(Aug. 6, 2013) -- Last month, UTSA's global reach focused on Bogota, the thriving eight-million-population capitol metropolis of new U.S. free-trade partner Colombia, and an example of a society emerging successfully from its past drug-crime fueled insecurity. Education and economic development policy were on the agenda for the UTSA delegation, led by President Ricardo Romo.
While UTSA representatives was in Bogota, the Colombian Senate convened an international educational forum for input on best practices to reform its federal education law. UTSA officials were invited to give testimony, sharing UTSA's experiences as a young and highly ranked institution. Times Higher Education ranks UTSA among the top 100 universities in the world under 50 years old.
Accompanying President Romo were Jude Valdez, vice president for community services; Mauli Agrawal, interim vice president for research; Harriett Romo, director of the Mexico Center and the Bank of America Child and Adolescent Policy Research Center (CAPRI); and Robert McKinley, associate vice president for economic development.
U.S. foreign policy in Latin America is recalibrating its approach to find a better balance for security and prosperity interventions. As gains are made to reduce crime and insecurity, the emerging middle class is seeking more opportunities in education and economic development.
UTSA is growing its reputation by addressing issues such as Hispanic higher education attainment, mainstreaming first-generation college students, and building a strong applied research and innovation profile as well as world-class economic development programs. These themes resonate with Latin American universities and governments that want to tap UTSA's experience.
While in Bogota, the UTSA delegation attended the opening event of UTSA's four-month certificate program for Colombian economic development professionals. The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) program will help Colombian small businesses compete in global markets.
Under the U.S. State Department Pathways to Prosperity initiative, UTSA has been engaged to transfer the SBDC methodology and work with economic ministries of 15 Western hemisphere nations to date. These new networks of SBDCs become partners and market distribution channels for Texas and U.S. small businesses to expand trade. In South America, UTSA is engaging with Colombia, Peru and Brazil.
Immediately following opening speeches, the certificate course began, led by the UTSA International Trade Center Director Cliff Paredes, and senior trade specialist Monica Alcoz. Enrollment was 160 in the Bogota course; the following week another 120 enrolled for the course in Cali. UTSA courses scheduled for Medellin and Barranquilla next January are expected to reach 400-500 economic developers across Colombia.
The UTSA delegation also convened with Bogota's Ministry of Education and the ASCUM, Colombia's higher education association, which is similar to the American Council on Education. At the meetings, UTSA's profile and interests were showcased to develop strategic alliances with top Colombian universities. Attracting top Colombian graduate students, faculty and researchers in STEM fields, business and education disciplines was a key focus in addition to developing administrator connections.
On the second day of its trip to Colombia, UTSA officials attended the Senate's International Educational Forum, led by Senator Efrain Torrado, who chairs the education oversight committee of congress (Comision Sexta). The forum welcomed 200 higher education leaders, was nationally televised in Colombia and was positioned as the opening volley for education reform legislation as a priority for this year's Colombian legislature.
At the forum, UTSA offered nearly two hours of testimony on its rapid growth and its goal of becoming a Tier One university through high-quality faculty and programs, research growth and industry collaboration, a modern campus community and student retention and success. Related themes also were presented by the Ministry of Education, the Colombian student financial aid authority, the national collegiate sports agency, and Colombian university rectors and students.
>> To learn more about UTSA's delegation to Colombia, email Robert McKinley.
The annual Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) 100K Venture Competition and Exposition will be held on the Main Campus on Dec. 1. Twenty-eight teams from across the university will exhibit their project; six teams will compete for a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding to launch their new venture / company. More than 650 students have participated in launching new technology ventures.
Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering (BSE 2.102), Main Campus
This concert features 50 community children performing music in the UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert. The children, led by UTSA music students studying to be music teachers, will join together in playing the Theme from Batman at their concert. The Batman of San Antonio, a local celebrity figure, will make an appearance at the concert. This event is free.
Buena Vista Theatre, Downtown Campus
Graduate student uses storytelling to highlight important issues facing children
As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.
At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.
Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.
With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.
Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.