The political scientist Juan Luis Hernández Avendaño is convinced that academia can contribute to the solution of the problems in the Metropolitan Area of La Laguna, which it classifies as atypical due to its identity as it does not have state capitals among its municipalities.
He recently took office as rector of the Torreón Iberoamerican University and says suck on your period (2021-2025) to what “The municipal presidents are walking more and more to agreed and consensual public policies.”
In interview for MILLENNIUM He also talks about the panorama of private education in Mexico and the challenges faced in a concrete way by the school of The lagoon.
Already has a few weeksOnce you took office and have already met with some of the university’s collaborators, what is the diagnosis of the institution and the challenges?
Here the priority is to maintain healthy finances in very difficult times because if the pandemic hit someone with great force, it was the education sector. Fortunately Father Guillermo He did well and we want to continue with that slogan.
There are three great synthesized challenges. The first is to strengthen our Jesuit and Ignatian identity and that in the field of universities might seem strange if we compare it with public universities, but for us it is relevant because the first educational actor in the West was the Jesuits before the states.
The educational legacy of the company of Jesus that emerged in 1551 is very powerful not only in the West but in the East, as it is an identity that raises the relationship between faith and justice.
Historically in this institution there were always Jesuit priests at the head, how is it guaranteed that now that a lay person enters the rectory, the humanistic and spiritual essence is maintained?
Mexicans are used to the fact that without a priest there is no religious or spiritual process, but in the sphere of company of Jesus there is something that we call collaborators in the mission and this unites us to the Jesuits and laity.
By sharing Ignatian spirituality, the laity share the mission and are invited to push the faith in terms of commitment and social impact. It seems very relevant to me because there will be people who can understand the spiritual only as internalization.
Jesuits understand it in action and our faith is an ethic that necessarily pushes social commitment.
Another challenge we have has to do with academic quality and rigor. I think that universities have the great challenge that for our time social networks and technological platforms synthesize reality and to that extent there is increasingly laziness in the generations to read.
It is something permanent that we cannot let go of and especially after the pandemic there was online education where there were many innovations and improvisations because in no university were we prepared to spend 15 months like this.
The third challenge is that none of the above makes sense if we do not address it to social advocacy. I understand our university as an element of transformation in three dimensions: we are interested in La Laguna being a region that briefs on our research and our proposals, particularly on the agenda that has to do with mobility and sustainability.
It seems to me that La Laguna needs more and more metropolitan and non-segmented policies. They have told me the story of the taxi that reaches a bridge and returns, when it really is a region that does not have such a life.
As Jesuit universities, we are interested in what Pope Francis talks about as those wounded along the way and what he invites us to help. Today we locate three sectors: migrants, relatives of the disappeared and support everything that the gender perspective means, particularly because of all the violence that has occurred.
He speaks of the academic issue as a priority and has even mentioned in his first days as rector the importance of betting more on having full-time teachers, what is the diagnosis that is had and what projection?
Private universities in general, unlike public universities, we have other ways of generating income and expenses. The advantage that public companies have is that they live with budgets that they approve in Congress, but private companies have to deal with other types of income.
80 percent only have structures that have to do with teacher training and the remaining 20 percent truly seek to be universities, do research and advocacy with evident critical thinking.
Our vote will be to grow and have a better fundraising campaign from both external and internal resources to improve the faculty of academic departments.
What is the panorama seen from private universities in the current federal government?
My reading is that there is a private-phobia, that is, President López Obrador has a private phobia in every sense. It seems to me that he has an absolutized view of what can be a kind of selfishness of the private sectors for the public good.
I do not doubt that there are private interests that do not care about the public sector and we have defended that we are a privately managed university, but of public interest.
A good part of the public policies in this government are focused on strengthening many public things and which seems good to me, but now it is thought to remove the stimulus from the National System of Researchers for private universities.
Beyond the fact that we do not have public policies that favor us, we will continue to insist from our educational model as 450 years ago that we are universities for social transformation.
It emphasizes the importance of going out to the field and that education does not remain in the classrooms. Is there a specific project on the subject of gender?
It is something that we have to organize because there are different interests surrounding research and we also want to extend it to what makes our campus safe for diversity.
We believe in the diversity of what gender heterogeneity implies and we are all invited to assume that our societies are diverse in every way: sexual, psychological, gender and religious. We are a Catholic university, but here they are not required to be so and we seek that from the Christian point of view we dialogue with the diverse.