Planning process begins for ASU-Querétaro
Published: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Updated: Thursday, January 31, 2013 19:01
ASU is going through the process of creating another campus. Unlike ASU-Beebe and ASU-Searcy, this campus is located not only out of the state, but out of the country.
While Chancellor Tim Hudson travelling back and forth to Querétaro, Mexico, Yvonne Unnold, chair of world languages and cultures and ASU-Querétaro project director, is meeting up with other faculty and campus leaders to discuss details, according to a press release.
“I’m responsible to move the project forward and lead it to success,” Unnold said.
While Unnold has led many programs abroad and has been in international education for a many years, she has never been part of a project as big as this. “This will be an interesting experience,” Unnold said. “It’s not like I have to reinvent the wheel, we have our wheel here. It’s the same standards, the same type of processes, the same quality.”
The sister campus is meant to have the same format as the Jonesboro campus, from curriculum to sports to the same dining experience. “We are literally building a university like (ASU-Jonesboro), but in a smaller scale which means we won’t be offering all the majors, but we will be offering the same general education requirements we have here,” Unnold said. “There will be lots of opportunities for transfer and exchange.”
The new campus will not be a spanish-based or business-based school. It will open many different doors for all.“We will not drain this campus, we will hire new people,” Unnold said. “But for our own people here there will be opportunities to help shape, create and to become involved.”
Niya Blair, assistant dean and director of the Multicultural Center believes that the sister campus will encourage all students, particularly minority students, to study abroad. “I think it will be a great addition to the Multicultural Center,” Blair said. “The Multicultural Center’s goal is to really increase our initiative and outreach to our Hispanic student population here and I think this is just another element to be able to do that.”
Blair hears within the community the effect of having a successful international program at ASU. “Our international students have had a positive impact not only on our campus, but also in the Jonesboro community,” Blair said. “By having this campus in Mexico will be a positive impact for the community as well.”
The initial construction will begin as early as this spring and the goal is to open the campus in the fall of 2015.“We are networking with a lot of people here, across campus, because everyone wears a different hat and we are building a very similar campus,” Unnold said. “We are talking about academics, we’re talking with provosts, deans and faculty.”
Querétaro has become one of the most progressive states within Mexico and along with the construction of ASU-Querétaro, an entire community will also be built.
ASU-Querétaro will be constructed as the center of a new development, Unnold said. “Potentially included in the larger development are residential areas, a shopping center, a bio-sciences research lab, schools, and recreational areas, including a golf course,” Unnold said. “It’s an undertaking, but we have such strong support in Mexico and we are working so closely with the government and the entire education sector.”
With the surrounding businesses come new internship opportunities not found in Jonesboro. “ASU-Jonesboro students will be able to participate in the ASU-Querétaro professional internship program and obtain first hand, on-the-job, experience in some of Querétaro’s top international industries and enterprises,” Unnold said. “Many of which are already expressing interest in providing internship opportunities for students taking classes at ASU-Querétaro.”
Faculty and staff are already expressing their excitement for the project and how it will benefit all. “It’s an exciting opportunity, not only for ASU but for the Multicultural Center to look at the future of having students from their campus to come here and be able to talk about their culture,” Blair said. “Students, faculty and staff can learn from them.”
The ultimate goal is to provide students the international education experience and a high quality education but to also become global citizens. “It’s going to be the first American university in Mexico. It’s going to the very first university in all of Central America,” Unnold said.