2018 Heiskell Honorable Mention: Internationalizing the Community College
Nomination submitted by: Ricardo Castro-Salazar, Vice President, International Development
In January 2017, Former Mexican President Vicente Fox visited Pima Community College to discuss a process for instituting a two-year college credential system in Guanajuato Mexico. After the meeting, former president Fox and a Tucson delegation toured the Automotive Center at PCC Downtown Campus.
Pima Community College's Mexico Project was born from the recognition that the campus is part of a highly interdependent transboundary ecosystem, as a community in the border region around Tucson Arizona. Mexico is Arizona’s top trading partner, surpassing the next ten trading partners combined, and PCC has been part of the Tucson Mayor’s Friendship and Business Missions to Mexico.
PCC has entered into agreements and programs with the Mexican government, businesses, and educational institutions, seeking to honor and expand its historical, economic, and community connections with Mexico. At the same time, the college has implemented a number of initiatives to support the success of historically marginalized students, including Mexican-Americans, who comprise a large portion of Tucson’s population. Initiatives such as faculty training programs, conversation partners, peer mentoring, and scholarships for local students have resulted in increased student recruitment, study abroad, international workforce development, and global engagement.
Chancellor Lee D. Lambert, J.D., remarked that “One of the greatest satisfactions of PCC’s Mexico Project has been seeing the positive response from our partners and supporters in Mexico, who understand the value of global education and have been extremely generous through private and government support.”
Pima Community College recently started two study abroad programs in Mexico – Spanish immersion in Aguascalientes and Art in Oaxaca -- and a scholarship from the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Relations helped to support two Mexican-origin students to study Chinese at Zhuhai City Polytechnic College in China and another to attend the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) International Conference in Costa Rica.
PCC is one of two U.S. Community Colleges to take part in the SEP-Becalos-Santander International Program for Mexican students from the Bilingual-international-Sustainable technological universities, a model developed by the Mexican Ministry of Education and supported by Fundacion Televisa and Santander Bank as part of the 100,000 Strong in the Americas initiative of the U.S. and Mexican governments. Under this program, PCC is partnering with the Technological Institute of Hermosillo on a student exchange program for Sustainable Energy Studies.