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December 11, 2006

UCSC partnership with Mexican universities offers new role for alumnus

By Guy Lasnier

A cooperative agreement between UCSC and its renowned Agroecology program and Mexico’s Federal Intercultural Universities system has helped propel a UCSC alumnus into the position of founding chancellor for a second public university in Quintana Roo state.

Photo of Francisco Rosado-May
Francisco Rosado-May
Photo: Jose A. Granados

It’s a position for which Francisco Rosado-May is well suited. Until a year ago he was president of the University of Quintana Roo at Chetumal, the state’s only public university. Since April, he’s been a visiting researcher at UCSC’s Agroecology Center.

In October, Acting Chancellor George Blumenthal signed an agreement with Mexico’s Intercultural Universities, a system of seven, soon-to-be 12, campuses that provide access to higher education for indigenous people, helping them obtain scientific knowledge they can apply in their local communities to preserve native languages and culture.

Under the agreement, UCSC will develop partnerships with Mexican campuses in agroecology, language and culture studies. Rosado-May helped facilitate the agreement after discussions with William Ladusaw, UCSC’s vice provost and dean of undergraduate education. Rosado-May said UCSC will benefit as well by introducing the concept of intercultural education here.

“It is a great effort to bring cultures together,” he said, “to bridge differences and work together.”

Rosado-May received his PhD. in biology from UCSC in 1991 after working with professors Stephen Gliessman and Jean Langenheim.

Gliessman, the Alfred Heller Professor of Agroecology, has kept up ties with Rosado-May and given presentations on agroecology in Mexico. He said a principal reason for Rosado-May’s new appointment is the agreement signed in October. Gliessman and Rosado-May attended the signing in Mexico. Blumenthal participated by video link from the UCSC campus.

“The willingness to align UCSC with this new university movement in Mexico came at a critical time for Francisco,” Gliessman said.

Rosado-May said his appointment was made official about two weeks ago after an interview with the governor of Quintana Roo.

Gliessman said the Intercultural Universities focus on three main areas, language, culture and sustainable rural development, including agroecology. Classes are taught in the language common to the particular region and in Spanish.

In Quintana Roo, that language and culture in Mayan. Rosado-May is of Mayan ancestry, a heritage he learned to celebrate while at UCSC.  Gliessman said Rosado-May’s Mayan and agroecology background are ideal for his new appointment as university chancellor.  “The foundations of agroecology are rooted in the Mayan culture,” he said.

He also lauded his protégé’s desire to “maintain his connection with his alma mater, and find ways to build on it.”

“Our ability to build on this program and have our campus to be a part of it is very wonderful,” he said.

Rosado-May said he will return to Quintana Roo in early January to oversee design and construction of the new campus to be built at Jose Maria Morelos, a small town in the interior of the state. A secondary campus is planned at Felipe Carrillo Puerto where Rosado-May was born. 

An earlier profile of Francisco Rosado-May can be found online.


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