Editorial Team

Puerto Rico is often called the Island of Enchantment or Isla del Encanto in Spanish. It is a popular destination for beach lovers due to its sandy beaches, palm trees, and tropical breezes. In the heart of Puerto Rico, there is a renowned educational institution called Universidad Ana G. Méndez (UAGM). Established in 1949 by educator Ana G. Méndez, the institution began its journey with the establishment of the Puerto Rico Junior College and has since laid the foundation for a transformative legacy that has thrived for 75 years.

UAGM has become a leading force in higher education thanks to the unwavering commitment of its leaders. Guided by the visionary leadership of Ana G. Méndez, the Puerto Rico Junior College faced challenges but ultimately secured accreditation, heralding a new era for higher learning in Puerto Rico. In 1974, Ana G. Méndez passed the reins to her son, José F. Méndez-González, who assumed the presidency. Under his stewardship, the junior college expanded into the Sistema Universitario Ana G. Méndez (SUAGM). This marked the birth of three main campuses—Universidad del Turabo, Universidad Metropolitana, and Universidad del Este—along with university centers across Puerto Rico.

SUAGM’s commitment to internationalization materialized in 2003 with the opening of the Metro Orlando Campus in Florida, extending its reach to the Hispanic community in the Continental United States. This endeavor was followed by the establishment of campuses in Miami and Tampa, reinforcing SUAGM’s dedication to providing accessible education.


In 2011, SUAGM took a pioneering step, becoming the first institution in Puerto Rico to offer 100% online university programs. As José F. Méndez-González retired in 2016, José F. Méndez-Méndez took on the mantle, poised to continue the institution’s legacy of educational transformation. “Our journey is marked by resilience and adaptability. We’re not just educators; we’re architects of societal progress,” affirms José F. Méndez-Méndez, the current President of SUAGM.

In 2019, SUAGM made a significant stride, officially adopting the name Universidad Ana G. Méndez (UAGM), signifying a transcendental step in its evolution. Today, UAGM encompasses institutions in Puerto Rico and the Continental United States, standing tall with over 30,000 students across a spectrum of programs. “The change to UAGM reflects our commitment to global education. We’re not just a university; we’re a community shaping the future,” emphasizes Méndez-Méndez.

Upholding Standards and Committing to Excellence

Universidad Ana G. Méndez (UAGM) is committed to providing quality education and upholding meticulous standards. As an institution licensed by the Board of Postsecondary Institutions (JIP) in Puerto Rico and accredited by the esteemed Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), UAGM is proud of its significant accreditations that shape its academic landscape.

JIP’s licensing ensures that UAGM adheres to rigorous standards mandated by governing agencies, guaranteeing that its educational services align seamlessly with the needs of the diverse population it serves. Compliance with these standards is not only a legal requirement but also a commitment to maintaining high standards in delivering education.

“We are proud to be licensed by JIP, which reflects our commitment to meeting and exceeding the state’s criteria. Our dedication to excellence in all aspects of education goes beyond mere compliance,” says Méndez-Méndez. Additionally, the accreditation by MSCHE demonstrates the university’s commitment to academic excellence. This affiliation confirms that UAGM’s campuses and university centers operate in complete alignment with MSCHE’s mission, standards, and requirements. It is not just a label but a recognition of UAGM’s unwavering pursuit of quality practices and educational excellence.

“Our affiliation with MSCHE is a testament to our dedication to continuous improvement. It involves a rigorous plan, a highly prepared faculty, and the delivery of services that exceed expectations,” states Méndez-Méndez. The MSCHE accreditation also offers tangible benefits for students, as it makes UAGM eligible for federal funding, scholarships, and various aid programs. This not only provides financial support but also underscores the institution’s commitment to providing quality education to a wider range of students.

Accreditations are more than just institutional approvals; they inspect the very essence of academic programs. UAGM has several program-specific accreditations from reputable organizations, such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), ABET, and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). “Program-specific accreditations confirm the quality and rigor of our academic offerings. They are a sign of approval from recognized agencies across different disciplines,” says Méndez-Méndez.

These accreditations, whether overarching or program-specific, act as the guiding compass for UAGM, leading them toward continuous self-assessment and improvement. They are not merely symbols of achievement but reflections of a commitment to deliver an exceptional educational experience – one that promotes academic excellence, embraces diversity and prepares students for a globalized world.

Proactive Support System for Student Success

UAGM is a large institution with three main campuses and eight university centers in Puerto Rico. Their commitment to providing a consistent and high-quality educational experience is evident throughout the organization. The integration of UAGM ensures that all campuses and university centers offer the same academic programs with uniform curricular content.

Méndez-Méndez explains, “We believe in a holistic approach to education. Regular assessments at various levels provide insights into students’ learning journeys and their overall experience within our institution. This ongoing evaluation allows us to identify areas that need attention and make the necessary adjustments to ensure student success.”

One critical aspect of their strategy is the rigorous evaluation process of academic programs every five years. This systematic assessment ensures that the programs align with evolving educational standards and remain dynamic in response to changing industry needs.

