Proyecta Program Receives National Award
College received special honor from UPCEA in 2015

Proyecta Program Receives National Award

Sacramento State’s College of Continuing Education (CCE) joined other universities in the U.S. to advance Proyecta 100K, a program that builds English skills for students and professors from Mexico as part of a long-term educational and cultural exchange between the two countries. And while CCE’s Proyecta program was in its first year, it received national recognition.

The University Professional & Continuing Education Association, which promotes continuing education for universities throughout the U.S., awarded CCE the 2015 International Program of Excellence Award.

Sarah Rodriguez, who coordinates CCE’s Proyecta program, accepted the award at UPCEA’s 100th annual convention  in Washington, D.C., last month. “To have it run successfully, and have the students contact me on Facebook afterwards and tell me personally they had a really good experience, was really rewarding.”

In his congratulatory message, James Campbell, chair of the UPCEA Awards Committee, said the award “recognizes globalization as one of the key forces molding higher education today,” and the recognition was “the highest distinction and honor in our profession.”

Nearly 40 students and professors from 10 universities in Mexico were selected for CCE’s first Proyecta delegation, and all of them received scholarships from the Mexican government to attend. “It’s the experience of a lifetime because for many of them, they come from low-income backgrounds. And this is something that without the Proyecta initiative, they would never have had the opportunity,” Rodriguez said.

The participants arrived at Sacramento State in Nov. 2014 with English skills that varied from limited experience to advanced. However, each one was an outstanding scholar in fields such as computer science, biology, architecture and business. Paulo Pinto, director of CCE’s international programs, said the participants were just like him: first in their families to attend college and the first “to travel outside their country and be exposed to a different world. To a global world.”

The Proyecta experience was modeled after CCE’s four-week American Language and Culture program. Participants attended English classes matched to their level of proficiency, and then as a group they went on field trips throughout Sacramento and San Francisco. Some in the group said they were visiting museums for the first time in their lives.

The participants stayed with host families and learned about everyday life in America, and attended special events that included visits with University President Alexander Gonzalez and Consul General Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez at the Mexican consulate in Sacramento.