More than 25 years linked to the UANL and in 2013 celebrating its 80th Anniversary, I would like you to highlight Doctor those events you remember with greater satisfaction.
I am a doctor, my specialty is anatomical pathology and I trained in the university, in the university itself in a general way, and I have a complete doctorate in my area of knowledge. As I am a pathologist I have a doctorate in anatomical pathology from the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid and Nuevo Leon. In my training phase I have a university career where I started as professor, head of the pathology department of the School of Medicine and the University Hospital. Later on, in my training process, undergraduate and postgraduate courses, I had the chance to participate in the syllabus changes of the medicine course, of the postgraduate courses in different medical specialties and that gave me that chance to begin working in the administrative sector. First I became assistant director of the School of Medicine and the University Hospital, and then I became director. Here the director is at the same time the director of the School and hospital. After that I became secretary general and after that dean. That is why I believe I have a university training, from teaching to working in the administrative sector, and now I have to participate as dean of the University and that implies certain obligations. One of them is the representativeness the institution has in federal and state governments, in different organizations, committees, councils, and the work in the institution as well. Our institution has 153,000 students, it has 29 high schools, 26 schools, 37 research centers, more than 15,000 half of which are University professors, and 60% of them work full time. It is the third largest institution in the country. We cover 37 out of 51 townships with schools. We have a very important regional impact in the northeast area and in the national roll. Taking into account bachelor and postgraduate students between 15 and 17% of them, depending on the course, are from other states. We have quite an important impact. Among the most relevant indicators of the institution, apart from its size, there is a very significant education quality program. We certify our courses of study through the existing national organisms, that is to say, there are committees that evaluate us. All bachelor’s degrees are level 1, in the last years in a consecutive way, which implies a permanent quality program. We also have national certification councils for those courses with councils, and that gives us the opportunity of being at the national forefront, and this is possible because our educative models are based on competency. We developed an education model based on competency. We carried out an internal education system in the University so that all levels of education are put together in one function that we call education quality. In this process to improve competency we have established a strategic plan that allows the institution to go from one mission or vision, for a period of time, to other ones. That is to say, we created a 2006 vision at that time, a 2012 vision, and now a 2020 vision. As a result, we can measure indicators, set goals and establish what we want for the institution in the long term. With this planning process, these visions, the university was able to create consulting bodies to become stronger. We have an outside consultant board, made up of businessmen that bind us. We have a monthly meeting with them. I visit a company every month and this leads to a feedback so that out programs and plans coincide with the needs of the market or society.
In this consulting board we have a very important binding program. And we also have the international part, we have a foundation, which is another consulting body, through which we get additional resources for infrastructure and student transport. We generate money to send around 700 to 800 students abroad. We want to double it. We obtain the scholarships to give economic safety to students so they do not interrupt their studies. We grant 80,000 scholarships per semester. It is the university that grants the largest number of scholarships, with social commitment. And the foundation helps us with a part to give them not only the tuition but also a resource to be self-sufficient (transport and food). We also have an international consultant board, there are 12 consultants around the world, presided by Dr. Thomas Fox from Harvard, and we benefit from the world. So the education model allows this, and the development of programs, to get feedback from other sectors so that the university does not remain static and changes. What do we do with that? Well we open new courses, researches and binding. In the last years we created 10 new courses such as aeronautics, petroleum engineering, digital media and animation, IT Security, geophysics engineering, etc. This gave us the chance to work in a model to offer students more varied options and especially quality. Students receive, within that training, important language programs, etc. For example, we bilingual progressive programs in English, French, Italian, German and Chinese, just to name a few, and these are taught since high school, because we are working on the student’s profile in the 2020 vision. I mention all this because that is how a planning process is integrated. Besides the opening the university has had thanks to this kind of program, I think that the international mechanism we are promoting has been a relevant part of it. I have to work on the 2020 vision and we have applied the education quality to that vision. Everything is certified, organized, has an education model, a research model. It was very important that the 37 centers were put together with companies, the sports sector, the job sector working together with the society, the connected certified administration part. And all this gives the university a model with indicators that are currently being assessed internationally to be part of world rankings. That is currently being made. We are with evaluating bodies and by the end of