At the Board of Regents Meeting on March 6, the Board agreed to sign a letter of intent with a group of investors in Mexico to explore the possibility of opening an NMSU branch campus in San Luis Potosi City. As the Mexico economy continues to strengthen and Mexico emerges as a global economic force, there is increasing need in the country for higher education, especially American-style higher education with strong English language training. As a land-grant Hispanic-Serving Institution of higher education on the border, NMSU has long had strong ties to Mexico, and is well positioned to help meet this need.
San Luis Potosi City is a good example of Mexico’s transformation. It is a large metropolitan area that combines a historic city center, which has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with modern office buildings and attractive housing. It is a major industrial center with companies such as General Motors, BMW, and Goodyear investing heavily in manufacturing facilities. There are Mexican institutions of higher education in the area, but they cannot meet the increasing demand for higher education, nor can they provide students with an American degree.
A branch campus in San Luis Potosi would promote the mission of NMSU by advancing our efforts to globalize and by enriching academic experiences for our students through exchange opportunities and cross-cultural experiences. Moreover, an NMSU campus in San Luis Potosi would create opportunities for collaboration with multi-national corporations as well as with local universities and research centers.
The letter of intent gives NMSU and the investor group, Grupo Promotor, one year to determine whether the campus is feasible. During this period of time, we will plan academic programs, develop an understanding of the regulatory environment, create a facilities plan, and more carefully weigh the costs and benefits. If this in-depth planning indicates that a campus offering an American education in English will benefit NMSU, the investors, and San Luis Potosi City, we will enter into a binding agreement and move forward with the campus.
The current vision for the campus calls for a limited number of degree programs to be offered, for the degree programs to be equivalent to the programs offered by NMSU in the United States, and for NMSU to oversee and approve the hiring of faculty and administrators. Although NMSU will not make capital investments in Mexico, it will supervise academic programs, provide guidance with regard to facilities, and maintain records of San Luis Potosi students.
Given the beauty of the area, the temperate climate year-round, and a curriculum aligned with that of NMSU, a campus in San Luis Potosi is likely to be highly attractive to NMSU faculty and students seeking opportunities to teach or learn in Mexico. The Chancellor, the Regents, and I believe it has the potential to make NMSU a truly international university.
With all best wishes,