Fairfield University enters partnership with Jesuit university in Nicaragua


Fairfield University has announced a five-year collaborative partnership with a sister-Jesuit university, the Universidad Centroamericana (UCA) in Nicaragua. The agreement provides opportunities for scholarly collaborations, service learning opportunities, faculty/student exchanges and curricular projects.

Rev. Jim Bowler, S.J., director of Fairfield's Office of Jesuit and Catholic Mission and Identity, who initiated the partnership, said the agreement between the two universities gives Fairfield the opportunity to define its mission in Latin and Central America while having its mission at home influenced and defined through the various cooperative activities.

Rev. Jeffrey von Arx, S.J., who began his tenure as Fairfield University's eighth president on July 1, has endorsed the partnership, saying, "This cooperative venture will enhance the academic and service programs that Fairfield already has in Latin America. By integrating their areas of expertise and mutual interest, both universities will reap the benefits in scholarship and teaching. I am especially pleased with the opportunity it presents us to learn more about issues of immigration and globalization."

Father Bowler and Rev. Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J., who recently retired as president of Fairfield University, traveled to Nicaragua earlier this year to sign the agreement, accompanied by Dr. Orin Grossman, academic vice president, and Dr. Winston Tellis, assistant professor of information systems and operations management in the Charles F. Dolan School of Business. Fr. von Arx will be visiting the Universidad Centroamericana during the coming year.

Among the immediate developments expected from the partnership is the access that selected faculty and doctoral students from UCA will have to Fairfield's library databases. The mechanism to achieve this has already been designed.

In addition, the Jesuit Conference of the United States has identified the issue of migration as a priority and Fairfield will benefit from the expertise of UCA faculty in the area of economic and social problems created by migration.

Finally, immediate collaborative activity and exchange is planned in the field of communications, which enjoys a major emphasis at UCA and a solid reputation at Fairfield.

As the program develops, Father Bowler said, all of Fairfield's professional schools will have the option to become involved in the partnership.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on July 22, 2004

Vol. 37, No. 17