Mexican Instructors Immersed in SOM Training
UT Dallas Classes to Help Visiting Faculty Develop Grad Program in Monterrey
Jun. 23, 2011
A Mexican university has turned to the UT Dallas School of Management for training assistance that both institutions see as a way to strengthen intellectual ties and open a door to ongoing exchanges.
The School of Management signed on to help Tecnológico de Monterrey upgrade the accounting credentials of its business faculty members before Monterrey Tech — as the private multi-campus university is informally known — starts a graduate-level accounting program.
“Accounting doesn’t see any borders; it’s the language of business,” says Jennifer Johnson, the School of Management’s associate director of graduate accounting programs.
That view made it easy for Johnson to jump in with MS in Accounting Program Director Charles Solcher to design a curriculum featuring both on-campus and online courses.
The program began last month when Monterrey Tech educators came to UT Dallas for a three-week, two-course immersion. Among the 15 visiting faculty members was Dr. Aldo Torres Salinas, the head of Monterrey Tech’s accounting department and a key advocate for the training. Although he holds two degrees in accounting and his colleagues already are accredited to teach undergraduate accounting, Torres said the School of Management courses — in internal audit and in accounting and economics research — took them all out of their comfort zones.
Torres was OK with that, though, as “we had a very good experience,” he said.
Outside the classroom, though, the visitors very much wanted to be inside a comfort zone with local professionals, Mark Salamasick, head of SOM’s top-rated internal-audit program said.
So Salamasick, Solcher and Johnson arranged a:
- Tour of Southwest Airlines headquarters, featuring a briefing from the airline’s internal-audit director.
- Presentation from Richardson-based heating, cooling and refrigeration company Lennox International on international business-risk assessment.
- Presentation from Plano-based rent-to-own retailer Rent-A-Center on company plans in Mexico.
- Visit to the Dallas CPA Society’s annual daylong continuing education conference, where the faculty members were introduced to and networked among the 1,200 participants.
- Class day spent learning from Ricardo Gutiérrez Calderón, president of the Mexican Institute of Internal Auditors.
“They’ve now seen how our program connects with the business community,” Salamasick said.
Which is good, Solcher said, because “they would like to use this as a template” in their own planning and development.
Enrolled as graduate students, the Monterrey Tech professors earned six credit hours here. Back home, they are scheduled to take four online courses — worth 12 more credit hours.
After displaying a high level of enthusiasm to learn about internal audit — which is not widely taught in Mexico — several of the faculty members also are making plans to sit for the certified internal auditor’s examination, according to Salamasick. “We are looking forward to further assisting Monterrey Tech to integrate internal audit as a key part of their master’s program.”
The request “to train the trainers” both complemented and confirmed the School of Management’s competence, Johnson said.
As for the school’s qualifications, “there are very few U.S. schools that have as robust an online accounting program as we do,” Solcher said. UT Dallas is “probably the only one that is nationally ranked that can provide both on-campus and online resources to do this.”
Upon completion of the 18 credit-hour program, the Monterrey Tech professors will meet accreditation standards for teaching graduate-level accounting set by the AACSB International — The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Accreditation is important to Monterrey Tech, as a sign of its high standards, said Leticia Santos Zamarripa, the director of the university’s International Liaison Office in Dallas. Like the School of Management, Monterrey Tech’s business school, EGADE, is AACSB-accredited.
Zamarripa and Dr. Rodolfo Hernández Guerrero, director of the UT Dallas Office of International Education and its Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, relied on a 2004 general agreement of cooperation between UT Dallas and Monterrey Tech to initiate discussions with School of Management Dean Hasan Pirkul.
The dean welcomes a relationship with Monterrey Tech, Solcher said, in part “because Mexico is our closest neighbor, and we have huge economic ties there.”
Hernández Guerrero sees the immersion as the first of many exchanges.
“This was a great beginning … beyond our expectations,” Zamarripa said, both because of the classroom experience as well as the social interaction. “I was really happy to see all the professors so happy.”