“Our commitment to quality extends beyond the academic realm. We employ tools to gauge the persistence of our students, promptly addressing any challenges they may face. This proactive approach ensures that we provide the necessary support for students to achieve their academic goals,” adds Méndez-Méndez.

Each campus and university center at UAGM offers uniform curricular content but has distinctive focuses and specialties, contributing to the diversity of educational offerings. For example, the Carolina Campus is known for its International School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts, which is celebrated for the excellence of its programs. On the other hand, the Cupey Campus excels in science-focused programs such as nursing, respiratory therapy, toxicology, biology, and chemistry.

The Gurabo Campus takes pride in its specialized schools of engineering, naturopathic medicine, veterinary medicine, and dental medicine. These unique offerings are also present in UAGM’s university centers. The Bayamón Center emphasizes health-related programs, the Cabo Rojo Center is distinguished for its culinary arts offerings, Barceloneta focuses on medical technology, and the Aguadilla Center excels in academic programs related to Business Administration.

Additionally, noteworthy programs such as Programa AHORA, which caters to professional adults seeking further education, and the Technical Studies division, with 20 programs providing quick career integration, are available across all campuses and university centers. This inclusive approach ensures accessibility and flexibility for a diverse student population.

Community-Centric Approach to Education

UAGM has a long history of community and engagement, with an enrollment of approximately 30,000 students across Puerto Rico and the USA. The university has created an environment that fosters unity among all components of the community, recognizing that its strength lies in its human capital. As a result, the student takes center stage in every task undertaken at UAGM.

The bond between generations is a unique aspect of UAGM’s community. Many current students choose to study here based on the positive experiences their parents and relatives had in UAGM classrooms. This intergenerational connection contributes to a sense of continuity and shared purpose within the university community.

At UAGM, transparency and respect for diversity are not just buzzwords but are embedded in the institution’s processes and policies. With over 100 student organizations, UAGM brings together students based not only on academic and professional interests but also on causes that enrich their university experience. These organizations serve as avenues for connection, collaboration, and personal growth.

“While basic student services like tutoring and counseling are integral, what sets us apart is the genuine empathy and contact we have with the individual needs of each student. Professors aren’t just educators; they become mentors and role models, reinforcing our commitment to student success,” emphasizes Méndez-Méndez. UAGM’s dedication to fostering a vibrant community extends beyond the traditional, delving into initiatives that promote understanding and appreciation for diversity. The Generation INK initiative challenges stereotypes, advocating that physical elements like tattoos, non-traditional hair colors, and piercings should not dictate professional growth or lead to discrimination.

Another noteworthy project is “ABRAZO: Embracing Diversity, Inclusion, and a Sense of Belonging through Academic, Real-Life Skills, and Cultural Enrichment.” With a grant of $2,959,433 from the Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program-Title V of the US Department of Education, this project aims to offer professional development activities fostering an appreciation for diversity and inclusivity. It seeks to instill a sense of belonging within the university community through research-supported activities. “In our commitment to diversity and inclusion, we understand that it’s not just about numbers; it’s about creating an environment where every student feels valued and heard,” asserts Méndez-Méndez.

UAGM’s Pioneering Venture into Educational Broadcasting

In the realm of media innovation, UAGM has carved a distinctive niche as the first and only higher education institution with a PBS-affiliated television channel in Puerto Rico since 1985. This unique venture, Sistema TV, falls under the purview of the Vice Presidency of Telecommunications and Academic Technology at UAGM, playing a pivotal role in advancing the institution’s educational mission.

Sistema TV isn’t just a television station; it’s a conduit for technological innovation initiatives at UAGM. Through its programming, UAGM extends its commitment to the overall welfare of the Puerto Rican community, offering a treasure trove of quality educational content. “Television is a powerful medium, and at UAGM, we leverage Sistema TV to amplify our educational outreach. It’s not just about transmitting information; it’s about creating an immersive educational experience,” remarks Méndez-Méndez.

This year marks a significant milestone for Sistema TV as it unveils a new corporate identity and launches new projects. What sets these initiatives apart is the emphasis on student involvement, positioning them as active contributors to the channel’s programming. Beyond the confines of the university, Sistema TV plays a crucial role in democratizing access to education and information within the broader community. The channel engages in the production of telecourses, offering general and core component courses that students can enroll in through television programming. This innovative approach provides an alternative avenue for students to access courses in fields such as Education, Business Administration, English, Humanities, and History, among others.

“In designing and producing telecourses, our professors undergo specialized training as academic content specialists. This ensures that the script reviewing and instructional module development aligns with the high standards of academic excellence at UAGM,” explains Méndez-Méndez. The impact of Sistema TV extends beyond the traditional classroom setup, reaching individuals who may face geographical or logistical constraints. It represents a commitment to making education accessible to a diverse audience, transcending boundaries and enriching the learning experience for students. “As we embark on this new phase for Sistema TV, we envision it not just as a channel but as a dynamic platform for learning collaboration, and community engagement. It’s a testament to our dedication to innovation in education,” adds Méndez-Méndez.

