Category: Universities

Editor’s Letter: University Lessons

I learned about universities on the barricades. Well, not exactly. I was a philosophy student at Barnard—the women’s college at Columbia University—when the uprising began in 1968. Students, including my boyfriend and several classmates, took over buildings to protest…

The Last Word

More than twice as many Latin Americans are attending institutions of higher education than two decades ago, and the number will continue to increase as more students graduate from secondary schools. ReVista’s timely focus on higher education is thought-provoking…

Making a Difference: A Problem With the UN Millennium Goals

Every Saturday for two years, Estevana Sánchez walked through the jungle for miles, in the dark, crossing a river in the rainy season, to finish high school. Her five teenage children did the same. At the end of the trail, they took a long bus ride to the town of San Juan del Sur…

First Take: Innovating Universities

The next decade of higher education in Latin America will have a very important influence in the future of Latin America itself. It is in universities that most of the public and private leadership will be educated. It is in universities that many of the ideas about how to…

Venezuela’s Student Movement

Students in Venezuela have an 84 percent confidence rating in polls among the public, higher even than the Church or banks, according to www.datanalisis.com. Our struggle for democracy sometimes feels like the struggle of David against Goliath. However, we insist on…

Chile’s Student Protests

Less than a decade ago, academics and journalists almost always referred to Chile as a “model” country, praising its economy, political transition and democracy. Always a simplistic characterization, it nonetheless stuck for many years, until the unexpected 2011 explosion…

Student Activism

“Democracy, here? That is a joke!” remarked Veronica, one of the thousands of “rechazados” who failed to be admitted to Latin America’s largest public university (UNAM) and leading representative of the “Yo Soy 132 Movement.” For this 19–year old student, who preferred…

Capitalism in the Classrooms?

All over Latin America, for-profit private universities are flourishing. They range from excellent elite institutions in wealthy neighborhoods to so-called “garage universities” of uneven equality that teach varied trades and professions. However, Brazil’s strenuous exit test on completing…

Combating Inequity through Higher Education

Public and private sectors must form alliances in order to offer quality education for the majority of the population. Throughout the Americas, students have been protesting, particularly around the issue of burdensome student loans. In Canada, the United States…

Building Knowledge Economies in Central America

Universities have become essential to how countries develop economically. They promote information and communication technologies (ICT), health sciences and medical instrumentation, new crop seeds and modern agriculture and sciences in general. In short, they are…

In the Eye of the Beholder

It’s ridiculous to imagine that anyone would want poor quality from any product or service that they needed. So, not surprisingly, the many “consumers” of higher education want good, if not outstanding, quality as well. But what does that mean exactly? It’s relatively simple to…

Venezuela: Forging Knowledge

How does a student figure out how to be a petroleum engineer or a social worker? The traditional path is to study, then get an internship and finally go out into the real world. At the Universidad Tecnológica del Centro (UNITEC) in Valencia, Venezuela, we have incorporated…

Strengthening Teaching and Learning in Latin America

In April 2006, Chilean high school students took to the streets demonstrating against the cost and quality of public education, startling the newly-elected government of President Michele Bachelet. A further wave of protests by both high school and university students in 2011…

The MECESUP Program in Chile

As the rain poured down on a gloomy day in Concepción that June in 1997, I received a rather unexpected phone call from the Ministry of Education. I had just ended an eight-year stretch as vice-president of research at Universidad de Concepción in the south of Chile and…

Doctorates, Colombian Style

“You do know this will be the kiss of death to your academic career” was the unenthusiastic response of my adviser to the news that I was going to marry a classmate and move to his native Colombia. It was 1990 and I was ABD in Yale’s doctoral program in political science. I…

University Faculty

One of my favorite things to do in the cold New England months of January and February is to go to Wilson Farm in Lexington, Massachusetts, and marvel at the wide variety of out-of-season fresh fruit. I have always wondered where it comes from, how it…

Student-Centered University Learning

Teachers teach. Students learn. This is the dominant paradigm of university education in Latin America. But is this age-old model sufficient to prepare students for tomorrow in a rapidly evolving region clamoring for innovation? More and more, educational reformers…

Catholic Universities

On July 20, when this article was already sent to the editor, Vatican State Secretary Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone prohibited the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú from using the words “pontificia” and “católica” in its name. Reasons were given—some false and…

Move Over da Vinci!

On the cusp of the “Age of Reason” in Mexico City, the jewel in the crown of Spanish America, the Royal and Pontifical University’s Professor of Mathematics, Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora (1645-1700) sat at his desk, one may imagine, his fine English microscope…

Management in Latin American Universities

It is often said that universities are conservative organizations, slow to change, wedded to their ancient rites and cherished routines, or to newer traditions more of the “invented” type, as when universities established in the twentieth century in Latin America distort history…

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