UTPA establishes partnership with Mexico university
Posted: 02/01/2006
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Students and faculty from The University of Texas-Pan American will share in an exchange of ideas and culture thanks to the signing of an Academic Agreement of Cooperation with the Universidad Valle del Bravo, a University system in Mexico.

Pictured left to right are Dr. Blandina Cárdenas, UTPA president; Dr. Rodolfo Arévalo, UTPA provost/vice president for Academic Affairs; and Bertha Gastélum, Universidad Valle del Bravo rectora ejecutiva.
The agreement was made official with a signing ceremony Jan. 23 at the UTPA Visitors Center. Dr. Blandina Cárdenas, UTPA president and Bertha Gastélum, rectora ejecutiva, Universidad Valle del Bravo, inked a cooperative partnership to promote teaching and research activities as well as deepen the understanding of the economic, cultural and social issues of each institution.

"We come together to formalize una amistad - a friendship - that will benefit our students, our faculty and, most importantly, our communities on both sides of our borders," Cárdenas said. "This initiative will allow us to collaborate on research projects, and we will also bring together expertise and resources that can ultimately impact the quality of lives for all who live along our border region."

Through this agreement faculty and staff will participate in research and professional development, and student exchanges for study and research will also be possible.

Gastélum said she is looking forward to the collaborations the two institutions will create and hopes the partnership will last a lifetime.

"We can make a lot of collaborative initiatives for both sides of the border, especially since this area is growing extremely fast. We are very excited about this agreement, and we are willing to do any kind of research they are open for," Gastélum said.

Gastélum said she would like to see research start in the following areas: social, public health, dengue fever, and immigration.

Both universities want to provide exchange opportunities for students such as weekend courses and summer sessions where students will be able to live on campus and study a particular field of interest at the respective institutions. In addition, this agreement will allow both higher education institutions the opportunity to partner during conferences, symposia, and research meetings as well as establish continuing education programs.

Administrators from the Universidad Valle del Bravo, which has its main campus in Reynosa, Tamuilipas, toured the UTPA campus and met with representatives from the departments of English, modern languages, sociology and the Office of International Programs before and after the signing.

The Universidad Valle del Bravo, which has nine campuses in Mexico, is also a partner with the IC2 Institute at The University of Texas at Austin where a Spanish-language version of UT's EnterTech e-learning program is being used to help provide critical job and life skills to individuals in Mexico and the United States who want to succeed in their work.

This agreement of cooperation, adds to the already growing international collaborations UTPA has acquired over the years. To date, UTPA has more than 40 agreements with countries in Chile, Korea, Turkey, Spain, France, Columbia, Canada, and Germany.

"We are able to bring the world to our students through the wonderful faculty that we have, and indeed it is clear our students and the students in Valle del Bravo need it too - to have that global perspective and to feel comfortable with people from throughout the world," Cárdenas said.