Monterrey Tec and IUPUI: two welcoming campuses

The sun lights the mountains surrounding Monterrey, Mexico, January 20, 2018

The sun lights the mountains surrounding Monterrey, Mexico, January 20, 2018

The day broke with a hint of sadness for me, knowing that this would be our last day in Mexico. Although the days are busy and long on trips such as these, they bring an intensity of focus and a feeling of accomplishment.

Meetings with our counterparts at institutions around the world are one important avenue to strengthen international ties and expand opportunities in education and research. Today was no exception.

I will note at the outset that our final meeting took place on a Saturday, not a typical day of business for universities in Mexico . . . or the United States, for that matter. Monterrey Tec Rector David Garza was presiding over a commencement ceremony at one of the other Tec campuses and was unavailable during our visit on Friday, January 19. He placed such a priority on this meeting—as did we—that he agreed to a Saturday visit. We very much appreciated his willingness to spend part of his weekend with us.

Chancellor Nasser Paydar and Rector of Monterrey Tec David Garza, January 20, 2018

Chancellor Nasser Paydar and Rector of Monterrey Tec David Garza, January 20, 2018

Dr. Garza has held his position as rector for a relatively short time and described to us his inaugural speech in which he identified innovation, investigation, and internationalization—the Three I’s—as his strategic priorities. In this, his priorities and those of Monterrey Tec align with a number of IUPUI’s strategic priorities, including our focus on accelerating innovation and discovery through research and creative activity, strengthening internationalization efforts, leveraging our strengths in health and life sciences.

Towards the end of our conversation, Dr. Garza asked us what stood out to us about our visit to Monterrey Tec. Chancellor Nasser Paydar mentioned the outstanding facilities and use of space. Associate Vice Chancellor Gil Latz mentioned that although he had heard a great many good things about the campus, it had far exceeded his expectations. Dr. Michael Kowolik from the School of Dentistry identified the exceptional students at Monterrey Tec as well as the opportunity for research partnerships.

Outside of the Rectoria Building on the Monterrey Tec campus in Monterrey Mexico, Jaime Bonilla, Gil Latz, Michael Kowolik, David Garza, and Nasser Paydar, January 20, 2018

Outside of the Rectoria Building on the Monterrey Tec campus in Monterrey Mexico, Jaime Bonilla, Gil Latz, Michael Kowolik, David Garza, and Nasser Paydar, January 20, 2018

What impressed me most about the campus was how welcomed the campus and its people made us feel. The spaces had a “Google” feel to them: wide open, comfortably designed for interaction and—sometimes—relaxation, with snacks at the ready.

The Innovation Gym Monterrey Tech, in Monterrey, Mexico, January 19, 2018

The Innovation Gym Monterrey Tech, in Monterrey, Mexico, January 19, 2018

The presentations we heard made me feel as if we were part of the projects. This was especially true in the Robotics Laboratory where three students presented their project focused on testing concentration levels with a headphone-type device with sensors situated near the test subjects’ temples.

Monterrey Tec Robotics Lab presentation to IUPUI delegation, January 19, 2018

Monterrey Tec students in the Robotics Lab present to IUPUI delegation. The students were developing a device to determine the level of concentration in test subjects. The applications for such devices abound, including in the classroom where professors can determine whether their students are paying attention. January 19, 2018

And every person we encountered, from the undergraduate student making that presentation to the rector of the university, made me feel as if I belonged on that campus and hadn’t flown from over a thousand miles for a short visit. To me, this reflects the spirit of our own Welcoming Campus Initiative and serves as another tie between our two campuses.

However IUPUI’s relationship with Monterrey Tec develops, I will always remember Dr. Garza’s words towards the end of that meeting. He said that he really appreciated our visit, especially at this time. Years ago, no American universities reached out to Monterrey Tec. Only representatives from institutions in Europe came to the campus to talk about partnerships. In more recent years, people from American universities have been scheduling visits to discuss collaborations. For him, the timing of our visit meant a great deal especially because—as he put it—of the difficult national situation.

