600 Hemisfair Plaza Way San Antonio, TX 78205
Ph: 210.222.8626 | Mex:(55)85-25-95-04 | Toll Free: 1-(800) 239-9174 | FX: 210.225.1772
UNAM - USA in San Antonio, Texas, promotes multicultural integration through language instruction, the diffusion of culture, academic extension and relations with academic institutions in the United States.
Founded in 1551, the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) is not only the oldest, but by far the largest institution of higher education in Mexico. With its main campus located in Mexico City, it is a comprehensive public university with a wide and diverse infrastructure developed along its history and fulfilling its mission of education, research and the dissemination of culture. Its contributions to the country’s cultural development have been instrumental and have covered practically all aspects. In explaining its national character, it is necessary to mention that its essential purpose is to serve the country as a whole. It should suffice to say that close to fifty percent of all research is conducted at UNAM, and indeed there are certain fields in which practically all of the research is done at the University.
UNAM in San Antonio
Objectives and Background
In 1944 UNAM extended its presence beyond the national borders to the United States. From its modest beginning as a seasonal school operating from borrowed spaces in local high schools and universities, UNAM in San Antonio has come a long way. It occupied its first permanent location in Hemisfair Park obtained through the auspices of the Mexican government and the generosity of the City of San Antonio in 1972. Thanks to the continuous support of the community and the City of San Antonio, UNAM inaugurated its new facilities, also in Hemisfair Park, in 1986. From seasonal courses in literature, art, and history offered by Mexican scholars brought in from Mexico City in the early years, it has evolved to offering courses all year round. The student population has changed over time from groups of mainly Mexicans interested in preserving their heritage, to a very diverse student body. In meeting the needs of the San Antonio community, UNAM started offering Spanish classes and later on, in 1983, it added English courses. The services have also been expanded through the years to include translation services and a Spanish oral proficiency test applied to individuals whose job description demands the skills in this language. As a window to Mexican culture, UNAM in San Antonio has made available the resources of its parent institution in Mexico City. It is a two-way bridge for the flow of ideas and knowledge serving as a link between diverse public and private universities and organizations, and the different schools, institutes and centers of UNAM. In fulfillment of UNAM’s mission, its branch campus in San Antonio focuses on the three main areas: teaching, research and the dissemination of culture. \
Teaching and Research
UNAM in San Antonio serves not only students who wish to learn Spanish or English, but also those interested in issues related to Mexico and the United States. Special courses are also designed to meet the demands of public and private organizations and other academic institutions that can take place on-site or in-house. UNAM campus in San Antonio has also extended both its Spanish and English language courses to serve the needs of teen-agers and children in the community. h
The Spanish courses are taught by Mexican instructors who also do important work in the field of research applied to classroom needs. As a result of these efforts, three of a series of five textbooks have been written at UNAM in San Antonio and have been published by UNAM. h
The English Department has grown constantly to satisfy an increasing demand. Courses in this area are designed to offer maximum opportunity for immersion into the language and culture through its curricular and extracurricular activities. Again, as in the Spanish Department, the high quality of instruction results as well from small classes taught by native speakers.
The latest trends in the teaching of languages are explored in the biannual conferences organized by each Department. Teachers from the United States, Mexico and Canada attend these conferences.
Academic Extension and Cultural Dissemination
To meet its objectives of academic extension and cultural dissemination, UNAM in San Antonio conducts symposia, seminars, panel discussions and lectures with the participation of scholars, writers and artists in the various disciplines of the humanities and the sciences. Regular exhibits promote the work of rising and established artists. Some of these activities have been carried out at the UNAM in San Antonio campus, while others have taken place in different venues, thus achieving a greater impact on the community.
As part of the bicultural dimension of UNAM in San Antonio, since its beginning, a group of students and a professor from the School of Political and Social Sciences have been participating the Model OAS organized several years by the World Affairs Council in San Antonio and now by St. Mary’s University.
As a pioneer in the latest advances in telecommunications, the UNAM campus in San Antonio boasted one of the first direct lines linking through videoconferencing the UNAM campuses in Mexico and San Antonio. It has also has state of modern technology in the classrooms.
UNAM’s uniqueness as a foreign institution in the United States has enabled its campus in San Antonio to serve a as link between different schools, research institutes, centers and administrative offices within UNAM and their counterparts in the U.S. In
this role, this campus has served as facilitator for the signing of several agreements with other universities.
Successful exchange programs are continuously developed with other higher education institutions as an example of international academic collaboration and to further the mission of our university.
Collaboration with the City of San Antonio
To reciprocate the gracious hospitality of the City of San Antonio, for over 10 years UNAM has been offering scholarships to employees of the City. In 1995 UNAM in San Antonio developed a Spanish oral proficiency test to meet the needs of the City, having tested over 4,500 employees since. Also in reciprocity, the fees involved in the testing have been kept the same since that year. As of this year UNAM in San Antonio will also collaborate with the City doing translations for different departments.
Throughout the years, the reputation of UNAM in San Antonio has attracted many foreigners, especially Mexicans, whose presence economically benefits the City of San Antonio and helps promote this city as a tourist destination. As an example, last year, five groups with a total of 311 Mexican English instructors attended special teacher development programs at this campus. UNAM also works with other universities in Mexico who send groups of students to attend specially customized courses and activities. Another area of impact is the direct employment of local teachers and staff.
Planning for the Future
UNAM continuously monitors economic development and academic needs to build a solid future and insure that its curricular offerings meet the needs of the community.