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Greenville Business Magazine

USC Upstate Inks Agreement with Spanish University

Sep 29, 2017 08:38AM ● Published by Emily Stevenson

With the stroke of a pen, Chancellor Brendan B. Kelly, Ph.D. on Wednesday completed the effort to build a collaborative relationship between the University of South Carolina Upstate and the Universidad Francisco de Vitoria Madrid, in Spain.

The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding was part of a day-long visit by two UFV Madrid representatives who traveled to USC Upstate to present Kelly with the Memorandum of Understanding: Mariano Castaneira Valente, a member of the advisory board of UFV Madrid’s Excellens Program; and Dr. Guillermo Arce, vice dean for international development, UFV Business & Law School.

“For us, this is quite a special day,” Valente told the group of faculty and administrators gathered for the signing ceremony. “Our university has for many years been specializing in building bridges with universities around the world. … We feel that Spain has this (opportunity for) reaching out. We are a tiny little country in Europe, but I think we’ve been around quite a bit, so we feel at home reaching out and establishing these things, particularly with (schools) like yours where we know we share a lot of the vision and founding values, and particularly this vocation for internationalization.”

Kelly noted the age difference between the two collaborating schools, and the value of the partnership for both institutions.

“We’re celebrating our 50th anniversary this year, which, in the lifespan of universities, is not particularly old,” Kelly said. “But the assets that have been put together form a foundation for the institution that I think really prepares us for a changing landscape for higher education in the 21st century. This type of partnership is part of that toolbox, so we’re very, very pleased.”

The MoU outlined various opportunities for the two universities to collaborate, including through research and training projects, faculty exchange, and through study-abroad programs for undergraduate and graduate students. The document also paves the way for USC Upstate and UFV Madrid to explore topics for “joint proposals for international funding.”

During the ceremony, Kelly praised Dr. Alex Akulli, director of the Center for International Studies at USC Upstate, for his efforts to grow USC Upstate’s international reach.

“Alex has been doing a really fantastic job of trying to achieve one of our central objectives, which is to make certain that we connect this institution to great partners that will allow us to grow; that will allow this experience of our faculty and students to be rich and transformative, and we know that this type of exchange does precisely that,” Kelly said. “So we couldn’t be more pleased.”

Others in attendance at the half-hour ceremony included Dr. Clif Flynn, provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs; Dr. Kim Purdy, dean of University College; Dr. Dirk Schlingmann, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Donette Stewart, vice chancellor for Enrollment Services; Maria Monteso, Spanish instructor; and Akulli.

While they were in the Upstate, Valente and Arce participated in focused meetings with colleagues in the College of Arts and Sciences and the George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics in downtown Spartanburg. In addition, they had a working lunch on campus with faculty, department chairs and program directors.  Their visit concluded with a campus tour.

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