Rector David Garza set out the challenges facing the world’s universities after COVID-19 and what Tec de Monterrey can contribute towards solving them at a teleconference held by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
Garza was one of the speakers at the event, the University Leaders Dialogue, which was a meeting for the leaders of 30 universities from across the world. Its keynote speaker was Scott Galloway, a digital marketing professor from the New York University Stern School.
The central topic was preparing universities to deal with the crisis and serving society better, for which Garza presented the case of Tec de Monterrey.
Garza explained that the Tec has performed outreach and support for the community during the pandemic through social impact initiatives, as well as the work of research and health care undertaken by TecSalud.
“We want to contribute initiatives and ideas that not only impact Tec de Monterrey, but also help us as higher education institutions around the world. We bear a great deal of global responsibility,” said the rector in an interview with CONECTA.
In his speech, this Tec leader invited other leaders to reflect on the work of universities in two scenarios: before and after COVID-19.
Dr. Garza highlighted the Tec’s efforts in the following areas:
- Organization during the crisis, with an effective spirit of service
- Transforming a world-class academic and research model
- Leadership in the area of educational innovation and continuing education
- An invigorated approach to inclusion, equality, and citizenship
- The relevance of international partnerships such as The Triad
He underscored the importance of an emphasis on better use of new technologies at universities being accompanied by the “human touch” and empathy.
“Our task is focused on the educational part, on research, and on the issue of community impact. These three aspects were already important before COVID-19 and it’s even more important now to think about what they will be like after COVID-19.”
Garza, who will succeed Salvador Alva as president of the Tec on July 1st, also spoke about how important innovating in education is to universities, as was the case for this institution when it implemented the Flexible Digital Model Plus.
This remote digital model has new capabilities and technologies for academic continuity, as well as student experience resources for mental health, selective learning, and community outreach.
“We had to migrate to distance learning in very short order. We see that the topic of educational innovation has now become something crucial that we should reinforce and accelerate.
“Lifelong Learning will become more relevant and important now in this post-COVID-19 context. If we already believed it to be important, it’s now more important than ever to universities,” he said.
Garza said that the Tec is thinking about creating an institute for the future of education, which would look at aspects of pedagogies and technologies for distance learning and for traditional higher education.
“We want to contribute initiatives and ideas that not only impact Tec de Monterrey, but also help us as higher education institutions around the world.”
Only two Latin American universities were invited, Tec de Monterrey being the only Mexican university.
Present were the presidents of MIT, Zhejiang University, King Abdullah University, Hong Kong UST, Carnegie Mellon, the University of Miami, Georgetown, and other institutions chosen and invited by the WEF.
The event was chaired by Olivier Schwab, Director of the World Economic Forum.
An urgent call was made during this forum to foster a fairer, more compassionate, and more sustainable future, in which universities will play a central role.
“Something different is on its way. We’ve managed to make a lot of progress, and the higher education sector around the world has managed to react, but new challenges are on the way as we construct this new normality.
“We want to contribute ideas, with our abilities to build upon this reflection, upon those energies that this new normality may require of us in the face of the obstacles and challenges we have,” he said.
The rector said it was important for the Tec to participate in these types of forums, which allow the Tec to position itself internationally.
“First of all, it’s a great privilege and honor to have a seat at that table, more so when they provide us with an opportunity to speak our minds.
“These forums are an opportunity for the Tec to go international, for leaders from other parts of the world to see the Tec, for us to learn from them to construct ideas, and to see opportunities for synergy with leading universities from around the world,” he concluded.
The session concluded with an agreement to turn what happens in this pandemic into an opportunity for a global renaissance in values and actions for human dignity and flourishing.
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