this year we will have been evaluated and we will be present. It was a plan made in advance. But within this generic framework, social involvement or social responsibility is a very important topic. We are a public institution and we have state and federal budget financing so social commitment is very important. The university has 80,000 scholarships, 153,000 students, covering most of the cities in the state, national and regional coverage, because it has a significant impact. And the most important impact is that we give education with fairness, independence. Regardless of your social status, your religion, you have the chance to go to school. Within this binding moment we were able to work together with companies to make an incursion to the city of knowledge. As we have education quality, a strength regarding research centers, more than 532 researchers from the national system, more than 300 permanent research programs and we create patents and new knowledge the integration to the city of knowledge is very simple. Universities are knowledge. One just associate with companies and the government and you make the famous triple helix. And that is the key to Nuevo Leon’s success: our mentality as education institutions, the private sector that accepts us as partners and a facilitator government. And that has led to the development of parks such as PIIT where the university has research areas, some are out of there. We have the engineering one in PIIT and we are creating the Nano toxicology one, and we are to create a data center, just to name a few. That has given us the chance of relating to companies, to create an important synergy, a place where my graduates have job opportunities, where the process of professional practice and development take place, and where knowledge has an impact because it is aimed at a company and the needs of the company. So the state grouped companies into clusters in which all institutions are present, even our university. The strongest one is the Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon because it has the largest number of researchers, all the infrastructure, it has 26 schools, and all the areas of expertise you can name are there, and companies ask according to their needs. And that range of services and opportunities are provided by the university to strengthen that bond with the triple helix. It is a simple way to see it, but it was hard in the state, first the culture, and then the company has to accept you, because you are a public institution. They accept us because we develop a program and we are effective. We are the university that articulates the most with private and state companies in the country, we are number one. What does this cause? Well, we lower funds because these indicators go up. Education quality and research have increased. So this goes to the linkage and gives me funds. So we are one of the universities receiving the largest amount of funds from CONACID (National Science and Technology Council) or from different investment funds. To do this we measure our institution with indicators and we noticed there was a need to make a change of mental paradigm. We decided to enter a significant entrepreneurial process, creating our own spaces to build up companies, company consultancy and trading of products, etc. That is to say, we created an entrepreneurial product. In order to do this, I, as dean, developed a secretary I called “Secretary of Innovation and Economic Development”. We are the only university with a secretary or an assistant dean of economic development. Through this we give a normative to this framework, to create linkage units in each school. Each school, according to its expertise of knowledge, works together with the company. So we create a permanent entrepreneurial program so that the young person that finishes or the researcher is able to apply his knowledge and generate resources. As a result, we developed a company linkage center and we are currently building up 42 companies, some of them are medium-size, others are high technology companies. Last year, we were awarded the national SMEs price after a LED bulb. And this process opens our way to global communication. We have a World Trade Center franchise. We are the only ones in the country, allowing us to see our products and interactions around the world. We provide consultancy to more than 2,500 SMEs and this very significant because it involves a change of paradigm. In a few days we will hold a world summit with exhibitors from all over the world to integrate ourselves more to the process of globalization. This international part is connected to what the University is preparing for the future. This entrepreneurial part is very important, it is possible because there is a relationship with companies and it is part of the knowledge society program. It is promoted by the state and a pioneer in the country. In fact, the Nuevo Leon model is been copied in Tabasco, Hidalgo, the deans of those universities have talked to me to know about the model of the university. Models are given and copies, those are good practices. The most important word to be successful is will. If the parties are willing it will happen, if parties are not willing then it will not. Going back to the subject, in this project, in the 2020 vision, we have structured a cultural program. We are the university, outside of Mexico, holding the largest number of cultural events. We have 1,500 cultural events per year at all levels, from symphonic orchestras to groups. We have also encouraged national and regional identity, the general part, and we have taken this to the medium-upper part. Artists go to schools now, they teach sculpture, painting, drawing, give conferences. And we have done a nice and motivated coordination so that high school students, before going to college, have an important training image. We are number one in sports. We are American football champions, so we have bet on sports. We have a unique infrastructure in the country, because we have trained coaches, we sent them to the US, etc. so that they have a quality phase. In this linkage stage we have, training