Knowledge Crossing Borders / Congreso Internacional de Educación Superior (CIESUP) / arose from a generous 2006 grant to explore the possibility of collaborative partnerships between WCU and a unit of the Universidad Nacional of Costa Rica (UNA).
Since 2006, delegations from each of the universities have visited each other’s campuses to cement the foundation of a partnership that resulted in the development of an international conference on higher education, as well as to participate in the conference series.
UNA hosted the first conference in Heredia, Costa Rica in March 2010 with the goal of exchanging knowledge, skills and perspectives on best practices in the effective administration of higher education, as well as fostering international collaborations between institutions on sponsored programs, research and other creative activities.
WCU hosted the second conference May 29 - June 3, 2012. Posters and presentations covered a wide range of themes including: the growth of distance education and on-line options for teaching and learning, experiential learning regarding sustainability and service learning, issues with access and equity in education locally and internationally, public health, and a multitude of ways to teach diversity in a variety of contexts.
At the UNA-hosted conference October 6-10, 2014 in Heredia, Costa Rica, the general theme was: Fostering Solidarity, Sharing Knowledge. The thematic areas included: Higher Education and technology of communication and information, world peace, poverty reduction, ethics in education, international institutional cooperation and the advances in health around the globe. Of particular note were the active collaborations between WCU and UNA faculty and students in the areas of Music, Dance, Theatre and Art.
Key figures in the founding of the conference series and the ongoing WCU-UNA relationship include: UNA Vice Dean Leila Villalobos and UNA Rector Olman Segura Bonilla, UNA rectora Sandra León Coto, and West Chester University President Greg Weisenstein and former President Madeleine Wing Adler.
In addition, UNA Dean Lucía Chacon and other WCU personnel including Ana Sanchez, Andrea Varricchio, William Lalicker, Celia Esplugas and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Linda Lamwers, were all central to the establishment of the conference series.
West Chester University is the largest of the 14 institutions that comprise the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. Located 25 miles from Philadelphia, West Chester University’s 403-acre campus includes academic and residential buildings, extensive playing fields, a sports complex, a new recreation center and a conserved natural area providing opportunities for research and educational programs.
While music instruction and education have been a part of the school’s curriculum since its founding in 1871, the University traces its root even farther back to the West Chester Academy, a private, state-aided school that existed from 1812 – 1869.
Today, approximately, 16,086 degree-seeking students (13,844 undergraduate, 2,242 graduate) are enrolled in five colleges, offering more than 200 graduate and undergraduate programs in art, science, business and public affairs, social science, and health science. Industry-specific programs include pre-med and pre-law, as well as the innovative Pharmaceutical Development program, the first of its kind in the country.
The Universidad Nacional (UNA) was founded as a teacher’s college in 1915 and granted university status by the government of Costa Rica in 1973. UNA now offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in 35 disciplines, combing excellent academic programs with extensive opportunities for students to become involved in campus life and the surrounding community. Students also have the opportunity to enroll at a nominal cost in artistic workshops that are offered throughout the term on such areas as modern and popular dance, theatre, choir, guitar and marimba.
Located in the city of Heredia, capital of the province of Heredia, UNA is only seven miles from the Costa Rican capital city of San Jose.