Thomas Buntru has been working at the University of Monterrey (UDEM) since 1988. He started as an adjunct professor, first in the Department of Social Sciences (1988-1991) and then in the Department of Modern Languages (1991-1996) where he taught English and created the program in German as a foreign language. In 1993, he was promoted to associate professor. In 1996, he received the Premio Pro-Magistro Roberto Garza Sada, UDEM’s annual excellence-in-teaching award. In 1997, he took over the position of Student Exchange Coordinator and in 2004 he was promoted to Director of International Programs.
His responsibilities include the construction of study abroad and exchange programs, negotiation of cooperation agreements, strategic planning of international programming, and the institutional internationalization of UDEM. He has negotiated strategic relationships with more than two hundred institutions of higher education and created more than 700 exchange options, has taken UDEM to become an institution of reference in international programming in Mexico, and has established a vision for the internationalization of UDEM with several strategic plans. Under his leadership UDEM has become the Mexican university with the highest student participation rate in study abroad. His current strategic plan for the internationalization of UDEM was recognized in 2009 with the Andrew Heiskell Award for Innovation in International Education by the Institute of International Education (IIE).
Originally, from Germany, he studied English and Physical Education at the University of Tübingen (Germany) and, as a grantee of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), at the State University of New York at Buffalo (USA). He completed the coursework for the Master’s in Humanities at the State University of New York at Buffalo, combining studies in Teaching English as a Second Language with German. He is a certified ESL instructor by the Intensive English Language Institute at SUNY Buffalo and, in Mexico, by the Centro Anglo- Americano de Idiomas. He also completed the Master in Education at Universidad de Monterrey. He holds certificates in international education from the University of Minnesota and in strategic planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also a certified court translator in the state of Nuevo León, Mexico. He speaks German, English, and Spanish fluently, and has a working knowledge of French.
He has been a member of the Mexican Association for International Education (AMPEI) since 1997 and participated on its board of directors from 2000 to 2013. From 2009 to 2011, he served as the president of AMPEI. In 2015, he was awarded the Premio AMPEI in recognition of his contributions to the internationalization of higher education in Mexico. He is also an active member of the Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA), of NAFSA: Association of International Educators and of the European Association for International Education. In 2018, he received the EAIE Transatlantic Leadership Award in recognition of his contributions to academic cooperation between Europe and America. He has also served on boards of international education associations such as Compostela Group of Universities, CONAHEC, Forum on Education Abroad, and NAFSA. He is a frequent presenter at international education conferences and has published several articles.