teachers is very important. For example, I tell professors to which part of the world we are sending them, we send them to be trained, they come back and implement it. All High school teachers go to French high schools, they attend a two-week course, and then they come and implement the quality program here. And we send them to Argentina or other parts of the world so we have globalization. So this 2020 vision, that encompasses everything I have just mentioned, implies having a measured long term vision. But I do not want to miss social responsibility which characterizes the Universidad de Nuevo Leon, social commitment. I think we have been a changing factor there. The university is 80 years old, it was the first university in the state. All the others universities and the institutional training process are based on it. During that period more than 600,000 people graduated. Our contribution to HR is acknowledged by companies nationwide. But regarding social responsibility we have gone a step further. We have decided, together with the state government, with the advantage of having governor Medina, to support all the social programs he has, which is the right thing to do. If the governor asks me to help developing an executive hospital project, I will do it. Nowadays the university provides free education to all marginal areas in the state. We provide free high school education. And we have changed the paradigm in the affected areas because the state has 42 marginal areas with poverty. And how do you change poverty? You change it with education, culture, sports, values and opportunities. And they get opportunities if you prepare them. So this social process is taking place. We are going to develop family companies. Our entrepreneurial process will go to those place and we will select those groups willing to participate and to create their own company advised by the university. And this is an ongoing process so that the university has social responsibility. There is also a sustainability program to protect the environment, energy plants, well. That is the university I want to have in 2020, offering quality without leaving its path which is social responsibility. And this is happening around the world. Universities were measured by their Nobel Prizes and now they take into account whether they are a factor for change in society. I went to Shanghai last year to the world summit of high-quality universities. An important subject we discussed was the paradigm of rankings, that means everybody was to be in the rankings, but they are like a virus, they get us sick. So they are going through a process of change and they are taking into account the social responsibility process. The Dean of Aarhus University, in Denmark, clearly stated that he change the education model looking for the social aspect, and I thought about what we are doing, because we were born in a social part. The university was founded as a social change in 1943. And it still is a social change today. In 1971 we became autonomous. Autonomy has given us the freedom of self-regulation to set our course. That is the true autonomy, where do you want to take the university to?
It is not a university but a whole 2020 universe. It is an amazing chart, it is very well structured, it has great bases to keep playing, keep expanding from there. It is remarkable that a public university has so many structures in the business world and based on research and development. The international component, I am thinking about a Foreign Policy reader, from any country where we distribute it, who is pondering different education options, what would be the offer for international students taking into account undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
We are working on a dual-degree program. We have joint programs with Spain, France, the US, and that means a big step for us. I think universities should work on an integral model. I think that our social organization ANUIES, the organization that gathers public and private institutions, is working on the model, which has made significant progress, to get to an agreement and receive the recognition of qualifications, so you can study at MTY or GDL and you are part of the same acknowledged university, even outside of Mexico. Brazil won us because it made a quick recognition so they integrated their education programs and you could have mobility. At the same time, it made agreements with foreign institutions outside of Brazil, so the recognition of qualifications was the same. And that should be applied to everything we have. We have agreements in the US with the University of Texas with whom we are working hard. And I can mention many more. In the international process the first step is mobility. And in that aspect we are sending students, professors and we are even receiving them. In this international process we have to develop strict educative models, such as credits, how much is a credit, how it is recognized. In our case, our credits equal European credits that make recognition easier. We work with similar models in the US depending on the area of knowledge. We have a permanent practice program, except for medicine in the US due to requirements, but we can do it with Europe. As regards that international process I plan to double the number of students sent abroad next year and to receive a similar number of foreign students. I am currently sending almost 800 and I am getting 370 from different countries. That enables a cultural reciprocity. But we need professors to reach the next point and then set the knowledge so that the new formation of knowledge has an impact. We need to work on that. We are looking at the rankings and I am modifying programs according with the needs so that students have world competence. They asked me for Master of Aeronautics and I opened it. We are one of the best aeronautical centers in the country. The student there needs world competence. The international one is very important. We are giving students, boys, professors the chance and the university is carrying out this model because it has to. Here I have the evidence: you are international.