As we close our visit and head to the Monterrey International Airport, it’s difficult to determine where visits such as ours to Mexico will take us. Even with that uncertainty, it makes me proud to know that we put the work that we are doing educating students, conducting research, and partnering with the community above all else.

Thanks for joining the rest of the IUPUI delegation and me on this adventure. And so we close the IUPUI Goes to Mexico blog.

Of partnerships, possibilities, and peacocks on our first day in Monterrey

A view of Cerro de la Silla, a mountain and natural monument in Monterrey, Mexico, January 19, 2018

A view of Cerro de la Silla, a mountain and natural monument in Monterrey, Mexico, January 19, 2018

Nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range in northeast Mexico, Monterrey has a population of more than 4.5 million people and is considered the 9th largest city in the world. Serving  as a center for industry for the northern part of Mexico, Monterrey is also home to the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey—more commonly known as Monterrey Tec—which has an incredibly robust program of partnership and innovation to serve tens of thousands of students on its 26 campuses spread throughout Mexico.

One of the highest ranking private universities in Mexico, Monterrey Tec welcomed us warmly from the moment we arrived last night. On the table in my hotel room, I found a plate of dried fruit with a note that read, “Welcome! Have a ‘sweet’ stay in Monterrey. Best regards, Jaime Bonilla, Associate Dean for Continuing Studies and International Affairs.”

A chemical engineer by training, Dr. Bonilla was one of the first faces we saw when we arrived on campus this morning.

IUPUI Chancellor Nasser Paydar meets Dr. Jaime Bonilla, Associate Dean for Continuing Studies and International Affairs, at Monterrey Tec in Monterrey, Mexico during IUPUI delegation visit

IUPUI Chancellor Nasser Paydar meets Dr. Jaime Bonilla, Associate Dean for Continuing Studies and International Affairs, at Monterrey Tec in Monterrey, Mexico during IUPUI delegation visit, January 19, 2018

Our conversations throughout the day focused on the possibility of collaboration between and among different schools at Monterrey Tec and IUPUI. This conversation has its roots in a number of existing partnerships between our campus and theirs. For instance, the School of Dentistry has a partnership with Monterrey Tec led by Dr. Michael Kowolik that includes a newly developed student exchange as part of this effort.

Dr. Kowolik has a connection to Monterrey Tec that dates back to the late 1980s, so his presence as a member of the IUPUI delegation provided an important historical perspective. Dr. Kowolik and Dr. Gabriel Chu, also from the School of Dentistry, arrived earlier this week to begin meetings with colleagues.

In addition, McKinney School of Law also has a history of collaboration with Monterrey Tec, particularly through the branch campus of Tec in Chihuahua. Professor Frank Emmert, John S. Grimes Professor of Law and Executive Director of the Center for International and Comparative Law, has offered a number of classes in Chihuahua. He began his meetings with colleagues yesterday.

The day included a tour of the Robotics Lab, mechanical engineering and bioengineering facilities, a discussion with colleagues in bioengineering, and a question and answer period with students who were interested in study abroad opportunities.

I should add here that the campus of Monterrey Tec has a magical quality, with free roaming deer and peacocks.

Peacocks in all their splendor during IUPUI delegation's visit to Monterrey Tech, in Monterrey, Mexico. These and many other peacocks call the campus home. January 19, 2018

Peacocks in all their splendor during IUPUI delegation’s visit to Monterrey Tech, in Monterrey, Mexico. These and many other peacocks call the campus home. January 19, 2018

The sculpture on the grounds and adorning the facilities—murals affixed to exterior building walls and free-standing artworks—gave me the sense of freedom I often feel when I open myself up to creative possibilities.

While IUPUI is a public American university campus and Monterrey Tec is a private Mexican university, possibility and potential are at the heart of both of our institutions.

Both of us are committed to providing the highest quality education to our students, and we are also looking for ways to make significant positive impact on industry and the community through research and service opportunities.

