New partnership brings master’s language program to Mexico

February 1, 2018

An agreement between Universidad Iberoamericana Ciudad de Mexico-Tijuana and USC Rossier expands World Masters program

By Ross Brenneman

USC Rossier Dean Karen Symms Gallagher and Universidad Iberoamericana Ciudad de Mexico-Tijuana rector David Fernández Dávalos speak at a signing ceremony in Tijuana. A new partnership between universities will expand a dual-degree program. Image courtesy of Elizabeth Pineda/IBERO.

USC Rossier is expanding a new degree program through a partnership with a university in Mexico.

The World Masters in Language Teaching dual-degree program alternates where students are located over the course of study—giving them teaching experiences in two countries.

The new addition of Universidad Iberoamericana Ciudad de Mexico-Tijuana, in Tijuana, brings the total number of partner universities to three. The program launched in May 2017 with agreements at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea.

The universities finalized the latest agreement at a signing ceremony Wednesday in Tijuana.

At the ceremony, USC Rossier Dean Karen Symms Gallagher said that the program is about equipping teachers with deep cultural proficiency.

“We want to prepare teachers who are not just technically capable to speak two languages, but who understand the assets that multilingual learners bring and who have a vision for the potential that these students will play in the decades to come,” Gallagher said.

“This agreement opens the door and lays the foundation for cooperation on issues of investigation, on issues of teaching and of course on issues of innovation and social impact,” said David Fernández Dávalos, the rector of Ibero-Americana. “Now, we sign it particularly to open a double master’s degree for second-language teaching, in Spanish and in English, for teachers, cultural translators, etc.”

This is the first formal agreement between Ibero and the University of Southern California, but as USC Rossier Dean Karen Symms Gallagher noted at the signing ceremony, Ibero faculty have a history of working with USC schools, including USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and the USC Suzanne-Dworak Peck School of Social Work.

“I believe this partnership—this dual degree program—promises to be one of the most impactful in terms of the number of students and in the potential for impact in and beyond both of our countries,” Gallagher said.

Professors Jenifer Crawford and Robert Filback spearheaded the agreement for USC Rossier. Crawford noted that the agreement represents another way to break down silos between teachers, which is all the more critical for teachers in countries that are right next to each other.

The agreement may prove to be a great boon to Tijuana itself, which has been significantly affected by political strife in the United States over immigration policy. Many students born in the United States have had to move to Tijuana to rejoin parents who have been deported to Mexico. Many of those students may not even be proficient in Spanish.

“This program will give us a platform to walk a new path toward equitable and just schools and societies that celebrate all students’ languages and cultural practices,” Crawford said.

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