WTAMU Named to Partnership Program with Cuba

CANYON, Texas—West Texas A&M University is one of 12 universities selected nationwide to participate in the 2015 International Academic Partnership Program Cuba cohort. The six-month program, part of the Institute of International Education, is designed to prepare universities in the United States with the knowledge they need to consider entering into reciprocal exchanges with Cuban institutions of higher education.

With the normalization of U.S.-Cuba relations, this program gives American colleges and universities their first opportunity in more than 50 years to connect with their Cuban counterparts through planning, mentorship and study tours.

“This is very pioneering work, and it’s a real honor for us to be involved,” Dr. Paul Clark, professor of history and coordinator of the WTAMU cohort, said. “It is hoped that after six to nine months of study with the other 11 universities that we will be in a position to make good decisions about whether or not we want to be among the first to enter into a formal agreement. WTAMU would then be able to host students and faculty and potentially send students and faculty to Cuba to learn as much as we can from each other.”

Clark and other members of the WTAMU faculty are currently participating in a webinar series as part of the training and preparation for the Cuba initiative and to learn more about Cuba’s higher education system. A steering committee comprised of faculty, staff and administrators will work together to define WTAMU’s partnership strategy, and a study tour to Cuba is planned for October.

“This is an amazing opportunity in so many ways,” Clark said. “It opens the door to study abroad experiences for the “near abroad” and could potentially offer many reciprocal exchanges for both our students and faculty in such disciplines as agriculture, Spanish and music. I am just tickled to death about it.”

Others joining WTAMU in the Cuba cohort program are the University of Indiana, Rutgers University, University of Arizona, University of Nebraska, University of Tampa, Virginia Commonwealth University, Case Western Reserve University, City University of New York’s Lehman College, State University of New York at New Paltz, Oberlin College and the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (a consortium of independent colleges in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Colorado).

Clark said that if all goes well, it is possible that WTAMU could sign a reciprocal exchange with a Cuban university in 12-18 months.

For more information, contact Clark at 806-651-2425 or pclark@wtamu.edu.

CONTACT:    Dr. Paul Clark, 806-651-2425, pclark@wtamu.edu

COPY BY:     Rana McDonald, 806-651-2129, rmcdonald@wtamu.edu

WTAMU News, August 10, 2015

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