These qualities tie together the very best institutions from around the world and remind me why I love my job. Through my work, I support one of the most optimistic, world-changing systems in the history of mankind, built on the belief that all of us can improve ourselves and our world through education.

With that lofty statement about education in mind, I will end with a series of lessons learned this evening:

  • If there is a large van in front of your hotel, don’t assume it is going to the wedding you plan to attend. A group of five people gleefully boarded our van to dinner and were slow to leave when they heard we weren’t travelling to the nuptials they were planning to celebrate. Strangely, one of them chanted “Buckeyes” as he was leaving, and we began chanting “Jaguars” back, at least that’s how I remember it.
  • If you are sharing a meal with someone at a restaurant, don’t assume that the other person has ordered said meal. You might end up with nothing to eat.

Special thanks tonight go to Dr. Aida Rodríguez, who went to such great lengths to arrange this visit for our delegation, who was the most gracious host, and who only laughed warmly when she said, “Did you order for us?” and I replied “No, I thought you did.”

IUPUI Chancellor Nasser Paydar thanks Dr. Aida Rodríguez for helping to arrange his delegation’s visit to Monterrey Tech, in Monterrey, Mexico, January 19, 2018

Tomorrow we have the privilege of meeting with David Garza, Rector of Monterrey Tec.

Thank you for reading, and I hope you return for my next and last blog post about this remarkable trip to Mexico.

Diplomacy and departure: thank you, Mexico City

IUPUI delegation arrives at the Ministry of Health for Mexico City (CDMX)

IUPUI delegation arrives at the Ministry of Health for Mexico City (CDMX)

The vastness of Mexico City is difficult to comprehend, but our visit to the Ministry of Health CDMX helped us begin that process. Serving millions of people, the Ministry of Health CDMX oversees dozens of hospitals and focuses especially on serving those populations that cannot afford to pay for health care.

Dr. Román Rosales Avilés, the Minister of Health for Mexico City, delivered a very through overview of the mission of the ministry as well as the four key areas of special focus:  palliative care, dental care for the elderly, reducing the maternal mortality rate, and handling crisis situations for the mentally ill.

Chancellor Paydar thanks Dr. Román Rosales Avilés for visit to Ministry of Health CDMX, January 18, 2018

Chancellor Paydar thanks Dr. Román Rosales Avilés for visit to Ministry of Health CDMX.

These vital projects would benefit greatly from bilateral and international partnership such as the one that faculty at IUPUI have fostered with colleagues in Kenya through the AMPATH Program. Established in the late 1980s, this program resulted from faculty from the School of Medicine travelling to Kenya, seeing a need, and responding by working with Kenyan colleagues not only to build a hospital but also to analyze non-medical factors that impact human health.

As Chancellor Paydar pointed out in his comments at the ministry, AMPATH reinforced to IUPUI faculty and others the need for data collection and analysis in order to systematically improve health care, and IUPUI is ideally positioned to provide such expertise not only to partners in Kenya but to partners around the world.

At the U.S. Embassy to Mexico City, the conversation about partnership continued, and I’m delighted to say, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Roberta Jacobson seems very interested in visiting Indiana, but, of course, she is a diplomat. She was impressed to hear that we have the second largest school of nursing and the largest school of medicine in the country.  In fact, her son is pre-med, and she said she would put a plug in for Indiana University when she next spoke with him.

One of the important projects Ambassador Jacobson is spearheading is 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund, which offers remarkable opportunities for student exchange and training partnerships. Through this public-private collaboration, the U.S. Department of State, Partners of the Americas, and NAFSA: Association of International Educators, corporations, foundations, U.S. Embassies, and universities have partnered to create innovative and sustainable student exchange and training programs.  To date, a total of 126 Innovation Fund grants have been awarded to teams of 246 higher education institutions from 25 countries in the Western Hemisphere region.

