TIEC Vice President Travels Across Latin America Looking to Build Partnerships with Fellow Consortia in the Region

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Last month, TIEC’s Vice President set off on a tri-country tour of Latin America with the goal of network-building and increasing access for Texas universities. Dr. Ryan Buck spent two weeks in Colombia, Argentina, and Uruguay, to gather a better understand of what the market needs are regarding international education partnerships.

“The main question we focused on was how you can give people access to Texas Higher Education,” Dr. Buck said. “Especially when visas are hard to get and money in some countries make it difficult or impossible to travel.”

During the trip, Dr. Buck met with several other consortia across the region, including the Council of Rectors of Private Universities (CRUP), Study in Buenos Aires Programa, and FAIEA Consortium Meeting of Universities. According to Dr. Buck, consortia offer the unique opportunity to talk about partnerships on a network – instead of an individual –  level, which helps to maximize opportunities and time management on both sides.

“This idea of network-to-network connectivity is something that is worth exploring and increasing cooperation across the hemisphere,” Dr. Buck said. “Why schedule a meeting with one university when you can meet with 20 at one time?”

According to Dr. Buck, the consortia model enables TIEC to travel to countries and represent its 31 members from public universities across the State of Texas at once. When you work consortium-to-consortium, the opportunities increase.

“I want to work with Consortium where I can partner bilaterally,” Dr. Buck said. “For example, when I met with FAIEA in Argentina, there were 20 universities in one room, meeting with me, who represents 31 universities back home. That is representation of 51 universities all in one room, for one meeting.”

Such a network economy of scale enables TIEC to be efficient with people’s time and maximizes travel costs for in-person outreach. And, according to Buck, a focus on online development and research seemed to be at the forefront of the market’s minds.

While on the trip, Dr. Buck also held meetings with additional organizations ranging from Fulbright Commissions, Police training programs, and others.

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Liz Holliday