EDINBURG, RGV – UT-Rio Grande Valley is looking at setting up a couple of recruiting offices across the border as it expands its outreach into Mexico.

The day after signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Instituto Tecnológico de Matamoros, UTRGV President Guy Bailey told the Rio Grande Guardian he will be meeting with Matamoros Mayor Jesús de la Garza Díaz del Guante within the next few weeks. Brownsville Mayor Tony Martinez helped set up the meeting.

“We are going to expand our outreach into Mexico. We are going to begin some systematic recruiting across the border. We may even set up a recruiting office or two across the border,” Bailey said. “Tamaulipas is a natural recruiting area for us, just Edinburg and McAllen are natural recruiting areas.”

Bailey said he is excited about the prospect of UTRGV having more students from Matamoros and other border cities in Mexico.

“Think about Brownsville and Matamoros. It is really one city divided by a river and the border. A partnership there is especially important. People in Brownsville have roots in Matamoros and vice versa. It is important to maintain those relationships. It enables us to partner with our sister institution there to do research projects, faculty exchanges, a variety of things.”

Bailey said he has experience coordinating collaborations with foreign universities.

Twenty-seven years ago, when I was an English Department chair at Oklahoma State, we had a joint Teaching English as a Second Language program with Monterrey Tech. What that did was help me understand the importance, the viability and the possibility of these kinds of joint programs with international partners. We hope to replicate a lot of that,” Bailey said.

“At Texas Tech, also, we did a lot of that. We were looking at setting up a campus near Mexico City. We can do a lot more in Mexico, more than many others. We have such a significant part of our faculty and staff who are bilingual.”

Bailey said recruiting more students from Mexico ties in with UTRGV’s stated goal of becoming a “B3” institution – one that is truly Bilingual, Bicultural and Biliterate. To help make that happen the university has set up the B3 Institute.

“Just as we are looking to expand up towards San Antonio, Laredo and Corpus Christi, we will expand our recruiting in Mexico,” Bailey said.

Bailey’s announcement that UTRGV is looking to expand into Mexico comes at a time when the number of international students enrolled at the college has decreased. Bailey said this is a national trend.

“I think students from abroad feel they are not wanted or appreciated in the United States. That is a false perception. I do not know of any reason they are not. We want them. But, around the country, international enrollment is down. Ours is not as much as some others.”

Asked why international students are important, Bailey said: “They are important for a number of reasons. First of all, in many of the STEM areas, math and science, especially in graduate programs, they make up a substantial number of your students. They are very good students, they help sustain your STEM disciplines. They have great educational attainment rates, we are talking about a lot of students from India, some from China. We have always had a lot of students from Mexico. That has not been hurt too much, yet, but we do not know how it will be in the future. From our point of view, the students are just as welcome as ever.”

MOU with Instituto Tecnológico de Matamoros

UTRGV’s College of Sciences, College of Engineering and Computer Science, and the Office of Global Engagement on Tuesday hosted the signing of an MOU between UTRGV and the Instituto Tecnológico de Matamoros (Matamoros Institute of Technology). Bailey said the MOU is designed to bolster academic, research exchange opportunities.

“The Agreement of Cooperation is meant to promote opportunities for students, faculty and staff members of both institutions to work together through academic and research exchanges,” Bailey told the Rio Grande Guardian.

The MOU was signed by Bailey and Lic. Ana Isabel Lerma Gonzalez, director of the Instituto Tecnológico de Matamoros.

Here are the six articles in the agreement:

The purposes of the cooperation between UTRGV and ITM are as follows:
•    to promote interest in the teaching and research activities of the respective institutions; and
•    to deepen the understanding of the economic, cultural and social issues environment of the respective institutions.

