Hope College is one of nine colleges and universities from Canada, Mexico and the United States participating in the North American Mobility Project, a consortium focused on the study of ethics and public policy issues in the sciences in North America.

Through the consortium, students from any of the nine participating institutions will have an opportunity to spend a semester at an institution in one of the other two nations represented. The program includes three institutions each in Canada, Mexico and the U.S.

"We believe that Hope College has a great deal to offer the consortium, just as the consortium has a great deal to offer Hope," said Alfredo Gonzales, who is associate provost and dean for international and multicultural education at Hope.

"Our nationally respected, research-based program in the sciences and grounding in ethics as informed by the historic Christian faith help make Hope an ideal destination for the students who will be studying here," he said. "For our students, the outstanding universities with which we are partnered will offer an ideal opportunity to benefit from studying abroad while also gaining a new international perspective on crucial issues in the sciences."

The program has been funded through a three-year, $203,021 grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) that will continue through August of 2010. In addition to Hope, the participating U.S. institutions are HowardUniversity in Washington, D.C., which is the U.S. lead for the project, and the University of Texas at El Paso. The participating Canadian institutions are ConcordiaUniversity in Montreal, Quebec; Université de Montréal; and St. PaulUniversity in Ottawa, Ontario. The participating institutions in Mexico are the Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro; the Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla; and Universidad Anahuac.

The programs of study for the participating students will be multidisciplinary in nature, including not only science coursework and research experience but also work in disciplines such as philosophy, religious studies and public policy. Topics may include areas such as stem cell research, new medical therapies, nanotechnology and privacy in the information age, each informed by the national perspective of the host institution.

Gonzales noted that the consortium includes the opportunity for the participating institutions to develop additional connections, among them potentially research projects and curricular planning.

Hope has already had relationships with two of the institutions for several years. Hope and the Autonomous University of Queretaro established a formal relationship in 1996 that has since included exchanges of students, faculty and cultural programs. Since 1998, Hope and HowardUniversity have maintained a "Preparing Future Faculty" program through which recent doctoral candidates from Howard spend an internship year teaching at Hope.

The college's participation in the program is being coordinated by Dr. Mark Pearson, assistant professor of mathematics. Hope will host its first student through the program, from the Autonomous University of Queretaro, this fall.