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U.S.-Mexico Higher Education Engagement: Current Activities, Future Directions

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U.S.-Mexico Higher Education Engagement: Current Activities, Future Directions

December 30, 1899

Academic partnership has long been a vital component of U.S.-Mexico relations. In recent years, the neighboring countries have partnered to launch several programs aimed at increasing educational exchanges, including the Bilateral Forum on Higher Education, Innovation, and Research (FOBESII). Given the attention and resources devoted to increasing collaboration, as well as a shifting political climate, the time is right for a comprehensive assessment of U.S.-Mexico higher education engagement.

Supported by Banco Santander/Universia, this project endeavors to provide such an assessment. Specifically, this report includes a broad inventory of existing collaborative activity, an examination of trends and challenges, and data-based recommendations for policy and practice.

The report offers five key conclusions that summarize the current landscape of U.S.-Mexico higher education engagement:

  • Although an array of institutions are represented, bilateral collaboration is notably concentrated in particular subsets of the U.S. and Mexican higher education systems.
  • Student mobility is a cornerstone of U.S.-Mexico engagement, but issues of sustainability, safety, access, and reciprocity are key concerns.
  • There is substantial engagement with Mexico among the U.S. professoriate, but the onus is largely on individual faculty members to undertake collaborations, research, and other projects.
  • Administrative structures and support are important scaffolds for Mexico-focused activity at U.S. institutions. 
  • There is limited coordination among U.S. institutions around their engagement with Mexico.

Based on the conclusions, the report offers the following policy and programmatic recommendations to strengthen bilateral higher education collaboration between the two neighboring countries:

  • Focus on sustainability.
  • Build upon existing connections.
  • Diversify partners and participants.
  • Engage in advocacy.
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