Spanish immersion program for health, service majors garners Salve Regina one of eight international Innovation Fund awards

NEWPORT, R.I. (Oct. 4, 2016) – In recognition of a new minor in Spanish tailored to students in the health and service majors, Salve Regina was one of eight universities in the Western Hemisphere to be honored with a “100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund Award” for promoting transnational institutional partnerships.
 
The winners, which include institutions from the U.S., Colombia, Mexico and Canada, were announced today by The White House, U.S. Department of State, Partners of the Americas, and NAFSA: Association of International Educators during a media event at Salve Regina University.
 
This is the third round of four grant competitions, which is supported by Santander Bank, N.A. through Santander Universities. This competition was open to higher education institutions in all countries throughout the Western Hemisphere and to all fields of study.
 
In addition to Salve Regina, winners of the $25,000 grants announced today include: Universidad EAN, Colombia; Universidad Tecnologica de Tijuana, Mexico; Vancouver Isand University, Canada; College of Staten Island, CUNY, New York; Louisiana State University, Louisiana; Marian University, Indiana; and Towson University, Maryland.
 
The winning institutions are creating new and innovative partnerships that will increase student mobility to and from Latin America, the Caribbean and the United States. The goal of 100,000 Strong in the Americas, President Obama’s signature education initiative in the Western Hemisphere, is to increase the number of U.S. students studying annually in the Western Hemisphere to 100,000, and the number of Western Hemisphere students studying in the United States to 100,000 annually by the year 2020. The initiative is aimed at enhancing hemispheric competitiveness, increasing prosperity, and preparing a more globally competent workforce.
 
Salve Regina’s initiative 
 
Salve Regina’s department of Modern & Classical Languages and the university’s office of International Programs worked in partnership with the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) and Pontificia Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM) to develop a new minor in Spanish to incorporate a required 6-credit, eight-week summer study and service program in the Dominican Republic.
 
“This minor, by developing students’ Spanish language skills and knowledge of Hispanic Caribbean cultures, will prepare students graduating from four of Salve Regina’s largest academic majors to better serve the local populations in Rhode Island, southern New England and other metropolitan areas nationally,” said Dr. James Mitchell, associate professor and chairman of Salve Regina’s department of Modern & Classical Languages. “The program is targeted at students majoring in nursing, social work, administration of justice, and health care administration.”
 
“By focusing on majors which traditionally have a curricular barrier to semester study abroad and offering a cost-effective purposeful summer option for immersive study abroad, we will achieve a substantial increase in our institution’s mobility rates to the Western Hemisphere and put in place an infrastructure for continuous growth in mobility from these majors to this region in subsequent years,” said Erin FitzGerald, Salve Regina’s director of international programs.
 
The 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund is a public-private collaboration of the White House, U.S. Department of State, Partners of the Americas, and NAFSA: Association of International Educators announced by Secretary of State John Kerry in January 2014.  Since then, 78 Innovation Fund grants have been awarded to teams of 168 higher education institutions from 20 countries in the Western Hemisphere. Follow the Innovation Fund on Twitter and Facebook via #100KStrongAmericas.
 
The mission of Partners of the Americas is to connect people and organizations across borders to serve and to change lives through lasting partnerships. These partnerships create opportunity, foster understanding, and solve real-life problems. Inspired by President Kennedy and founded in 1964 under the Alliance for Progress, Partners is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization with international offices in Washington, DC. Learn more at www.partners.net or via Twitter @partnersamerica. 
 
With nearly 10,000 members, NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the world’s largest nonprofit professional association dedicated to international education. Learn more at www.nafsa.org and www.connectingourworld.org and on Twitter at @NAFSA and @ConnectOurWorld.
 
Santander Bank, N.A. is one of the largest retail banks in the United States by deposits. Its main corporate offices are in Boston and it operates principally in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Santander’s 9,703 employees serve its 1.8 million customers through the Bank’s 703 branches, 2,092 ATMs, call centers, website and mobile app. Supervised by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Santander in the United States is a wholly-owned, financially autonomous subsidiary of Banco Santander (NYSE: SAN), a global commercial and retail bank. For more information about Santander, visit www.santanderbank.com or call 877-768-2265.