Global Partner Spotlights


The most important institution that the University of South Florida partners within Colombia is the Universidad Del Norte - a higher education institution that has characterized itself as one that meets the needs of Colombia's Caribbean Region through its community relations, deep sense of ethics, transparency, and excellence in its academic, extension, and research activities. Universidad Del Norte (UniNorte, UdN) has a large number of academic programs supported by a solid faculty and research system that make great contributions towards the development and growth of its Colombian citizens. 

USF Professor Jose Zayas-Castro presenting at Catesra Global in Colombia at Universidad del Norte

UniNorte is a strategic global partner with whom we can innovate and design strategies to jointly contribute to the internationalization of our campuses. These efforts are particularly visible and valuable for our academic and student community. The USF-UdN partnership has the potential to add a unique narrative to the general USF student success story. Through this partnership, we have the opportunity to teach and learn more about developing joint-programs, practices, and policies that serve our diverse student body and promote our mutual interests. Collaborations like this, being rare, present an excellent opportunity for USF to establish itself as an innovator in the field.


Dr. Kiki Caruson with members of Universidad del Norte International Office

Dr. Kiki Caruson with members of the UniNorte International Office team

Our partnership with Universidad del Norte began in May of 1993, emerging from pre-existing faculty relationships between professors in the Engineering schools. It started when both universities shared a mutual desire to strengthen and enrich educational and research experiences for both faculty and students. This long-lasting relationship reflects the goals of USF as a globally-engaged research university dedicated to student success, where faculty across the University have been encouraged to propose collaborative projects resulting in the creation of dual degree and student exchange programs. Presently, this initial partnership has proven to be both sustainable and widely interdisciplinary, expanding from Engineering to encompass other academic fields and offer students a variety of programs of study:

  • B.A. in Mechanical Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Computer Sciences, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering
  • B.A in Business Administration (Marketing or Finance)
  • B.A in International Relations and Political Sciences
  • B.A in Psychology
  • Master of Arts in TESOL and Linguistics
  • Master of Arts in in History and Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies

You can read more about these individual agreements in the Partnerships section of our Global Discovery Hub

Enrollment and expansion

The USF-UdN programs consistently have an average of 15-20 students enrolled between the two institutions. Although Engineering programs continue to be the most popular, Business and Social Science programs are gaining in enrollment numbers. In addition to the B.A. and M.A. programs listed above, we expect to launch a new dual degree program (B.A) in Economics in Spring 2021.

Spanish Immersion Program 2019

USF-UniNorte Spanish Immersion Program participants, 2019

Through an agreement between the UniNorte Language Institute and the University of South Florida in May of 2019, 16 research professors visited the Universidad del Norte for two weeks, to learn the Spanish language and develop a parallel agenda that establishes links with peers on research topics and of common interests. Ten different units at USF nominated colleagues ready to not only improve their basic Spanish but substantively contribute to the USF – UdN partnership and seek ways to strengthen our academic and research linkages. There are plans for USF to host the next English immersion program in the near future.

Other Projects

We have been transforming face-to-face mobility initiatives into virtual mobility with the support of our campus units, departments such as USF’s Global Citizens Project (GCP), engages Uninorte with opportunities such as:

Operation Global Action | Held in 2020 and 2021, Operation Global Action gave undergraduate students the opportunity to engage in a virtual global experience associated with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of peace and justice (Goal #16). Nearly 500 students from USF and Universidad del Norte (Colombia) representing a variety of majors collaborated online to design solutions to challenges associated with the topic of social justice. The students met virtually over a four-week term and honed skills associated with communication, problem solving, and innovative thinking.

Global Sustainability in the Colombian Caribbean | Held virtually between the USF Patel School of Global Sustainability and Universidad del Norte students in 2020, this program had 3 main components: virtual conferences, group activities, and activities with UniNorte students. Both USF and UdN students gained theoretical knowledge on global sustainability in the Colombian Caribbean to complement their multicultural development studies. Global sustainability was approached through a perspective in the Colombian Caribbean, allowing students to address several of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals including universality, inclusiveness, and a firm commitment to people and the planet. This program was led by highly trained UdN professors in their fields with the participation of USF and UniNorte students in 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Catedra Global | This institutional program at UniNorte offers a space for academic and cultural engagement to strengthen the cooperative ties between the Colombian Caribbean, the Americas, and the other continents. USF has been attending this prestigious event annually since 2015, with a selected group (6-8 individuals) of administrators and professors. Recognized for its continuous and profound analysis of political, economic, educational, and cultural issues related to the current situation of the Americas, Catedra Global promotes debate, analysis, and academic discussions at the highest level for the benefit of our students. This week-long conference serves USF with a space for recruitment opportunities, administrative discussions, and a variety of presentations on topics of mutual interest. Catedra Global is the perfect scene for administrators to take the chance to develop joint initiatives and deepen strategic planning for the following academic year. 


USF Jazz playing at the closing ceremonies of Catedra Global in Colombia, 2018.

USF Jazz at UniNorte | USF Jazz, the premier student jazz group in the USF School of Music, was invited to the closing event for Catedra Global 2018. The team, made up of two professors, nine students, and graduates of the USF School of Music program, along with two UdN music students, performed for those present with a 11-song set, including classics as well as original compositions. Their experience was exceptional. It was the scene for hundreds of Barranquilla residents to bid farewell to the Catedra Global, and also served to open the twenty-second annual Barranquijazz. This is the most important jazz and Latin jazz festival in Colombia and the Caribbean, and has been held annually every September since 1997 in the city of Barranquilla, Colombia.