A Capacity Building Partnership for International Education between Universidad Santa María la Antigua and the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
Universidad Santa María la Antigua proposed to increase its capacity for international exchange by building upon an existing relationship with the University of Arkansas and creating a strong, bilateral partnership that would provide a sustainable model for future engagement with other U.S. partners. The one-year grant was used essentially for training and the establishment of an action plan. Grant funds were used primarily to support staff in the International Relations Office at USMA to develop practices and procedures that sustain strong relationships with multiple U.S. partner institutions. The immediate goal of the faculty exchange between USMA and UA was to help key international education staff from each institution to better understand the institutional culture, organizational strengths and challenges, student support systems, faculty and student expectations regarding study abroad, policies and procedures, and other aspects of the partner institution. One of the main achievements of the project was the increased and better understanding of the U.S. higher institution system gained by the visitors to the USMA. The detailed and exhaustive agenda prepared by the UArk Director of Study Abroad, Dede Long, and the active participation of several schools and departments interested in furthering exchanges with USMA served as an eye opener for the visitors who received in-depth explanations of the inter-relationships, linkages, and responsibilities pertaining to the different units involved or interested in international education. USMA was able to engage four (4) HEIs during this project’s timeframe, as well as sent three groups of 15 students southbound (15 projected). In conjunction with other HEIs, USMA has also developed three new study abroad models to engage students in LAC and the U.S. (1 model projected).