On Monday January 28, Dr. Bernardo Gonzalez Arechiga, UVM’s Institutional Rector delivered his first webcast to the university community. The exercise was well attended and members of the community had the opportunity to talk with the incoming rector for an hour. During the conversation they discussed issues central to university life, including the mission of the university, the focus on skill development, the new model of university education, and the role for professional practice and academic management.
Dr. Gonzalez Arechiga shared that his leadership would focus on four central elements. First, focus on the student with a renewed commitment to quality in their education. Second, continue to meet UVM's mission, which he described as ambitious and modern. Third, continue to contribute to the development of Mexico through the weight of the entire UVM community. Fourth, strengthen academic management. "UVM has a very solid academic status, we need to ensure the full implementation and that means renewed academic processes."
During the event he also addressed areas that will be focused on, including the opportunities for internationalization that are available through the Laureate International Universities network. The Rector said that the exchange of students and teachers is one part of this, but we must not forget that there are great opportunities for internationalization at home, through each degree program.
Regarding the educational model based on skill development, the Rector said: “Teachers are essential in this model. The model requires creativity in designing activities, the use of technology and feedback from groups. My colleagues that lead the different academic verticals have worked with many UVM professors identifying good practices and identifying the critical areas of development. We can all learn from that. "
When approached about the challenge of increased competition and in particular in reference to "working adult" programs, the Rector said: "Competition in education is very important and growing. Our commitment is to better understand the needs of working adults and the labor market. We need to be close and be creative with our academic offerings, the use of technology, internationalization and other elements. The challenge in the end is to be different from other offers and deliver value, good execution in the classroom, labs and learning activities. Again, the work in the department, verticals and lines of business is very important. We must learn to work together more effectively. "
Participants also raised questions related to the difficulties of integrating competency model, to which Dr. Gonzalez Arechiga said "there are deployment challenges both in the classroom and in distance education. UVM's goal to advance competence based education is very important and we must ensure that unfolds seriously. It is a great responsibility on our progress but we're not done. It is one of the great current academic responsibilities of our university. It is a major challenge for everyone."
With regard to professional practices, the Rector said: "professional practices are critical to our educational model, I see some programs closely aligned to this goal, like Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts, and I also see progress in Health Sciences. The challenge is great, given the large number of students nearing the end of their programs and the wide range of subject areas. Creating opportunities for professional practices is one of UVM’s priorities. This should involve our entire value chain. It is a task for everyone."
Asked about his vision for UVM in 10 years, Dr. Gonzalez Arechiga said: "It's an excellent question: how should we be in 10 years? First of all I would like each one of us to have an answer to this question and to fight for that reality. Building a University is a collective task. We all have to contribute. I would like to see UVM as a solid pillar of national development, creating social mobility for the middle classes. It should also be a very solid part of the Laureate International Universities network. I would like to see a more cohesive alumni network. I would like students demanding academic quality and accepting the challenge of that training. Mexico needs a different attitude about higher education. UVM should contribute to that change. We have the size and talent to contribute."
This article was originally written in Spanish and has been translated into English to be shared on the Laureate International Universities website.