Mexican faculty visit SUNY New Paltz for language and cultural immersion


In 2013 President Barack Obama, working in collaboration with Mexican President Peña Nieto and other Latin American heads of state, launched “100,000 Strong in the Americas,” an initiative designed to increase study abroad opportunities for residents of the United States and Latin American nations.

SUNY New Paltz was among the first U.S. institutions selected to host a cohort of scholars under the new initiative. This summer will mark the third consecutive year in which faculty from colleges and universities in Mexico will spend time in New Paltz participating in courses and workshops offered through the Haggerty English Language Program (HELP), the only year-round intensive language program designed for non-native English speakers in the SUNY system.

“We were deeply flattered to be invited to play a role in this binational collaboration,” said Bruce Sillner, dean of the Center for International Programs (CIP).

At a July 6 lunch reception to kick off the program, Sillner was joined by College faculty and administrators in welcoming the 18 Mexican scholars and educators who will take part in the program over the coming weeks.

“We’re confident that you will have an excellent academic experience this summer, and we hope that your learning will extend beyond the classroom and the campus,” Sillner said. “On behalf of SUNY New Paltz, I want to thank you for studying with us and learning with us.”

Many of the program participants are English language faculty at institutions in the Mexican state of Puebla. They are able to take part thanks to the sponsorship of the Puebla State Education Ministry, which has enabled a total of 39 Mexican educators to partake in academic and professional development programs at New Paltz over the last three years.

This summer, an additional group of English instructors is able to come to the College under a new initiative funded by the Mexican Ministry of Public Education, called “Proyecta 100,000.”

The curriculum being offered to these visiting scholars combines in-class instruction in advanced English language courses, collaborative pedagogical workshops designed to develop technology-based language learning instruction and a broader engagement with regional culture.

Planned special events include a guided tour of the Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz, trips to New York City and Lake George, a visit to the Ulster County Fair and a meeting with state Assembly member Kevin Cahill to discuss New York State governance.

New Paltz has a long history of collaboration with scholars and educators from Latin American nations dating back to 1901, when the New Paltz Normal School welcomed 50 female students from Cuba to study on the same campus that local residents today share with scholars and educators from around the globe.

More information about the Haggerty English Language Program is available online.

A detailed account of the “100,000 Strong in the Americas” program can be found at the State Department’s website.