About the Conference


Conference: May 30 - June 1, 2012
Cultural Exchanges/Programs: June 2 - June 3, 2012

The International Higher Education Congress is a biennial conference seeking to build a sustainable future through global partnerships in higher education.

Presented by West Chester University of Pennsylvania and the Universidad Nacional (Heredia, Costa Rica), this year’s theme is Knowledge Crossing Borders: Building a Global Future through Research and Innovative Practices.

Scholars from around the world will examine how knowledge transactions across regional and international borders create both difficult challenges and transformative opportunities for cooperation, change, creativity, and innovation.

The conference theme is both broad and timely and will address the research, pedagogical, outreach, and administrative functions of institutions of higher education. Conference participants will explore and develop common interests and intersecting scholarly work linking two or more of the participating countries and institutions.

Topics to be covered include:

  • Technology and Science
  • Sustainability
  • Best Practices in Higher Education
  • Globalization and Transnationalization in Higher Education
  • Funding Models for Higher Education

CIESUP/Knowledge Crossing Borders
The start of a collaborative partnership

Congreso Internacional de Educacion Superior (CIESUP) / Knowledge Crossing Borders arose from a 2006 grant that enabled West Chester University professors Ana Cristina Sanchez and Andrea Varricchio to explore the possibility of collaborative partnerships between WCU and a unit of Universidad Nacional (UNA).

In the succeeding years, delegations from each of the universities visited each other’s campuses to cement the foundation of a partnership that resulted in development of an international conference on higher education. UNA hosted the first conference in Costa Rica in 2010 with the goal of not only exchanging knowledge, skills and perspectives on best practices in the effective administration of higher education, but also to collaborate with overseas institutions on sponsored programs, research and other creative activities.

Key figures integral to this success include UNA Vice Dean Lelia Villalobos Rodriguez and UNA Rector Olman Segura Bonilla, UNA Dean Lucia Chacon, and both current West Chester University president Greg Weisenstein and former president Madeleine Wing Adler.

In addition to Sanchez and Varricchio, other WCU personnel were central to the establishment of the conference, including Linda Lamwers, provost and vice president for academic affairs; Mike Ayewoh, associate vice president for sponsored research and faculty development; William Lalicker, director of the Global Development Collaborative; and Celia Esplugas, professor of languages and cultures.

West Chester University

West Chester University is the second 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 residential and academic buildings, extensive playing fields, a sports complex, soon-to-be completed recreational center, and a conserved natural area providing opportunities for research and educational programs.

While music instruction and education have been part of the school’s curriculum since its founding in 1871. the University traces its roots even farther back to the West Chester Academy, a private, state-aided school that existed from 1812 to 1869.

Today, approximately 15,100 degree-seeking students (2,266 graduate and 12,834 undergraduate) are enrolled in five colleges, offering more than 100 graduate and undergraduate programs in the arts and sciences, business and public affairs, the social sciences, visual and performing arts and health sciences. Industry-specific programs include pre-med and pre-law, as well as the innovative Pharmaceutical Product Development program, the first of its kind in the country.

Universidad Nacional de Heredia

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, combining 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 José.