After learning about the success of the Innovation Fund—as well as looking at an impressive book about the Museum of Anthropology, one of the finest museums of its kind in the world—we moved to a meeting with James A. Wolfe, Educational and Cultural Affairs Counselor, and his team, which includes a wide variety of experts trained to facilitate higher education exchanges and partnerships.

One of the most inspiring sights at that meeting for me was fellow Hoosier Jessica Norris (IU BA ’00), who majored in Spanish and Political Science back in the day and started her career with the State Department in 2006. I had the pleasure of meeting Jessica and her husband Paul Oliva, also a diplomat with the U.S. Embassy to Mexico City, at the alumni dinner on Wednesday evening, and had the good fortune to sit next to Paul who, by the end of the evening, deemed me his “partner in crime,” a title I bear with pride.

Along with several other members of the IUPUI delegation, Chancellor Paydar meets with U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Roberta Jacobson, Mexico City, January 18, 2018

Members of IUPUI delegation meet with U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Roberta Jacobson.

On the way to our last meeting, we drove down Reforma Avenue, one of the main thoroughfares in Mexico City where we encountered a magnificent roundabout with a beautiful example of the way art is incorporated wherever possible into the landscape of Mexico City.

Fountain of Diana the Huntress on Reforma Avenue, Mexico City, Mexico, January 18, 2018

We passed by the Fountain of Diana the Huntress on Reforma Avenue on our way to our afternoon meeting with colleagues at the National Institute for Public Health.

Our delegation closed the day by splitting into two groups.  One went to FUNED (a major Mexican foundation that funds scholarships), CONACYT (broadly equivalent to the National Science Foundation in the U.S.), and Rotoplas (a company that designs and manufactures tanks to hold fluids including water).

The other group met with colleagues at the National Institute of Public Health.  I joined the latter group where we discussed the prospect of building on our research partnership with the institute.  Dr. Angeles Martinez-Meir in the School of Dentistry is already partnering with Dr. Martha Maria Tellez Rojo, a researcher at the institute.  They are working on a project analyzing the impact of fluoride use among pregnant women. There are promising prospects to build on this partnership in a number of different disciplines.

IUPUI delegation visits with colleagues at the National Institute of Public Health in Mexico City, January 18, 2018

IUPUI delegation visits with colleagues at the National Institute of Public Health.

As the lights of Mexico City grew faded into the night from my airplane window, I could feel the strong pull of this magnificent city—its sights and sounds, its culture and cuisine, its intensity and diversity.

Photo taken taken at night from airplane window soon after takeoff from Mexico City to Monterrey, Mexico, January 18, 2018

Soon after takeoff from Mexico City to Monterrey, Mexico.

All of that and more will bring me back to this special place. . . . especially the people I met here. Their warm hospitality, welcoming spirits, and willingness to do all that they could to make every member of our delegation feel like we were home gave me the sense that the people of Mexico City and we in Indiana are kindred spirits. There’s a healthy dose of Hoosier hospitality here but, perhaps, just as much Mexican hospitality in the Hoosier state.

Tomorrow will bring new conversations about forging partnerships in the interest of educational and research excellence for members of the IUPUI delegation.

Take a look at the trip photo gallery on flickr, which includes a few bonus images you might enjoy.

Please return for the next installment, and send me a note at rewood@iupui.edu or a DM @rewood144 on Twitter if you have questions or would like more information. I’ll do my best to help.

A day of connections with leading Mexican universities & our remarkable alumni

IUPUI delegation plus one at the Central Library of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)

IUPUI delegation plus one at the Central Library of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) (l-r): Armando Soto, Liz Campos (UNAM), Fred Perry, Angeles Martinez-Mier, David Russomanno, Nasser Paydar, Janet Carpenter, Sue Babich, Beth West, Christina Ochoa, and Gil Latz.

To start the day with a UNESCO World Heritage Site and end it with IU and IUPUI alumni: it doesn’t get much better than that. Add to this a series of very productive meetings, and the day was just about perfect.

