PIQUA – Edison State Community College President Dr. Doreen Larson and Board of Trustees Chairman Tom Milligan recently traveled to Barranquilla, Colombia, in South America to visit the Reformed University (Corporacion Universitaria Reformada or CUR) to further discuss partnership opportunities.
It was during this visit that President Larson and Rector Helis Barraza signed an agreement for Spanish language instruction and related cultural and faculty exchange.
“Our partnership with CUR will use the technological expertise of the CUR Language Institute to connect these students, both from the USA and Colombia,” President Larson said. “The students will not only share academic content but, I feel, they will be able to motivate and encourage each other to achieve their educational goals and understand the worldwide benefits of higher education.”
This signed agreement will provide online Spanish language instruction from faculty at CUR to students enrolled in Edison State Spanish courses. The agreement also supports opportunities for students to visit CUR for advanced Spanish language immersion studies and cultural awareness experiences.
While visiting South America, President Larson and Chairman Milligan co-taught a three-hour economics seminar at CUR, participated in a campus tour and took part in other activities. President Larson also was given the opportunity to provide the keynote commencement speech for the university in Spanish.
“When I looked out at the CUR graduating class of 2018, it was as if I was looking at Edison State graduates,” Larson said. “The ages of the graduates ranged from 17 to 65, and I found out that many of them were first-generation college students, like many students at Edison State.”
Discussions of partnership opportunities began earlier this summer when Rector Barraza and Vice Rector for Academic Affairs Milciades Pua visited Edison State. While on campus, CUR leaders met with President Larson and members of Edison State’s leadership team to explore joint coursework options.
The partnership was initiated through Chairman Milligan’s involvement and leadership in the Presbytery of the Miami Valley’s Colombia Mission Partnership and Presbyterian World Mission’s Colombia Mission Network.
“It has been my great pleasure and honor to be able to be a catalyst to bring Edison State and the Reformed University together,” Chairman Milligan said. “There are some real synergies here that start with our need at Edison State to shore up our Spanish language instruction, but that can go well beyond that for both institutions.”