Thursday, September 16, 2021
  Around Campus

By News and Internal Communications

By Marisol Villarreal

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – UTRGV and the Universidad Luterana Salvadoreña (ULS) in San Salvador, El Salvador, met Wednesday at the UTRGV School of Social Work in Edinburg to sign a Memorandum of Understanding. 

The signing ceremony marks a cooperative agreement between the two universities and includes the collaborative development of programs. Among those programs, a Master of Social Work for Salvadorans students will be introduced – a first for the Salvadoran college. 

“Our universities will be working together to develop a framework for different programs,” said Dr. Luis Torres-Hostos, Ph.D., founding dean of the UTRGV School of Social Work. 

“We will utilize what is called a ‘COIL’ – Collaborative Online International Learning,” he said. “A faculty member in another country and a faculty member here who are teaching a class get together for a period of the semester of up to six to eight weeks, and the students in those two classes work on a joint project and get to meet each other.” 

Dr. Janna Arney, UTRGV deputy president and interim provost, and Ada Ruth Gonzalez, director of International Relations for ULS, signed documents making the bond between the universities official. 

“This is so important for us. Central America and El Salvador are just about to complete 200 years of independence,” Gonzalez said. “So having signed these documents on this day, the 15th of September, is important for our country, our youth, and our students at our university.

“We believe this will benefit our students, as it introduces three new curriculums for them – a Master of Social Work, psychology, and a path to becoming an English teacher.” 

Arney said the event signifies a strong commitment on the part of both universities to provide and expand educational opportunities for students around the globe.

“We are excited to collaborate with educators at the University Luterana Salvadoreña,” she said, “and know the expanded cultural and educational opportunities will translate to greater success for students in both our countries.”


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.