Our group began the day at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México with a special tour of facilities that included a tour of the Central University City Campus, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007. The buildings and murals were breathtaking, not only in their size and symbolism but in their powerful presence as architectural expressions of Mexican culture and values. Wow!

IU’s relationship with UNAM dates back to 1999, when collaboration began between the university and the Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at IU. The workshop was co-founded in 1973 by the late Nobel Prize-winning economist and IU Distinguished Professor Elinor Ostrom.

In our meeting with Dr. Enrique Graue Wiechers and his colleagues, we explored common interests in the areas of nursing, engineering and technology, public health, and dentistry with follow up meetings for further discussion about faculty and student exchanges and possible research collaborations, among other matters.

Special thanks go to Dr. E. Angeles Martinez-Mier of the IU School of Dentistry, who is an alumnus of UNAM and did a great deal to facilitate our visit to UNAM, which concluded—for some members of the delegation—with a visit to the UNAM School of Dentistry. The tour included impressive examples of 3-D digital visualization technology that allows students to explore anatomical structures without needing special physical models.

One of the highlights of the tour for me was seeing Chancellor Paydar sitting in the driver’s seat in a dental simulation lab. I’m not sure he has a future as a clinician, but he did demonstrate remarkable skills.

Chancellor Paydar with dental tool in simulation lab at UNAM Dental School

Chancellor Paydar tries his hand a dentistry during visit to UNAM Dental School.

From this point, Chancellor Paydar, Dr. Martinez-Mier, Dr. Armando Soto, Dr. Gil Latz, and I travelled to Universidad Intercontinental (UIC) where we learned a powerful story about the history of our Dental School. Dr. Soto, who is on the faculty of the IU School of Dentistry, attended UIC as a student, and Dr. Martinez-Mier was on the faculty there for a period of time. According to her, the vast majority of the faculty who founded the UIC dental school were graduates of Indiana University. This is a remarkable legacy and partnership upon which we hope to continue building.

IUPUI delegation members with colleagues from the School of Dentistry at the Universidad Intercontinental pose with statue of tooth.

IUPUI delegation members with colleagues from the School of Dentistry at the Universidad Intercontinental.

The evening brought with it great conversations, memories, and plans for the future. We welcomed around 30 alumni to the San Angel Inn about a block from the house where Diego Rivera and Frieda Kahlo lived. Giant bookmark there for my next trip to Mexico City.

After a lively reception, President of the IUAA Mexico Chapter Peter Tattersfield opened the program with a very warm welcome. His presentation of hand painted tiles to the entire delegation will live on in my memory. I saw the “Mi casa es tu casa,” but it took me a minute to see IUPUI and the date of our visit right there on the tile. I’m sure I speak for others as well as myself when I say I was touched by this hospitality.

I felt that same sense of Hoosier hospitality right there in the heart of Mexico City when everyone I spoke with helped me plan my next visit. A must see: the Palacio de Bellas Artes with its Tiffany glass and brass curtain. Also a must see: the IU and IUPUI alums I met this evening.

IU and IUPUI Alumni Celebratory Dinner at San Angel Inn in Mexico City.

IU and IUPUI Alumni Celebratory Dinner at San Angel Inn in Mexico City.

In store for us tomorrow: the Ministry of Health for Mexico City, the National Institute for Public Health, as well as a number of other visits. Then, we are on to Monterrey.

Thanks for visiting, and come back soon to learn more about the trip.

On the Road to Mexico

Giant colorful flower pots at Mexico City Airport taken on January 16, 2018

Giant colorful flower pots at Mexico City Airport taken on January 16, 2018

 

Bienvenido and welcome to the IUPUI Goes to Mexico 2018 trip blog. This trip has a long and rich history reaching back to the very beginning of the schools that formed IUPUI campus. In fact, more than fifty years before IUPUI was officially established in 1969 (soon-to-be Happy Birthday, IUPUI), we welcomed our first graduate from Mexico, Josephia Amada Grima. Originally from Matamoros, Tamaulipas. Josephia completed her Graduate Nurse degree in 1917 and was among the very first class of five (!) to graduate nurses from what was then the IU Training School for Nurses in Indianapolis, at that time part of the School of Medicine. (Huge shout out to University Archives and IUPUI Special Collections!)