To achieve these goals, UTRGV and ITM will, insofar as the means of each allow:
•    promote institutional exchanges by inviting faculty and staff of the partner institutions to participate in a variety of teaching and/or research activities and professional development;
•    receive undergraduate and graduate students of the partner institution for periods of study and/or research;
•    organize symposia, conferences, short courses, and meetings on research issues;
•    carry out joint research and continuing education programs; and
•    exchange information pertaining to developments in teaching, student development and research at each institution.
Each institution shall designate a coordinator to oversee and facilitate the implementation of this Agreement. The coordinators, working with other appropriate administrators at the respective universities, shall have the following responsibilities:
•    to promote academic collaboration at both faculty, graduate and undergraduate student levels for research and study;
•    to act as principal contacts for individual and group activities and to plan and coordinate all activities within their institutions as well as with the partner institution;
•    to distribute to each institution information about the faculty, facilities, research, publications, library materials and educational resources of the other institution; and
•    to meet periodically to review and evaluate past activities and to work out new ideas for future cooperative agreements.

This general Agreement of Cooperation shall be identified as the parent document of any program agreement executed between the parties. Further agreements concerning any program shall provide details concerning the specific commitments made by each party and shall not become effective until they have been reduced to writing and executed by the duly authorized representatives of the parties. The scope of the activities under this agreement shall be determined by the funds regularly available at both institutions for the types of collaboration undertaken and by financial assistance as may be obtained by either institution from external sources.

All travel and living expenses will be the responsibility of the home institution, except as stipulated in any specific program agreement. The host institution will assist professional staff engaged in teaching or research to find local living facilities.

Upon approval by each institution, this agreement shall remain in effect for a period of three (3) years unless terminated earlier by either institution. Such termination by one institution shall be affected by giving the other institution at least ninety (90) days advance written notice of its intention to terminate. If such notice is given, this agreement shall terminate: (a) at the end of such ninety (90) days; or (b) when all students enrolled in a course of study under the agreement at the time such notice is given have completed their respective courses of study under the agreement, whichever event occurs last. Termination shall be without penalty. If this agreement is terminated, neither UTRGV nor ITM shall be liable to the other for any monetary or other losses which may result.

McAllen Gives $1 million to UTRGV School of Medicine

The city of McAllen presents a check for $1 million dollars to the UTRGV School of Medicine on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017 at the Medical Education Building in Edinburg, Texas. From L to R: Omar Quintanilla, McAllen city commissioner; Juan Chuy Hinojosa, Texas State Senator; Jim Darling, McAllen city mayor; Dr. John Krause, UTRGV vice president for Medical Affairs and dean of the School of Medicine; Dr. Guy Bailey; UTRGV President. (UTRGV Photo by Paul Chouy)

Meanwhile, in other UTRGV news, the City of McAllen presented a $1 million check to the UTRGV School of Medicine on Wednesday, in support of the school’s mission to educate students and residents and provide increased access to healthcare. The payment is part of an MOU McAllen, Pharr, Edinburg, Mission and Hidalgo County signed with UTRGV in order have the first two years of training for medical school students to occur in the upper Valley.

From the UTRGV news release:

“We are grateful for the City of McAllen’s support of the School of Medicine,” said UTRGV President Guy Bailey. “These funds will support UTRGV and the School of Medicine in its mission to engage in innovative research, clinical care and the training of the next generation of physicians for the Rio Grande Valley.”

McAllen Mayor Jim Darling said the payment by the City of McAllen is its contribution to help improve the health and prosperity of the region.

“In order to help the entire Rio Grande Valley grow and improve – as a community, in business, and most importantly, in our health – then a strong and vibrant UTRGV School of Medicine is tantamount to help make that possible,” he said.

Dr. John H. Krouse, dean of the School of Medicine and vice president for Health Affairs, said McAllen’s support further solidifies the partnership between the UTRGV School of Medicine and the communities it serves.

“It will allow our faculty, medical residents and students to continue providing healthcare to those who otherwise would not have access to care,” Krouse said, “and it will help fund the innovative research that addresses the healthcare needs of the Valley community.”

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above story shows Lic. Ana Isabel Lerma Gonzalez, director of the Instituto Tecnológico de Matamoros, and UTRGV President Guy Bailey, signing Memorandum of Understanding documents.