Higher Ed professor in partnering talks with Colombian university

When Pilar Mendoza, UF assistant professor in higher education administration, arrived in Bogota, Colombia in May to speak at the Strategies for Improving the Quality of Higher Education forum at the Universidad de los Andes (UA), her presentation wasn’t the only item on her agenda.

Mendoza and three co-researchers, two from the U.S. and one from another Colombian university, held talks with their University of the Andes counterparts during the forum that could lead to a five-university international partnership–including UF’s College of Education and the UA’s Center for Research and Professional Development in Education (or CIFE).

According to Mendoza, who presented in Bogota with University of Alabama colleague Aaron Kuntz on the topic of student retention, the four visiting co-researchers have pending projects with UA’s interdisciplinary CIFE, which develops programs, training and research on educational topics at the university and throughout Latin America.

The other two members of the visiting U.S.-Colombia foursome were University of Massachusetts-Amherst professor Joseph Berger and Universidad del Atlantico doctoral student Jairo Quintero. The provost of the host University of the Andes and an official with Colombia’s Ministry of Education also participated in the talks.

Mendoza and her three co-researchers have collaborated before. Later this summer, The Journal of Higher Education will publish their co-authored research article detailing the differences between top-tier and lower-ranked programs in materials science in terms of their abilities to partner with other industries without compromising their core values. Berger was also the dissertation adviser of both Kuntz and Mendoza during their doctoral studies, and Mendoza is the international dissertation chair for Quintero, who spent a month last fall at UF working with Mendoza.

Mendoza is a member of the International Advisory Board at UA’s CIFE and a faculty affiliate of UF’s Center for Latin American Studies.