As in previous occasions, this January Board Meeting took place in San Juan, Puerto Rico, at the Central Office of the Inter American University and at the Metropolitan University. The meeting gave space to the introduction of a new HETS member institution, major discussions on the Consortium’s future, and the exploration of new paths towards the strengthening and sustainability of the organization.
The use of a new strategy to help the Consortium achieve its mission, while meeting its member institutions’ needs, made this Board Meeting different from the others. Board Members divided up in three discussion groups to explore the possibilities of institutions collaborating together in other HETS projects, strategies to help achieve the sustainability of the Consortium, and possible areas in which their institutions would like to see themselves involved, among other issues.
During discussions related to the value and contribution of HETS to its members, HETS’s role as a networking organization was pointed out as one of the main added values for all affiliated institutions. Among other benefits, member institutions have the opportunity to relate to and collaborate with a diversity of other higher education institutions for distance learning initiatives. Last year, HETS met the goal of adding two new institutions to its membership of 20 universities and colleges, as presented by Dr. Nitza Hernandez, HETS Executive Director, during her report to the Board of Directors. The Executive Director attended a total of five different conferences around several states and Puerto Rico to promote and share with other partner organizations the Consortium’s projects, accomplishments, and mission.
As informed by Dr. Hernandez, HETS is currently competing for a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) through a project intended to meet the needs of nurses for continuing education on cultural competence. This project is expected to help HETS achieve sustainability by offering a certification as a continuing education credit provider, cross-licensing of contents among partner institutions, and affiliations of non-partners. In order to support the Consortium’s sustainability and continuation, the HETS staff is also moving towards obtaining funding for capacity building. HETS Board Chair and President of the Inter American University of Puerto Rico, Dr. Manuel Fernós highlighted the shared resources for student support services that HETS member institutions could provide, like online tutoring services in the areas of language, math and information technology skills.
Upcoming issues and strategies presented at this Board Meeting included finding solutions for pricing, enrollment, and quality control with regards to the HETS Online Learning Collaboration Initiatives, a HETS project consisting of the creation of collaborative online programs that meet the needs of the Hispanic workforce. Some of the issues related to articulation agreements for the Online Learning Collaboration Initiatives were addressed when Dr. Ricardo Fernandez, President of the Lehman College, informed his strategies to reach an agreement with the City University of New York (CUNY). This is a really important step, since four of the thirteen (13) institutions involved in the collaborative initiatives are part of the CUNY system and need to articulate agreements in order to succeed.
This Board Meeting gave also place to the presentation of the Consortium’s newest institutional member, Bronx Community College, presided by Dr. Carolyn Williams. Dr. Williams delivered a brief presentation on her institution, and presented their institutional DVD to help the rest of the Board Members and HETS get better acquainted with this new member.
HETS next Board meeting was scheduled to take place on June 21 & 22 at the University of Texas Brownsville. For more information and recent news, contact HETS through 787-766-1912, extension 2221, or firstname.lastname@example.org