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UST Global Expands with New Sister Universities

UST’s network of sister universities has continued to expand this fall with new partnerships in Poland (Pedagogical University of Krakow), Costa Rica (JPII University in San Jose), and Ukraine (Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv).  Each university offers various opportunities for UST faculty and students to study or teach throughout the world.

UST’s Successful Partnerships Reflect Alignment

According to Associate Vice President for International Relations and Engagement, Dr. Hans Stockton, “Building university partnerships is not simply a numbers game. We need to identify institutions that align with UST’s mission, academic programs, and student and faculty interests.” 

This alignment, Stockton said, accelerates and sustains activities and exchanges over the long term. The number of UST’s sister universities has grown from 17 to 23 this year with locations in Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, England, France, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Spain, and Taiwan — and more in development.

Collaborating with Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv

Stemming from the efforts of UST’s CFO Spencer Conroy during the 2022 meeting of the International Federation of Catholic Universities, UST has finalized an MOU for international cooperation with the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU) in Lviv. Conroy is passionate about this initiative and notes, “Given the horrors of war brought upon the Ukrainian people, we are called to provide some respite and normalcy for the students that our community can help.”

Securing Grant and Philanthropic Support

Associate Vice President for International Relations and Engagement, Dr. Hans Stockton and Consul General of Ukraine Vitelii TarasiukEfforts are currently underway to secure grant and philanthropic support to fully fund several UCU students for up to two semesters at UST.  Stockton recently met with the Consul General of Ukraine in Houston, Mr. Vitalii Tarasiuk, to begin discussions about facilitating this project. Dr. Tom Behr, Division Dean of Social and Behavioral Sciences & Global Studies, has engaged with UCU faculty on ways to create integrated liberal arts graduate curriculum. He plans a virtual symposium with faculty from UCU and UST to discuss the importance and challenges to liberal arts education. 

Collaborating with Pedagogical University of Krakow

Thanks to years of groundwork by Dr. John Hittinger, Director of the JPII Institute and the Polish Studies Program, UST finalized am MOU for international cooperation and academic exchange with the Pedagogical University of Krakow (PUK). The PUK is home to a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs and twenty institutes specializing in areas such as mathematics, education, psychology, and law. Dr. Hittinger plans to incorporate visits to the PUK into his Poland study abroad classes and is also working with their art historians on a project about transcendence in the arts. Additional university partnerships in Krakow and Gdansk are in process.

Collaborating with JPII University in Costa Rica

Dr. Hans Stockton addresses group at MOU signing with UJPII of Costa RicaThe third new partnership was signed with JPII University (UJPII) in San Jose, Costa Rica. UJPII is a new university established by Movement for Christian Life, a community with deep roots in Peru and that excels at online education. This partnership will encompass student exchanges, hybrid double degree programs, and plans to host a UST group on their campus in 2023 or 2024. Of additional interest to UJPII is UST’s “Formation for Mission” workshops developed by Dr. George Harne, Executive Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences.

Invaluable Global Community Experience for Students

Study abroad for one or two semesters at sister universities provides undergraduate students the benefit of being considered “in residence” at UST.  Students do not pay tuition or fees to the host university in most cases and thus may use their financial aid and scholarships, transfer their credits and grades back to UST, and have confidence that all pre-approved courses taken at the sister school will count toward forward progress in the completion of their degrees at UST. For more information, contact Study Abroad Advisor Andrea at studyabroad@stthom.edu or visit the Office of International Services & Study Abroad in Crooker Center, room 214.