational and social outcome” for 1+2+1 students.

“The program addresses the culturally unique challenges facing Chinese students in the U.S. and hopes to enhance their educational experience here,” DeStefano said. “American universities are the number one choice of Chinese students seeking a study abroad opportunity.”

He proposed researching the impact of the program to its originators, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the China Center for International Educational Exchange, and received endorsement for his research, including funding to travel to five participating universities in the United States and five in China.

NAU is hosting about 40 students from the 1+2+1 program and graduated its first five last spring.

“Through the years, student development and college impact research in the United States has led to increased student success, so we would like to apply similar research to the 1+2+1 program,” he said. “The results will further our understanding of the Chinese college student adjustment to American higher education systems.”

The 1+2+1 program is the largest student academic program between China and the United States. It is currently serving about 500 students from 65 Chinese universities who have studied on 17 American campuses. To date, 210 students have received dual degrees through the program.