What are the most important events you have wanted to do for that figure?
First of all, telling society, in this case Nuevo Leon, about their university. Its name is Autonoma de Nuevo Leon. So Nuevo Leon needs to know what the university has done in this last 80 years and what it wants to do in the future. We have developed a very ambitious program encompassing the academic, cultural, sports part and great events like the Festival Alfonsino. We have Alfonso Reyes complete work in the Alfonsina chapel and the festival lasts one week. We have book fairs, etc. We have massive events all year long. We want the President or the Secretary of Education to come for our 80th anniversary. We will have the “Cancelacion del Timbre Postal” (Printing of Stamps), an important event, the sessions where we award Doctorates Honoris Causa, Professor Emeritus, research awards, commemorative medals. During that year of celebration of its foundation other characters celebrate years, such as Jose Eleuterio Gonzalez who founded the university in 1857. It will take the entire year. Nobel Prizes will visit us, well, there are permanent activities encompassing all aspects. They will conclude in October with a great event, the Congress of the Americas on International Education. 40 American countries are coming. It is an organization called IOHE. This gives us the chance of holding that international congress and the university will be its venue. It is the most important congress. Last year it took place in Rio. That was when I requested being the venue, because I am the vice president of the organization in Mexico. It is going to be an important event because there will be good practices. Those good practices are the bases of the business linkage model. People such as Carlos Slim or Miguel Aleman are coming, just to name someone. And it is a great event for the city and it will close the 80th anniversary of the university.
You are a doctor. I would like to know, what moves you? Why have you decided to be the head of this institution? It is a little different from what a pathologist would do every day.
I think it was a motivation. I grew inside the University in an academic way. I think I have done it well, I have books, articles, researches, I have trained doctors, specialists. And it happened by accident, there was a political change in the institution, in the School of Medicine in particular, and the head at that time asked me to participate as assistant director. I was teaching at that time and doing research, and I had an administrative function. And I realized there was more to be done. I was motivated to make a change where I was making suggestions, especially connected with what I like the most: education. Education is a very important goal for me because as head of the School of Medicine it gave me a place among doctors and improved programs. I think I have done it well. And I improved the University Hospital. It required investment in resources and I made an agreement with private companies. It was one of the first times the university got resources from companies and people from the community to remodel the hospital for the health sector which is one of the strengths of the university. And I realized I had an important aptitude towards service and improvements so I was satisfied. Then I had the chance of becoming Secretary General and I realized the University is bigger than the Hospital General, so I learned about the different levels and how they grow. So I multiplied the potential of change. So you become aware of your expertise and now I feel fulfilled because I am making the changes. But in that important process I think that as dean I have not changed social responsibility. I have given a social image to the institution, of openness and equality. That is my greatest satisfaction. If you asked me what do I want from a graduate student, first that he has identity, that he does not lose his values, that he understands who he is, he owes it to society, it has to transform him, that what we taught him was for a reason, and that reason is the factor of change. That is the most valuable thing the University has done and is doing. Yesterday we signed an agreement with disabled people. We have an agreement with 380 young disabled people studying in the university and the adult programs. All this is social responsibility.