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UST Partnership in Puebla, Mexico, Flourishes

(L to R) Dr. Hans Stockton, Dr. Mark Amelang, Dr. Vinita Ramaswamy, Mr. Andres Barba V, and Mr. Alejandro Aizpuru KurezynIn ongoing efforts to deepen sister university relationships in Mexico, the University of Saint Thomas-Houston received a visit from representatives of the Popular Autonomous University of the State of Puebla (UPAEP) in Puebla, Mexico, on February 12. On a mission to learn more about UST and collaboration opportunities with UPAEP were Mr. Andres Barba V, Vice President of Outreach and International Affairs, and Mr. Alejandro Aizpuru Kurezyn, Executive Director of UPAEP’s USA Office.

A comprehensive university with a strong Catholic mission and over 13,000 undergraduate and graduate students, UPAEP is committed to “creating currents of thought and training leaders to transform society in the search for Truth, integrating faith, science, and life.” Of particular interest to UPAEP are UST’s graduate programs in business, data science, and the Semillero Center.

Success—Another Graduate Transfer Pathway Agreement

UPAEP's VP of Outreach and International Affairs Mr. Andres Barba V and UST VP for Academic and Student Affairs Dr. Christopher Evans sign MOU for Graduate Transfer PathwayFront and center for the visit was the signing of UST’s third Graduate Transfer Pathway Agreement with a foreign sister university. These agreements facilitate the transfer of a student at the sister institution after their first year of study in their home degree. These students pursue the UST master’s degree for one year and return home to finish their home degree. Such agreements spur interaction between students and faculty at each university and raise UST’s visibility in Mexico’s higher education sector. Dr. Cristopher Evans, Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, greeted the visitors upon arrival and signed the new Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of UST.

Areas of Alignment: Business, Data Science, & Semillero Center

After meeting with Dr. Evans, Mr. Barba and Mr. Aizpuru next visited Dr. Vinita Ramaswamy, Associate Dean of the Cameron School of Business (CSB), and Dr. Mark Amelang, Director of the MBA Program, to discuss areas of alignment between the two university’s business programs and the design of an articulation agreement for the transfer of courses from UPAEP.

Dr. Ramaswamy was pleased with this first meeting and said, “The meeting with UPAEP marked an important milestone in the CSB strategic goal of exploring and building global partnerships in support of Greater Things 2030.  We discussed the pathway initiative, student and faculty exchange opportunities, and are looking forward to strengthening our ties with UPAEP.”

The UPAEP visitors next met with Dr. Jack Follis, Associate Professor and Chair of Mathematics and Computer Science and director of the MS Data Science Program. Through UST’s MS Data Science curriculum, UPAEP students in the MS Data Science and Business Intelligence would be able to deepen their background in data science technology and techniques.

Concluding the visit, Mr. Barba and Mr. Aizpuru spoke with Fr. Dempsey Rosales Acosta, Associate Professor of Theology and Director of the Semillero Center. Discussions turned to aligning possible collaborations between the Semillero Center MA in Pastoral Theology and UPAEP’s MA in Christian Social Leadership and Pastoral Innovation. When finalized, this collaboration would mark the second international partnership between the Semillero Center and universities in Mexico.

In addition to undergraduate and graduate student mobility opportunities and curricular exchange, UPAEP is eager to engage UST faculty in teaching mobilities. Each year, UPAEP solicits faculty from sister universities to teach a wide range of subjects at their Puebla campus. These visiting scholars receive generous financial support for travel, accommodation, and teaching. 

Making Headway on a UST Key Calling

Leveraging UST’s international partnerships is a key calling in the Greater Things 2030 strategic vision.  Sister university agreements with foreign institutions provide study abroad opportunities for students, research exchanges for faculty, and further internationalizes UST’s student body.  Central to all such relationships is heeding the Church’s call to engage the cultures of the world through scientific and cultural exchanges. For more information, please contact Dr. Hans Stockton, Associate Vice President for International Relations & Engagement at stockth@stthom.edu.