UDLA accreditation could affect Study Abroad program

As the TCU administration re-examines its relationship with the Universidad de las Americas in Mexico, a shadow may be cast on Study Abroad programs across campus. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits both UDLA and TCU. According to documents on the SACS Web site, UDLA’s accreditation status was placed on a yearlong warning Jan. 2.

Bonnie Frederick, chair of the Spanish department, said if UDLA lost its SACS accreditation, the Study Abroad credit acceptance procedure would be reviewed.

“It might not be a fatal blow,” she said. “We might decide to continue, but we would certainly go back and take another look.”

A host of campus programs have relationships with UDLA, including the Study Abroad program, the business school and the radio-TV-film department. UDLA has been a sister university for 15 years.

The relationship the Study Abroad program has with UDLA is different because courses taken at UDLA apply to students’ grade point averages, Frederick said.

“You can go to UDLA, and it’s just like going to TCU, you just happen to be in Mexico,” Frederick said. “It’s really just considered TCU south, and they are supposed to consider us UDLA north.”

Another program abroad that might be affected by the re-evaluation of ties with UDLA is a graduate program in the business school.

The Masters of International Management program is a dual-degree plan where students obtain 20 hours of credit at TCU and 20 hours of credit at a TCU affiliate university abroad, said Olivia Williams, assistant director of MBA admissions.

The dual-degree plan with UDLA allows students to earn a Masters of International Management from TCU and a Masters in Marketing and International Business from UDLA.

The RTVF program also has a program with UDLA.

Richard Allen, RTVF department chair, said many UDLA students have studied at TCU to make use of the RTVF production facilities. He said typically UDLA students want to be in TCU’s production classes because they do not have facilities like TCU’s.

He also said he doesn’t know of any students in the department who have gone to UDLA to study.

Many other departments on campus have sent students to UDLA and have also hosted UDLA students, such as the journalism and anthropology departments.

Larry Adams, senior director of international studies, said TCU has also participated in multiple faculty exchanges over the years.

In an interview last week, Provost Nowell Donovan said the programs with UDLA have generally been beneficial to students but “may very well lapse as a result of the actions of the administration at UDLA.