La Triada: A partnership between Tec de Monterrey, the University of Los Andes in Colombia (Uniandes), and the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, have completed four years of projects and strategic initiatives to help the development of Latin America.
Recently, rectors and directors of the three institutions met at the La Triada Conference, which was held at the University of Los Andes, to review projects they are developing together and the future of the alliance.
“We’ve defined the path to boost our contributions in education, research, innovation, and social mobility in Latin America for the coming years,” said David Garza, the Tec’s rector and executive president.
La Triada, a union between the three top-ranking non-governmental universities in Latin America in research, educational innovation, and student exchange, was formed in August 2018 to find approaches and consensus for tackling poverty, reducing inequality, and achieving a promising future in the region.
Evolution from projects to high-impact initiatives
The progress of 79 projects conducted during this alliance was discussed during the recent La Tríada Rectors Conference.
Adriana Gidi, Director of International and Strategic Relations at Tec de Monterrey, told CONECTA about this La Tríada meeting.
“During these four years of strategic partnership, we’ve had a great boost, with many projects, collaborations, and opportunities. We’ve also influenced other institutions who are now participating with us in several projects,” she highlighted.
Gidi explained that an example of the evolution of the partnership has been grouping interests and projects into large strategic and transdisciplinary focus areas to work on priority issues, such as educational innovation, urban planning, early childhood, humanities, and student activities.
- Educational Innovation
Educational innovation has been one of the pillars of La Tríada, said Gidi, who listed examples of efforts that have been jointly promoted in this area.
For example, Novus Tríada was created in 2019. This is a fund that aims to foster a culture of educational innovation, in collaboration between researchers from the three institutions, which is based on evidence in Latin America.
Among the call’s winning proposals are projects such as 360-degree videos to evaluate production lines in engineering classes, the use of augmented reality for learning anatomy, an app with a portfolio of evidence, and the use of mixed reality.
During the pandemic, universities added the courses they had on Coursera to the space called La Triada on Coursera, which offers more than 100 MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and nine specialized programs from the three universities.
Currently, this program has more than 16,000 students enrolled, and it also served as a pilot to start Coursera for Campus, a Coursera initiative.
“We inspired great universities such as Harvard and Yale to upload their courses to that platform,” highlighted Gidi.
In addition, they jointly created a MOOC called Doing Business in Latin America, which addresses the political, social, economic, and cultural context of Latin America. It consists of three units that each university of La Tríada teaches, which more than 11,000 people are enrolled on.
- Urban La Triada
This initiative was created in 2020 to jointly develop courses focused on inclusive urban renewal from within Latin America, which are part of these graduate programs:
- Master’s in Urban Development (Pontifical Catholic University of Chile)
- Master’s in Human Settlements and the Environment (Pontifical Catholic University of Chile)
- Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning (University of Los Andes)
- Master’s in Architecture and Urban Design (Tec de Monterrey)
A series of webinars with the theme of “Inclusive Urban Renewal from within Latin America” has also been carried out together.
- Beyond socialization: participation and urban renewal
- Housing, Densification, and Social Integration
- Urban Labs as spaces for experimentation, innovation, and inclusion
- Early childhood
This initiative started a year and a half ago in collaboration with the FEMSA Foundation to improve the quality of life and wellbeing of Latin American children and their families.
As part of this, a series of webinars were held in different academic areas: architecture, public policy, adversity, and well-being.
That’s why the University of Los Andes launched the Imagine Center, which focuses on early childhood, while the Catholic University of Chile inaugurated the Care Center, which focuses on the prevention of child abuse, and another early education project which focuses on the early stages of childhood.
New fields of study have also emerged, such as adversity in childhood, which is very important because it would be the first effort in this direction for Mexico and Colombia, Gidi emphasized.
“By collecting the results, we will be able to picture this issue in the region, which will allow us to propose programs and raise awareness about it. Also, data could be shared to influence public policies,” Gidi explained.
Action has also been taken by the Tec’s Institute for Obesity which is working on a project to prevent childhood obesity in Latin America, including evaluation of maternal health before pregnancy, the lactation period, and the final years of childhood.
- Joint Masters in Humanities
La Triada has helped to create partnerships that promote humanities. One of the actions carried out by Tec de Monterrey and the University of Los Andes is collaboration on their respective master’s degrees in Digital Humanities.
In these graduate courses, students share professors from both institutions for tutoring, project co-direction, and co-teaching. The process to obtain a double degree is currently underway.
Another example is an educational product created by the three institutions: a Master’s in Latin American Studies.
In this program, the faculties of Social Sciences, Arts, and Humanities from each university come together to promote urgent research initiatives in Latin America.
And it gives students the opportunity to conduct research in at least two of the three universities.
La Tríada has also developed a Master’s Degree in Creative Industries in collaboration with the University of Miami, which will start in August 2023.
This hybrid program will offer online courses with digital micro-credentials and short, mixed, and face-to-face stays in Mexico, Chile, Colombia, and Miami.
- Student activities
Promoting student mobility between universities is one of the important actions in this area.
This alliance has allowed universities to share programs that promote the development of young people, such as Tec Ambassadors from the Mexican university, an initiative that has promoted the recruitment of new students to this institution since 2015.
“The University of Los Andes wanted to replicate it, so we have already trained them and recently gathered our ambassadors in Bogotá so that they can learn from each other and exchange student experiences and culture,” said Gidi.
La Triada into the future
The Tec’s Director of International and Strategic Relations pointed out that they also evaluated the future of the alliance during the meeting of the three university teams.
One of the next projects will be the creation of a center for Latin American studies, to strengthen the vision of the region. Also contemplated was the establishment of network stations specialized in research of excellence throughout Latin America.
Finally, proposals were discussed for governance of this alliance, which will be evaluated in January 2023.
All the progress of the joint initiatives can be consulted on La Tríada’s virtual platform.