14:02 PM

Greater Things Strategic Vision Updates: Banner Year for International Scholarly Exchanges

Fall 2022 marked a banner year for international scholarly exchanges to and from UST. 

During that semester, UST hosted six visiting international scholars, one of whom was a Fulbright scholar. According to Associate Vice President for International Relations & Engagement Dr. Hans Stockton, a key element in the Greater Things Strategic Vision is to expand international opportunities for academic programs, faculty and students. 

“One of our goals is to facilitate scholarly exchanges where relationships already exist and create new exchange opportunities by leveraging our growing network of sister universities throughout Europe, the Americas and Asia,” Stockton said.

Fr Gregory Holub JPII Studies Program Hosts International Guest

The John Paul II Studies Program hosted Fr. Gregory Holub, associate professor of Philosophy at the Pontifical University of John Paul II in Krakow, Poland. Fr. Holub’s research areas include the thought of Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II, bioethics and environmental ethics. In addition to conducting a reading group with faculty and graduate students at UST, he conducted research for his next book. 

Director of the John Paul II Studies Program Dr. John Hittinger sees the benefit of such exchanges for future studies abroad to Poland. “One benefit of this relationship is that we have a friendly place to visit with students and faculty when we visit Poland,” Hittinger said. “A new project with the Pontifical University is a collaboration with their Department of Art about transcendence in the arts.”

Prof Leila Abdela Pragmatic Studies Program and McNair Center’s New Collaborative Initiative

In partnership with the Pragmatic Studies Program, the McNair Center for Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship hosted Professor Leila Abdala, Universidad del Norte de Santo Tomás Aquino in Tucuman, Argentina. Abdala specializes in studying and caring for individuals with profound intellectual disabilities (PID). Her visit was part of a new initiative to promote international scholarly exchanges and curricular development to improve our understanding and teaching of PID and entrepreneurship

Dr. Patrick Woock, director of the McNair Center, praises the scholarly exchange such visits produce. “We are very blessed to have Leila visit UST, and her impressive experience and knowledge are a boon to UST and our students. We are looking forward to future collaborations.”

Dr. Yao Yuan Yeh with Fulbright Scholar Selena Liu Fulbright Scholar visits UST’s Mandarin Center and Wenzao U at UST

The Mandarin Center of UST and Wenzao University at UST hosted Fulbright scholar Dr. Su-Miao Selina Liu, senior executive officer in Taiwan’s Ministry of Education. Liu observed the operations and instruction offered by the Mandarin Center and interviewed various higher education officials in Texas about physical and virtual pathways for international student mobility.

“Hosting a Fulbright scholar at UST enhances the reputation and visibility of our university and the Department of International Studies & Modern Languages,” Dr. Yao-Yuan Yeh, chair of the department and director of the Mandarin Center at UST, said. “In May, Nicole Hsiao will complete her second year as a visiting international instructor of Mandarin in the Department of International Studies & Modern Languages. Her teaching gifts have been a blessing to the department and her students.”

Nursing School’s International Guest Explores Mutual Learning of Nursing Programs

The Carol and Odis Peavy School of Nursing hosted Dr. Claudia Lorena Ibarra Gutierrez, national director of Nursing Programs at the Universidad Santo Tomás in Santiago, Chile, for mutual learning of nursing programs in the United States and Chile.  Goals included exploring curricular, enhancement of simulation experiences and mobility opportunities for nursing students and faculty.  

Associate Professor of Nursing Dr. Kristina Leyden praises such exchanges. “It is exciting to build international relationships and these international discussions and partnerships help expand our nurses’ knowledge and promote global health and cultural awareness.”

The Semillero Center Exchanges Virtual Lectures with Argentinian University

The Semillero Center engaged in virtual ‘mirror classes’ with the faculty of Humanities at Universidad FASTA Mar del Plata, Argentina, on the Gospels. The Semillero Center director, Fr. Rosales Dempsey, exchanged virtual lectures with Professor Juan Pablo Saju, who teaches Ethical Anthropology and Sacred Scripture. Saju lectured about his 13 years of work in China, and the virtual platform was ideal. 

According to Fr. Dempsey, “This was an innovative manner of learning the ecclesiology of the letter to the Ephesians through the praxis and experience of the Catholic Church in China.” 

Fr. Dempsey captures the spirit of international education. “We are living blocks of a universal community of faith. Through the international and diverse exchange of knowledge and experiences, we continue to comprehend and articulate the manifold manifestations of God in a multicultural setting,” he said.

UST Faculty Travel Internationally to Build Alliances

In the spring semester, Dr. Cesare Wright attended an international Collaborative Online Learning (COIL) Conference by UST sister school San Pablo CEU University in Madrid, Spain. 

Currently planned for late spring 2023 is an outgoing exchange by a Peavy School of Nursing faculty member to the Universidad Santo Tomás in Chile and the planned visit to Abat Oliba CEU University by Dr. Brian Carl, director of the Center for Thomistic Studies.

Learn how faculty can Pursue International Exchanges

Faculty interested in pursuing international exchanges should contact Dr. Stockton at stockton@stthom.edu. Those preparing to invite visiting international scholars should contact Dora Zhang, director of the Office of International Services & Study Abroad, at yzhang3@stthom.edu.