UMass Amherst to Host Week-Long Inter-American Conference on Higher Education in the 21st Century

AMHERST, Mass. - More than 30 higher education officials from across Latin America will take part in a week of in-depth discussions on issues affecting higher education at a conference at the University of Massachusetts Oct. 12-16.

The event is being sponsored by the University and the Inter-American Organization for Higher Education (IOHE) and is titled "Higher Education in the 21st Century: Challenges and Practical Solutions." Conference participants come from Mexico, Brazil, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, and Nicaragua.

According to Chancellor David K. Scott, who is serving as conference host, a series of seminars, workshops, lectures, and field trips have been designed to provide visiting educators with an overview of how the University operates, the challenges it faces, and prospects for the future.

Scott says a series of practical seminars will provide specific insights into how the University has developed ways to solve problems while continuing to provide students with a quality education. Higher education leaders take part in the conference to learn management skills they can take back and put into practice at their own institutions.

"The University has much to offer our guests in terms of practical experience that can be applied elsewhere," Scott says. "And we will all benefit from using our combined knowledge to make the transition into the 21st century."

Dr. Juan Carlos Romero Hicks, president of the IOHE and president of the Universidad Autonoma de Guanajuato in Mexico, will give the first major talk of the conference on Mon., Oct. 12. He will discuss higher education in the 21st century and the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Conference on higher education held Oct. 5-9 in Paris. Scott was an official U.S. delegate to that conference.

Conference participants will receive detailed briefings about the University from top administrators including Scott; Marcellette Williams, deputy chancellor; Cora B. Marrett, vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost; and Frederick W. Byron Jr., interim vice chancellor for research. Participants will also visit Smith, Mount Holyoke, Hampshire, and Amherst colleges; review how the Five College consortium works; and take trips to Holyoke Community College and Williams College.

The IOHE is an international non-profit association of universities that promotes cooperation between its 378 members and fosters the development of higher education in the Americas. IOHE is a member of the International Association of Universities (IAU) and is recognized by the Organization of American States (OAS) and UNESCO.

The conference at UMass is part of an IOHE program called the Instituto de Gestion y Liderazgo Universitario (Institute for University Management and Leadership), a program that has trained more than 600 Latin American university administrators since it was established in 1984. Member institutions in Latin America nominate candidates for the program, which consists of a four-week "foundation course" in university management and leadership, held this year in Ottawa, Canada; an independent project carried out in the participant’s home institution; and a week-long conference held in the U.S., Canada, or Brazil.