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William F. Connell School of Nursing

Expanding international horizons

photograph: gary wayne gilbert

Photo of Anne-Catherine Lyon and Cutberto Garza shaking hands
Swiss state councilor and education minister Anne-Catherine Lyon shakes hands with Boston College Provost and Dean of Faculties Cutberto Garza. Looking on (left to right): Swiss education officials Biagio Tedesco and Chantal Ostorero; Dean Susan Gennaro; Boston College Vice Provost for Faculties Patricia De Leeuw.


Boston College Provost and Dean of Faculties Cutberto Garza and officials from the University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland signed a memorandum of understanding in late October that establishes the guiding terms and principles of a collaboration and exchange between the Connell School and the Swiss university. The two institutions will exchange teaching and research faculty; jointly develop international academic programs and scientific research projects; collaborate on academic publications; and engage in other academic, scientific, or technological research of mutual interest.

The agreement culminates a yearlong bid to find ways of providing opportunities for Boston College nursing students to study abroad and gain understanding and appreciation of nursing in international settings. The effort began with a November 2009 special forum at the Connell School, "What America Can Learn from Swiss Health Care," with Dr. Sabina de Geest, professor of nursing and the director of the Institute of Nursing Science of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Basel, Switzerland.

Last February, Dean Gennaro spoke at Swissnex Boston/Consulate of Switzerland on inventing the future of the health care system and new trends in nursing, and the School hosted a series of meetings with visiting Swiss health care and education professionals. That led to undergraduate students and two Connell School faculty members traveling to Lausanne, Switzerland to participate in an international program last summer.