IUPUI's first graduate from Mexico Josephia Amada Grima

Josephia Amada Grima and classmate in the first graduating class of the IU Training School for Nurses in 1917. Grima was IUPUI’s and Indiana University’s first graduate from Mexico.

Josephia was not only IUPUI’s first graduate from Mexico, but Indiana University’s as well.

Today IUPUI has well over 500 alumni affiliated with Mexico, and one of our goals for this trip is to strengthen our connections with those alumni.

This visit also provides a remarkable opportunity for Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar to build on the partnerships that President Michael A. McRobbie helped to strengthen when he visited Mexico in 2016. Check out the press release about that 2016 trip.

Chancellor Paydar plans to reinforce and build on what President McRobbie achieved, especially in terms of strengthening connections with Mexican universities and research partners, but with a special focus on the health sciences, law, and engineering and technology. Meetings scheduled with the Secretaría de Salud de la CDMX (Ministry of Health for Mexico City) as well as the Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública (National Institute of Public Health) will provide opportunities in this regard as will visits with Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Universidad Intercontinental (UIC), and Tecnológico de Monterrey.

To accomplish these goals, the delegation includes representatives from the School of Nursing, the Fairbanks School of Public Health, the School of Dentistry, McKinney Law, and the School of Engineering and Technology, as well as a number of people from the Office of International Affairs, and the Chancellor’s Office.

It is a special privilege to be part of this delegation in Mexico at such a pivotal time for our campus, our university, the city of Indianapolis, and the state of Indiana. According to data gathered by the IU Public Policy Institute at IUPUI, Latinos are the fastest growing and youngest minority population in Indiana. More than 429,000 Latinos live in Indiana, including approximately 320,000 (76%) of Mexican origin. In Marion County alone, the Latino population has increased tenfold since 1990, now totaling 91,772 and making up 10% of the county population, an increase of 176% from the year 2000.

These increasing numbers translate into Latino purchasing power in Indiana that totaled more than $9 billion last year, according to data from the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute. The number of Latino-owned businesses in Indiana grew almost 150 percent over a 10-year period, from 5,482 in 2002 to 13,639 in 2012. The combined payrolls of those businesses, totaling nearly $1 billion, increased by 22% over the year, compared to a 3.5% increase for Indiana firms overall.

These are serious numbers that indicate the great strength of the Latino voice in American culture, American politics, and American higher education.

IUPUI has had the privilege of working closely with the Latino population of Indianapolis to help this community continue to prosper. Our campus is home to the largest number of Latino students in the Indiana University system with 140 students of Mexican origin currently enrolled. To encourage the increasing number of Latinos enrolled in public K-12 schools to attend college, IUPUI established the Mapping Education Towards Achievement Program (META), a pre-college conference that brings Latino high school students from across Indiana to IUPUI to meet with mentors, learn about the application process, and see themselves as our next generation of college graduates.

These efforts close to home—one among many—will be reflected and enhanced by partnerships we will be forging and building upon during our visits with university and other officials in Mexico City and Monterrey.

We are excited to be here, and I am pleased to share a day-by-day chronicle of the important work that the IUPUI delegation will be doing.

Remarkable architecture near UNAM campus in Mexico City taken January 16, 2018

Beautiful building with Esperanza in the title, but we were driving by too quickly. Do you know the name? If so, send me a Twitter DM @rewood144

Tomorrow will be a great day with meetings at UNAM, UIC, and an IU Alumni Association dinner as the capstone event.

Thanks for being part of this adventure, and come back tomorrow for the latest photos, updates, and stories from the IUPUI team in Mexico.

Please feel free to reach out to me directly with questions at rewood@iupui.edu.