Topics: College of Architecture and Planning, International Education

February 22, 2008

While accompanying Indiana Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman on a trade mission to Mexico, Ball State University Dean Guillermo Vasquez de Velasco was able to strengthen relationships with two Mexican universities.

Vasquez de Velasco heads the university's College of Architecture and Planning and was part of a 26-member delegation of top-level Indiana leaders who traveled to Mexico earlier this month. Stops during the mission included Mexico City and the states of Hidalgo and Veracruz.

Trade mission representatives met with the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, officials from Mexico's Department of Agriculture and leaders of the country's grain and biotechnology industries. They also met with university officials to bolster collaborative relationships and exchange programs.

Vasquez de Velasco met with administrators from La Salle University in Mexico City and the University of the State of Hidalgo to help further the collaborative efforts of the Las Americas Network. Headquartered at Ball State, the network has more than 30 members engaged in collaborative research activities and education in architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning and construction sciences.

"With these universities, we have identified opportunities for collaboration in support of regional sustainable development projects through the college's Community Based Projects program and Ball State's Building Better Communities initiative," Vasquez de Velasco said. "In every case we have offered high-end instructional content delivered via digital networks into their emerging graduate programs, which is a nontraditional Indiana export. We also recruited students for our graduate programs."

During the visits, a memorandum of understanding was signed with each university. As part of the exchange program, the dean of La Salle University's College of Architecture, Design and Communication will visit Ball State later in the semester, Vasquez de Velasco added.