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NMSU professor discusses partnership with Costa Rican research institute

New Mexico State University students and faculty can now take their studies from the Southwestern desert to the Central American jungle.


Tom Dormody makes his way through the Costa Rican jungle via a harness and high wire.
Tom Dormody, professor at NMSU's Department of Agricultural Extension Education, makes his way through the Costa Rican jungle. Dormody is on leave from NMSU while he serves as dean of the graduate school at the Center for Tropical Agriculture Research and Higher Education, or CATIE, in Costa Rica. (Provided photo)

Earlier this year, NMSU signed a memorandum of understanding with the Center for Tropical Agriculture Research and Higher Education, or CATIE, in Costa Rica. The agreement facilitates the exchange of students and faculty between the two institutions. The opportunities available at CATIE are the focus of a seminar by Tom Dormody, a professor at NMSU's Department of Agricultural Extension Education, set for 4 p.m. April 3 in Gerald Thomas Hall room 377 on the NMSU campus.

Dormody currently is on special leave in Costa Rica, where he is serving as the dean of CATIE's graduate school and director of the education division. His presentation, which is free and open to the public, is being co-sponsored by the College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences and International and Border Programs.

"Our CATIE partnership is among NMSU's most active programs," said David Hansen, director of Latin America outreach and engagement for International and Border Programs. "Having Tom stationed in Costa Rica greatly facilitates new opportunities for tropical international experience for our students and collaborative work for our faculty."

The research institute, headquartered in Turrialba in central Costa Rica, is internationally recognized for its sustainable tropical agriculture research and related programs. It also is distinguished from other international research institutes by having graduate degree programs. With the addition of NMSU, there are 13 universities from the U.S. and Europe that have active collaborative programs with CATIE.

"CATIE is a beautiful and safe campus for visiting students and faculty," Dormody said. "Field schools for students and faculty from other universities are common. They start on the CATIE campus and then head out into the countryside."

NMSU's School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management currently is offering students a summer field school at CATIE. The six-credit program also will include students from Oklahoma State University and the University of North Texas.

Dormody's seminar will feature joint discussions of a possible partnership program with CATIE involving an international master's in leadership, with an emphasis on sustainable rural development. Shared online courses will be developed for the program.

For more information, email Hansen at dehansen@nmsu.edu.