Representatives from the government of Ecuador’s higher education system, Educación Superior, Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación, met with staff from Diversity and Multicultural Affairs (DMA) on June 30 as part of a professional exchange program with the U.S. Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program. The Ecuadoran exchange delegation was visiting institutions of higher education to better understand regulatory and management systems in the United States. A new higher education law, passed in 2010, outlines specific provisions in the Ecuadoran higher education system and the delegation was seeking input on regulation, accreditation, diversity, administration, and university management.
Participants in the delegation represented the Secretariat of Higher Education, the Ministry of Knowledge and Human Talent, and the Council of Evaluation, Accreditation, and Quality Assurance of Ecuador.
“Having the opportunity to interact with and engage the Ecuadorian delegation provided a rich discussion for sharing our practice and learning more about other forms of higher education,” said Dr. Marco Barker, DMA senior director for education, operations and initiatives. “It was informative and intriguing to hear how South American higher education policy makers wrestled with the same issues and concerns related to diversity, equity, access, and success among their varying demographics.”
During the conversation, members of the delegation expressed a strong interest in student recruitment, preparation, and success programs and UNC’s relationship with K-12 education—an indicator of their desire to make higher education in Ecuador and South America more attainable for students who may be underserved or from under-resourced communities.
Josmell Perez, DMA’s assistant director for multicultural programs and the Carolina Latina/o Collaborative, also spoke with the delegation. “They were interested in all aspects of our higher education system,” he said “from policy and curriculum to student retention and graduation.” He noted that they were impressed by how intentional DMA programs were in providing students with a sense of community and are supported by people who have a vested interest in their success.
This visit marked the third delegation of international visitors for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs. Previously, DMA has met with two different groups of Interfaith leaders from Germany who were interested in diversity and social justice education.
The Ecuador visit was coordinated by UNC Global’s international affairs liaison Melissa McMurray.
About Diversity and Multicultural Affairs
Diversity and Multicultural Affairs is a unit in the Division of Workforce Strategy, Equity, and Engagement and serves as the diversity arm of the University. DMA is led by Associate Vice Chancellor & Chief Diversity Officer Taffye Benson Clayton and has the responsibility of providing university-wide leadership in building and sustaining an inclusive campus community that values and respects all members of the university community and beyond.