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ERIC Number: EJ841254
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Apr-24
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
From Humble Beginnings, a Humanist Global Mission
Lloyd, Marion
Chronicle of Higher Education, v55 n33 pA24 Apr 2009
In a country where only 1 percent of college students can afford to study abroad, staking one's university's reputation on its international program might seem elitist. In a way, it is. But the University of Monterrey, where 40 percent of students participate in foreign-exchange programs, says that internationalization is also part of a broader commitment to helping the world's poor. The founders' goal was to create a competitive private institution with a humanist mission and a liberal-arts curriculum, an oddity in Mexico, where most colleges prepare students for specific careers. That ambition does not come cheaply. At $8,000 a year, tuition at the University of Monterrey is among the highest in Mexico, with optional lodging for out-of-town students running an additional $6,000 annually. Nearly half of the university's 8,500 undergraduates receive student aid, scholarships they can use toward study-abroad programs. The university, known as UDEM, its Spanish acronym, also provides grants to top students to offset the costs of studying in the United States or Europe. "From the beginning, the idea was to be open and tolerant and to expose students to different perspectives," says Francisco Azcunaga, the university's rector of 15 years. "Our international program is a logical extension of that philosophy." Under Mr. Azcunaga's tenure, the university has gone from being a bit player on the Mexican internationalization scene to a global model. Since opening its first international office in 1997, the University of Monterrey has risen to become the national study-abroad leader, with a goal to have half of its students participating in global activities within a few years. But some Mexican academics question whether the size of a university's foreign-exchange program is really the best indicator of its degree of internationalization. Imanol Ordorika, a higher-education researcher at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, or UNAM, argues that a better measure is the number of articles published in international scientific journals. While the National Autonomous University had 2,700 such articles published last year, the University of Monterrey had one. "Their so-called internationalization is an advertising gimmick, to take advantage of their proximity to the [U.S.] border," he argues. Monterrey, with 3.5 million residents, is Mexico's third largest city, just 140 miles south of Laredo, Texas. Mr. Azcunaga acknowledges that his university lags in scholarly research. But he defends UDEM's internationalization push, saying "it's definitely not a gimmick. It's a real effort."
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Mexico