CWU News

CWU delegation visits Mexico to address top state officials

A group shot of many of those who attended the CWU training in MexicoA CWU delegation traveled to Morelia, Mexico earlier this month to lead the initial instruction on “Professionalism and Organizational Culture.”  

The group included Veronica Gomez-Vilchis, assistant director of the university’s Diversity and Equity CenterCWU law and justice department chair Paul Knepper, and law and justice faculty Saul Chacon and Rodrigo Murataya, who organized the training. 

It came about based on a conversation he had with a friend who works for the Auditoria Superior de Michoacán, the agency with oversight for public projects in that particular state. 

“She mentioned to me that there are new professionalism standards and elimination of corruption requirements being imposed on the state by the federal government,” Murataya explained. “She shared her idea about having Central provide training with her boss, the state auditor. He thought it was a good idea and sent an e-mail to Central. That’s how it started.”

The culmination occurred this month when Murataya presented on the topics of leadership, ethics, public administration, and anti-corruption strategies. Chacon also addressed organizational culture and communication. And Knepper spoke on project evaluation and conflict management. 

“It’s gratifying to know that we have a role in bringing positive change to this region,” Knepper said. “While our faculty have a lot to offer, I also think we learn a lot from the experience of working with an agency like the Auditor’s Office in Michoacan. It’s experience that we can bring back for the benefit of our students and our region” 

Murataya acknowledged, “The auditor requested the type of training they wanted to receive. He believes all of these aspects are important factors in creating and establishing professionalism there and overcoming nepotism and other conflict-of-interest issues that have developed over the years.”

More than 250 auditors, state congressman, congressional advisors and staff, other government officials, and lawyers from inside and outside the auditor’s office participated in the two-day workshop.

Of that number, more than 50 have indicated they want to come to the Pacific Northwest for additional professional development.

“They want to learn more about things that will help them do their jobs,” Murataya added, pointing out he is now conducting a survey on the first CWU program. “Once we get the assessment back, we will have a better idea about exactly what type of training we may be able to put together.”

Overall, the initial training is rated an overwhelming success.

“I continue to get calls and text messages on a daily basis from employees [in the author’s office] expressing their gratitude to the training.

They had never had anything like that before,” Murataya pointed out. “They are extremely passionate about becoming a more professional organization and believe we have helped them attain that goal.” 

Gomez-Vilchis discussed workplace issues at the workshop including sexual harassment and treating people with dignity and respect. 

She pointed out that, as the number of LatinX students at CWU increased, international partnerships, such as this, are viewed as a boon to enhancing their experiences and those of faculty, too.

“The Superior Auditor of the State of Michoacán hopes to create a relationship with both Central and Michoacan University of Saint Nicholas of Hidalgo [the oldest institution of higher education in the Americas],” she noted. “We hope students and faculty from both institutions eventually can participate in long-term, interdisciplinary, educational collaboration that would strengthen our connections with Mexico, and vice versa.”

Media contact: Robert Lowery, Department of Public Affairs, 509-963-1487,