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Latest round of international agreements expands UST global network

(L to R): Dr. Hans Stockton with Ms. Joyce Chu, International Education Center of Fu Jen Catholic University in NovemberIn the last months of 2023, UST inked new international agreements that expanded sister university networks into strategic new locations and institutions. Agreements included flagship Catholic universities in Italy, South Korea, and Taiwan – the first such agreements for UST in Italy and South Korea.  The number of UST’s bilateral agreements now stands at 34 throughout 20 countries, up from 17 agreements in 12 countries at the start of the 2022 Academic Year.

Prompted by the call to Greater Things 2030, UST’s international activities and expansion have accelerated the University’s drive to be a leader in international higher education. Building on the University’s long-time success in undergraduate student exchanges, new agreements have expanded into online student mobilities, graduate student mobilities, graduate degree collaborations, and more reciprocal faculty exchange opportunities.  Strengthening existing international relationships and building new bridges go to the heart of university efforts to be known globally for innovation in Catholic education. 

According to Dr. Hans Stockton, Associate Vice President of International Relations & Engagement, “These activities raise global awareness of UST as a driver of Catholic higher education, and this necessitates the expansion of our network of prominent ecclesiastical universities.”

UST Partners with the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome

Finalized in November, the Memorandum of Understanding for International Cooperation with the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (The Angelicum) in Rome formally signifies the desire for both institutions to subsequently build academic and student bridges. Initial discussions include potential curricular and instructional collaboration with UST’s M.A. program in Theology, semester-long opportunities for study by UST students at the Angelicum, and short-duration group exchange opportunities.

According to Assistant Professor and Director of the M.A. Theology Program Dr. Jon Kirwan, “Collaboration with the Angelicum, one of the global centers of Catholic thought, marks a great moment in the intellectual life at UST. This agreement brings together our faculty and students with those of one of the great universities in Rome, and this will greatly benefit the entire UST community.”

First Sister University in South Korea

A similar MOU signed in December with the Catholic University of Korea in Seoul, South Korea, marks UST’s first formal agreement with a university in that country. The accompanying MOU for Student Exchange will allow Celts to pursue one or two semesters of exchange in South Korea’s capital beginning next year.  Next steps involve connecting academic program leaders to explore curricular and degree program collaborations. Catholic University of Korea is a comprehensive university with a wide array of graduate and undergraduate programs, courses taught in English.

Fu Jen Catholic University Joins UST’s Family of Sister Universities in Taiwan

In December, UST completed an MOU for International Cooperation with Fu Jen Catholic University in New Taipei City, Taiwan.  A comprehensive university and home to the largest Catholic student population in Taiwan, the institution is committed to the integration of Chinese culture and Christian faith, offers a wide array of courses taught in English, and holds AACSB accreditation for business schools.

Dr. Yao-Yuan Yeh, Professor and Chair of the Department of International Studies & Modern Languages, sees this new member of the UST network as a great opportunity for students and faculty on both sides of the Pacific Ocean.  

“It is wonderful to see the maturation of collaboration between the University of St. Thomas-Houston and the prestigious Fu Jen Catholic University,” Dr. Yeh said. “This initiative will help UST to broaden our mission in Catholic higher education and provide opportunities for our students and communities.”