Vassar comes to ConTex from Rice University where he served as international advisor and assistant to the president of the university for nearly 10 years. There, Vassar led a public policy initiative, the Puentes Consortium, which focused on public policy issues related to the U.S. – Mexico relationship, from 2008 until 2016.
Vassar was also a Contributing Scholar at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, where he conducted public policy research on U.S.-Mexico higher education issues.
ConTex’s goals include expanding access to UT System Institutions for highly qualified Mexican students and researchers, impacting Texas and Mexico’s economies by developing high-impact, bi-national research in targeted fields, and enhancing cooperation between Texas and Mexico while promoting a better understanding between the two countries.
ConTex launched earlier this year and is housed on the Main Campus at UTSA. The agreement between UT System and CONACYT was signed in 2015 to establish programs that strengthen research ties between Mexico and the U.S.
“Collaboration between individual UT System institutions and CONACYT already existed. What ConTex is doing is deepening its ties with Mexico,” said Randy Charbeneau, UT System’s assistant vice chancellor for research. “Dr. Vassar will serve as the conduit for those partnerships, and we are delighted that we were able to draw him away from Rice University for this challenging and hopefully very rewarding opportunity.”
ConTex has five signature programs: doctoral fellowships, postdoctoral fellowships, collaborative research grants, faculty fellowships and visiting graduate research experiences.
“ConTex will soon be a critical hub of connectivity between Texas and Mexico, and we look forward to building both our binational scholarly community and our joint future,” said René Zenteno, Executive Director of ConTex. “Dr. Vassar brings an extreme wealth of knowledge and expertise that will help further ConTex’s goals.”