OSUIT deans take part in academic exchange in Mexico

The deans of OSU Institute of Technology’s School of Automotive Technologies and School of Culinary Arts recently returned after being part of a delegation from the OSU system that traveled to Mexico.

The group of faculty from OSU Stillwater and administrators from OSUIT spent a week at UPAEP, a university in Puebla, Mexico, which offers undergraduate and graduate programs.

Gene Leiterman, dean of the School of Culinary Arts, and Leo Van Delft, dean of the School of Automotive Technologies, spent time visiting UPAEP’s culinary and engineering programs respectively.

“It was great to see a different culture and a different perspective on culinary education. We talk about other cultures’ foods, and we teach it, so it’s important to experience it first-hand,” Leiterman said. “I went to the market with the faculty. It was great to walk around a local market and talk about food with chefs. We would see an ingredient and talk about how they would use it and how we use it.”

auto students at UPAEPAnd while UPAEP has no direct equivalent automotive program like the one at OSUIT, the automotive industry touches many of the engineering programs offered at the university.

“I got the opportunity to tour all the engineering programs, and they are closely associated to what we do. Car manufacturing is huge in Puebla,” Van Delft said. “The Mexican economy is changing. Manufacturing is taking a big step forward.”

Both had the opportunity to talk with students, faculty and administrators at UPAEP.

“They were interested in developing partnerships with industry. A lot of our programs are driven by industry. Some of theirs are too, but they want to strengthen those relationships,” Van Delft said.

Leiterman said his goal was to develop a partnership with the UPAEP culinary program to exchange information, as well as possibly start a faculty and student exchange program between the two schools.

“Some things are universal. Our students are like their students,” he said. “It’s very similar, what we do and what they do. I found there were many more similarities than differences.”

An equally beneficial aspect of the trip was getting to meet and interact with other faculty and representatives from the OSU Stillwater campus.

“It was just as valuable, seeing the potential relationships of our programs and where we overlap,” Van Delft said. “We’re not in competition, we’re here to collaborate.”

Leiterman agreed.

“It was a good opportunity for us to represent OSUIT. Expressing to other colleagues from OSU what we are and explaining what OSUIT does hopefully means better collaboration between the two campuses,” he said. “It’s important they know what we do so they can talk with students about us who may not know we are an option.”

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