Announcing the Borderlands Education Center

Living and teaching on the U.S.-Mexico border

The College of Education is an international leader in research that explores the educational impacts of border life, yet often that research does not get to the communities that would benefit. Our new Borderlands Education Center is an intellectual hub in the rural borderlands of southern Arizona, expanding learning and research opportunities for border teachers and communities. This is the first education center of its kind in the United States.

Educational challenges on the border require an interdisciplinary approach, exploring the intersection of schooling, health, and policy. The center provides a structure for ongoing programming that brings University of Arizona scholars to rural Cochise County, sharing their expertise with rural border communities — enhancing the visibility, impact, and public benefit of Arizona research. The center ensures existing and potential external partners in Cochise County, honoring the university’s commitment to Cochise County. 

For the past eight years, Professor Etta Kralovec has led initiatives for the M.Ed program at UA Sierra Vista that have resulted in more than $3.5 million dollars in grant funding to support the work that will be integrated into the center. The center will allow us to expand and deepen this work by centralizing the structure of the work and by more fully engaging with main campus partners.

The new strategic plan for the University of Arizona explicitly identifies a border initiative: “Make the UA the leader in the field of border studies by creating new knowledge and transnational collaborations and thus position the university as a top destination for students and faculty pursuing border-related scholarship in global, binational, and regional contexts.”

In addition, the mission in the new strategic plan for the College of Education states: "The College of Education promotes learning, research, and transformative action to create a more inclusive and equitable community and world."

The center supports both these strategic-plan initiatives through continued and expanded programming in southeastern Arizona and northern Sonora. In fact, the center already has begun work on the objectives listed here and supports transformative action in southern Arizona via the partnerships and programs listed below.


  • Expand professional development opportunities for border teachers.
  • Sponsor a yearly Living and Learning on the Border symposium.
  • Develop NSF Noyce border teacher leadership program, with emphasis on building the Border Teacher Network, including the development of a certificate in border teaching.
  • Build the "Grow Your Own" teacher-preparation track.
  • Support research on teaching on the border, building research-based designs for educational programming to serve these communities.
  • Describe what needs the center will address.

Teacher professional development sessions are offered one Saturday afternoon per month and are open to M.Ed. teacher candidates and all regional teachers. Guest scholars, faculty, and alumni lead these sessions. In the academic year 2018-2019, Sin Fronteras served 159 teachers, with a cumulative participation of 418 professional educators.

Provides eight Math Teachers Circles per academic year. The delivery of this program is supported by the University of Arizona College of Mathematics and Cochise College.

This NSF-funded program provides scholarships and stipends for new STEM teachers up to $15,100. The M.Ed. has recruited 20 Noyce Border Scholars, eight in Cochise County.

The program has hosted eight annual Living and Learning on the Border Symposiums, attended by Arizona students, staff, local education leadership, and community stakeholders. In addition, teacher collaborators from Mexico attend these sessions with the support of translators.

College of Education Fellowship Will Support STEM Education Along Border
The program will create field-trip sites in rural Cochise County to provide students with informal STEM-learning opportunities, and teachers will receive training and support to improve their leadership skills.