Harper College is among 12 new grant-winning teams in the 100,000 Strong in the Americas
(100K) Innovation Fund competition, which inspires U.S. colleges and universities
to partner with regional higher education institutions on new models of academic exchange
programs for underserved students throughout the Americas.
The 100K Innovation Fund is the signature public-private sector collaboration between
the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, AgroAmerica,
U.S. embassies and Partners of the Americas working with companies, foundations and
regional academic networks to champion the power of education and create access to
innovative training programs between the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean.
Harper has teamed with Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica, Campus Sarapiquí, in Heredia,
Costa Rica, to create an intercultural partnership that takes an experiential, virtual-learning
approach to innovation in teaching, training and intercultural exchange. The partnership
is grounded in improving technological literacy, global awareness and intercultural
competence among students from populations typically underrepresented in traditional
Dr. Richard Johnson, Harper professor and director of the college’s Office of International
Education, said the grant provides an opportunity to advance efforts despite the challenges
of the past two years.
“Although the pandemic has effectively put a halt to international exchange, this
grant allows us to focus on deploying virtual technologies to enhance the global awareness
and intercultural competencies of our students,” Johnson said.
The $25,000 grant will support travel and create virtual opportunities for students
and faculty. Funds will be used preferentially to help underrepresented students overcome
cultural and economic barriers to studying abroad and experience the transformational
impact of intercultural exchange.
Johnson said the project builds on an existing association with Universidad Nacional
de Costa Rica, which began during the Fulbright residency of Professor Jairo Viales
at Harper in 2018-19.
“Since that time, we have only strengthened our connections through site visits and
professional development collaborations,” Johnson said. “This project launches the
next phase of our partnership and will pave the way for future cultural academic exchanges
that will include other disciplines, such as biology, geography and history.”
Other U.S. schools chosen for the grant include the University of Illinois, Boise
State University and Texas Tech University.
Learn more and join the Innovation Network.