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NMSU cements technology partnership through alumnus, governor of Querétaro

A new partnership between New Mexico State University and a science and technology council in central Mexico is helping advance the university's mission to expand its global reach and build international relationships.

NMSU Interim President Manuel Pacheco and Queretaro Gov. Jose Calzada Rovirosa
New Mexico State University Interim President Manuel Pacheco, left, and Jose Calzada Rovirosa, governor of the Mexican state of Queretaro, prepare to sign a memorandum of understanding between NMSU and CONCYTEQ, the Council of Science and Technology of the state of Queretaro, in April 2013. The memo established a partnership between the university and the council that will provide opportunities to share ideas and research, provide faculty outreach opportunities and also facilitate student exchanges. (Submitted photo)

The agreement ? a memorandum of understanding between CONCYTEQ (Consejo de Ciencia y Tecnologia del Estado de Queretaro) and NMSU ? could create exchange opportunities for faculty, researchers and students. It will also facilitate the sharing of ideas and technology, to the benefit of both the council and the university.

Like any such partnership, at its heart, this endeavor is about relationships, said Cornell H. Menking, NMSU's associate provost for International and Border Programs. Menking said the strong ties between the university and Jose Calzada Rovirosa, governor of the Mexican state of Queretaro, made the partnership possible.

Calzada Rovirosa received an honorary doctorate from NMSU in 2009 to recognize his dedication to serving the people of Queretaro. During his career in public service, he has focused on economic reforms and championed workers' rights and environmental causes, all while continuing to show support of New Mexico State University, where he earned his MBA.

Menking and NMSU Interim President Manuel Pacheco were part of a delegation that traveled to Queretaro in April to sign the partnership agreement with CONCYTEQ. While there, the delegation met with cabinet leaders in agriculture, water and education to discuss the next steps in developing workshops, training and exchange programs.

"We'd love it to really become an exemplary model of a partnership between NMSU and foreign states," Menking said.

He pointed out that during Calzada Rovirosa's term as governor, the state of Queretaro has seen the most robust economic growth of any Mexican state, largely due to Calzada Rovirosa's economic policies, tax structure and infrastructure programs. He's made it a priority to address issues of housing ? subsidizing the addition of concrete floors in homes that had only dirt ? and water management. One goal of his tenure, Menking said, was to ensure that 100 percent of the state's residents had access to potable water at home by the end of his term in 2015.

Pacheco said that's a goal that NMSU can help Queretaro achieve.

The partnership will benefit NMSU in many ways, including by helping to bring students into underutilized programs at the university.

"These kinds of relationships will start bringing students here, especially in areas where we are strong, but do not have the students to populate those programs," Pacheco said. "It helps preserve programs that are underpopulated."

Calzada Rovirosa also touted the educational opportunities afforded by the partnership, and their role in the continued economic development of his state.

"For us, education is a fundamental aspect of growth, prosperity and peace of our state and region," Calzada Rovirosa said in Spanish during the April 15 signing ceremony. "We have many young people who are hopeful and also have the right to attend a good college, and plans to participate in academic programs that allow them to get ahead, carry out their activities, raise a family, be productive, and live a prosperous life with opportunities for all."

Other NMSU delegates at the signing included David Hansen, director of Latin American outreach and engagement for International and Border Programs, and Terry Crawford, interim department head of Agrucultural Economics and Agrucultural Business.

One of the first fruits the partnership will bear is a faculty outreach opportunity this summer, for which applications are already being sought. Menking said many government agencies in Queretaro are interested in supporting short-term workshops taught by NMSU faculty in areas like water science management and other areas of agriculture, engineering, business, natural sciences and political science, among others.

The faculty members will travel to Queretaro to conduct workshops and build relationships with a counterpart in their field. For more information on the teaching opportunity, faculty members can contact Menking at 575-646-7041 or ibp@nmsu.edu.