Rio Salado and Universidad UNILÍDER Partnership Increases Educational Options


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Wednesday, April 1, 2020
UNILÍDER team at Rio Salado headquarters
Snapshot of web page for OEL course. Image of a young woman smiling.  Text: Online English Courses for Educators
Photo of Rio Salado President Kate Smith and UNILÍDER’s Rector Félix Soria Salazar

A new partnership between Rio Salado College and Universidad UNILÍDER is helping students and instructors increase their educational options in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico.

The partnership was made official during a signing ceremony on Feb. 11, 2020, at the Rio Salado Tempe headquarters, paving the way for Rio Salado to offer online non-credit Justice Studies/Paralegal and Constitution classes for students and Online English Learning (OEL) courses for university instructors.

Spanish-speaking instructors will teach the Constitutional Law and U.S. and Arizona Constitution classes which will be taught online during 8- and 16-week blocks this fall. UNILÍDER requested these courses specifically for law students to expand their working knowledge of the American legal system. UNILÍDER specializes in business, engineering, marketing, psychology and law programs.

“Rio Salado College was founded on partnerships and we are excited about expanding our programs and services in Hermosillo,” said Rio Salado Interim President Kate Smith. “This initiative is in perfect alignment with our college strategic plan and our commitment to the Maricopa Community Colleges and the Arizona-Mexico Commission to create strategic, innovative partnerships.”

Smith and UNILÍDER’s Rector Félix Soria Salazar serve as co-chairs of the Education Committee for Arizona Governor Doug Ducey’s Arizona-Mexico Commission, which focuses on fostering cross-border collaboration.

“In our work with the commission, we discovered how Rio Salado can help UNILÍDER meet student and instructor needs in a cost-effective, timely manner that can create immediate impact,” Smith said.

“This agreement is the favorable outcome of the long-time established relationship between both states, as promoted by the Arizona-Mexico Commission,” UNILÍDER’s Rector said. “This joint effort will not only benefit our student body but also provide our faculty with the opportunity to improve their English proficiency level. We are grateful and honored to be consolidating our relationship with Rio Salado.”

This is not the first time Rio Salado has reached across the border to collaborate. The college launched its OEL courses last fall as part of a collaboration with the Maricopa Community Colleges, the Arizona-Mexico Commission and Mexican governmental education agencies to help Mexican educators meet English language instruction guidelines. The college also partnered with the Universidad Tecnológica de Hermosillo in 2018 to create a news bureau for its member-supported NPR station KJZZ 91.5 F.M

“The Arizona-Mexico Commission has been focused on the shared priority of improving the quality of life for all in our region,” said Juan Ciscomani, Senior Advisor for Regional and International Affairs for Gov. Ducey. “This new partnership between Rio Salado College and Universidad UNILÍDER expands the partnership between Arizona and Sonora higher education institutions through educational exchanges, research, and entrepreneurship, among other areas.”

According to the Arizona-Mexico Commission, the total two-way trade between Mexico and Arizona was $17.51 billion in 2019 ($9.32 billion in imports and $8.19 billion in exports).