May 1, 2015 by Adriana M. Chavez, NMSU News Center
Five professors from New Mexico State University and Doña Ana Community College have been selected to teach environmental sustainability, product development and mediation skills at Universidad de La Salle in Bogota, Colombia, this summer as part of an ongoing partnership between La Salle and NMSU.
The professors chosen to teach at La Salle are Grushenka Engelbrecht, who will teach mediation skills through the use of short literary works; Luis Rios, who will teach sustainable solutions in architecture and construction in the United States; Gloria Villaverde, who will teach environmental science focusing on the three principles of sustainability; Christopher Erickson, who will teach environmental sustainability and the economy; and Mark Clark, who will teach the actual experience of socially responsible and sustainable new product development and organizational design.
Villaverde and Erickson will visit La Salle June 9-20. Engelbrecht, Rios and Clark will be at La Salle July 21-Aug. 1.
Villaverde, an associate professor in the Math, Engineering, Science & Health Division at NMSU Alamogordo, said she’s looking forward to representing her campus in Colombia.
“Of course, it would be an understatement to say that I’m very excited about this opportunity to represent NMSU-A in Colombia,” Villaverde said. “This is my first trip to Colombia, so it will be my first time at La Salle. I’m looking forward to seeing how modern Colombian culture regards the environment and sustainability challenges. I expect to learn at least as much as my students will.”
Cornell Menking, associate provost of the Office of International and Border Programs at NMSU, said this will be the third summer NMSU has sent professors to La Salle. The five professors will be the largest foreign group of faculty participating in La Salle’s annual summer school.
“We always enjoy working with La Salle,” Menking said. “They have become one of our deepest partnerships in Latin America.”
The visit is unrelated to NMSU’s current partnership with La Salle as part of the Partners of the Americas and the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund Grant. Last year, NMSU partnered with La Salle to win the Innovation Fund Grant. NMSU’s Office of International and Border Programs spearheaded the grant, “Leaders Innovating for the Reinvention of an Agricultural Sustainable Region in Peace,” which proposed the exchange between students and faculty at NMSU and La Salle’s Utopia campus.
Last month, a group of La Salle students spent two weeks at NMSU studying irrigation issues.
The Utopia project was created by Universidad de La Salle president Hermando Carlos Gabriel Gomez, who is also known as Brother Carlos. Disadvantaged youths from some of the most difficult conflict areas of Colombia, who otherwise might not get a college education, are carefully selected to attend the Utopia campus. The first group of students graduated from the university as agricultural engineers last year.