Dynamic Approach to Education

In the vast array of academic offerings at Universidad Ana G. Méndez (UAGM), a diverse range of programs caters to a spectrum of disciplines, reflecting the institution’s commitment to providing a comprehensive and enriching educational experience. UAGM boasts 240 academic programs covering health allied sciences, natural sciences, nursing, dental technology, veterinary technology, respiratory therapy, social sciences, social work, criminal justice, communications, technology and environmental sciences, biomedicine, molecular and cell biology, education, business, engineering, aviation technology, computer sciences, fashion and graphic design, architecture, and more. A notable jewel in its academic crown is the José A. “Tony” Santana International School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts offers programs in tourism, hotel management, events planning, culinary management, mixology, bakery, and others.

One of the distinctive features of UAGM is its offering of doctoral degrees in various fields, including Naturopathic Medicine, Counseling Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Nursing Practice, Environmental Sciences, Toxicology and Drug Design, Business Administration, Education, and starting in August 2024, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program. This commitment to advanced studies reflects UAGM’s dedication to contributing to cutting-edge research and knowledge in various disciplines.

Continuing education is a crucial aspect of UAGM’s commitment to meeting the evolving needs of professionals in the workforce. The university adapts to the dynamic landscape by constantly evaluating and updating curriculums to incorporate recent technological advances, industry practices, and emerging skills demanded in the job market.

Flexibility is a key aspect of UAGM’s approach, with the provision of online, hybrid, and in-person courses available in the evenings and on Saturdays. These flexible options allow professionals to balance education with work and personal commitments. The focus is not only on technical skills but also on cross-functional and soft skills such as critical thinking and effective communication, recognizing their importance in a dynamic work environment.

Collaboration with industries and organizations is integral to aligning academic programs with market needs. UAGM emphasizes competency-based and case-based learning to help participants apply theories in real contexts, enhancing the relevance of their education. Continuous training for teaching staff ensures the maintenance of educational quality, and continuous feedback and evaluation of participants and graduates enable adjustments to programs as needed.

Some of the most in-demand professional courses include certifications in Supervision and Leadership, Human Resources, Distance Course Teaching, Child Development Associate (CDA), Thanatology, Neuroeducation, Passive Income Generation, Competitive Proposal Writing, and Basic Competencies in Service and Care for the Elderly. Short courses, such as Chat GPT allied with educators: Educational Content Creation, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Power BI for Data Analytics, Basic Sign Language, and Basic Conversational English, cater to diverse needs and interests.

Vision for the Future of Education in Puerto Rico

As Universidad Ana G. Méndez (UAGM) continues to evolve, it is spearheading groundbreaking initiatives that underline its commitment to pioneering education in Puerto Rico and beyond. President José F. Méndez-Méndez shares insights into some upcoming projects that are poised to shape the future of education at UAGM. “The Gurabo Campus has been at the forefront of developing two groundbreaking doctoral programs: one in Veterinary Medicine, the only one in Puerto Rico, and the other in Dental Medicine. Both programs have received licensing from the board of Postsecondary Institutions. Recently, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Council on Education granted our School of Veterinary Medicine at Gurabo Campus a Letter of Reasonable Assurance, giving us the authorization to admit students for the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program and begin classes in August 2024. Now we are waiting for authorization from the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA),” notes Méndez-Méndez.

In addition to these doctoral programs, UAGM’s Cupey Campus has launched the Doctoral Program in Toxicology and Drug Design, offering students an opportunity to delve into cutting-edge research in these critical fields. Furthermore, the university is in the process of initiating a Doctoral Program in Physical Therapy, licensed by the Board of Postsecondary Institutions and awaiting authorization from the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

“These programs represent our dedication to providing advanced education in fields crucial to the well-being of society. We believe in staying at the forefront of knowledge and research to prepare our students for the challenges and opportunities of the future,” emphasizes Méndez-Méndez. When envisioning its role in shaping the future of education in Puerto Rico and beyond, UAGM acknowledges the significant challenges faced by educational institutions today. The complex interplay of factors, including declining birth rates and economic considerations, underscores the need for universities to be adaptable and responsive to the changing landscape.

“We’ve taken a proactive approach by reviewing our entire academic offering, aligning it with the needs of today’s students and the demands of the workforce. This process involves a constant evaluation of everything we do to ensure relevance and effectiveness,” explains Méndez-Méndez. UAGM places a premium on staying closely connected to the communities it serves, forming partnerships with businesses, non-profit organizations, and the government. The university community is actively engaged in initiatives that enhance the quality of life for the people of Puerto Rico.

“We are committed to serving not only high school graduates but also non-traditional students, including working adults, those seeking specialized programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and those aspiring to short technical careers. Our goal is to be a leading institution in private higher education in Puerto Rico and emerge as the most significant Hispanic university in Florida,” affirms Méndez-Méndez.

As UAGM navigates the complexities of the educational landscape, it does so with a vision that extends beyond the immediate horizon. With a focus on innovation, collaboration, and adaptability, UAGM stands poised to be a trailblazer in shaping the future of education, not only within its local communities but on a broader scale, echoing its legacy of anticipating and effectively confronting the challenges of the future.

For More Info: https://uagm.edu/es

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