The Future of the New University in Paraguay:
Towards a New Vision for Higher Education


At Universidad de Asuncion (UNA) in Paraguay
June 24 – 26, 2019

This academic gathering brought together a diverse group of university stakeholders to engage in discussions about the role of the new university and to develop a platform for repositioning the UNA’s strategic plan within the current and emerging social, political and academic internal and external contexts. 

The aim of this conference was to legitimize and position the UNA as an anchor for collectively solving local and national problems through the strategic and innovative development of the university’s three pillars –Academic Management; Research; and Social Engagement.

The Conference is the outcome of the leading work of Rutgers Professor Dr. Gloria Bonilla-Santiago in her role of Fulbright Faculty Fellow at the UNA.  With support from the US Embassy in Paraguay, she led the planning of this event with a team of academic leaders from the UNA. The conference coincided with the selection of a new Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor and the adoption of a new Strategic Plan for the University.

Co-sponsored by: Rutgers University-Community Leadership Center, Rutgers-Camden Office of the Chancellor, Rutgers-Camden Office of the Provost, Rutgers Global, Universidad Nacional de Asunción-Paraguay (la UNA), and the U.S. Embassy in Paraguay

Click here to see conference photos

 

The University’s role in knowledge creation within changing global, national and local, institutional and professional contexts.
This session examined the role of the research university in knowledge creation. This session reflected on the basic purpose of knowledge creation in the university and examined responsibilities of the university for promoting knowledge creation in a range of fields of investigation and levels of learning, as well as the ethical standards that apply. The speakers framed this discussion within the overlapping national, global and local contexts. The discussion fosters a collective exploration of the purpose of knowledge creation and then focus on the responsibilities of the university for promoting knowledge creation and for becoming a catalyst for social change.

Speakers:

  • Ida Castro, Esq., Vice President Community Engagement and Chief Diversity Officer Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, Scanton, PA
  • Oscar Jerez Yañez, Ph.D., Director of the Center of Teaching and Learning, Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Chile

Moderador

  • Yan Speranza, Rector, University of San Ignacio de Loyola


The role of the University in promoting and facilitating entrepreneurship, agency, and the formation of students.

Universities are seen as communities dedicated to the learning and personal development of their members, especially students; as well as the creators, testers, and sites for the evaluation and application of new knowledge. University graduates have enormous potential for innovation and economic development and therefore preparing its students for new careers and for entrepreneurship in a changing society is paramount. This session explored the role of universities as repositories and generators of knowledge and its obligations to equip graduates so that they can obtain viable employment and become active contributors to society. The speakers shared new models and approaches for strengthening teaching and learning in ways that position the university as large and influential bodies in civil society and the state; and as the leadership and capacity developers of the human capital that is necessary to lead our societies.

Speaker:

  • David Méndez Pagán, Ph.D., Rector, The Ana G. Méndez University System, Gurabo Campus, Puerto Rico

Moderador

  • Prof. Ing. José Recalde, General Coordinator of the Polytechnic Start Up Lab of the University of Asunción

 

The role of the University in national sustainable development by utilizing the human capital and resources of the university to protect and develop important national resources – water, energy and forests. 
Sustainable development is anchored in the principle of meeting human development goals while simultaneously sustaining the ability of natural systems to provide the natural resources and ecosystem services upon which the economy and society depend. This session focused on new models and priorities for education within the context of sustainable human and social development that are both equitable and viable. This vision of sustainability must take into consideration the social, environmental and economic dimensions of human development and the various ways in which these relate to education and its potential to prepare students be productive, to continue to learn, to solve problems, to be creative, and to live together and with nature in peace and harmony.

Speaker:

  • María Laura Ortiz-Hernández, Ph.D., Professor, Center of Research in Biotechnology, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos, Mexico

Moderador

  • Ing. Arturo González, Lead Researcher in Energetic Systems of the Politechnica University of Paraguay

 

Higher education curriculum, teaching, and learning practices to develop students that are prepared to tackle social problems in the future.
The role of higher education has evolved from one of ensuring that citizens are well trained, to one that fosters the creativity, entrepreneurship, civic and critical spirit of its students. Today, the capacity to learn and a lifelong willingness to face new things and modify learned expectations are at the core of teaching and learning. In a knowledge society, education anchors the capacity to be creative in an environment of particular uncertainty, while also preparing new professionals that can understand their place in society and the global order. The speakers lead a discussion about the necessary changes in universities to continue their mission to educate, train and carry out research by capitalizing on interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches and new teaching/learning approaches that enable the development of critical and creative thinking.

Speakers:

  • Cristina Díaz López, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Department of Analytical Chemistry, University of Havana, Cuba
  • Lic. Federico Mora, General Coordinator, National Program of External Scholarships, Republic of Paraguay
  • Yosmeriz Román, Director of Enrollment Communications, Rutgers–Camden

Moderator:

  • Norma López, Director General of Universities and Higher Education Technical Institutes of the Ministry of Education and Science, Republic of Paraguay

 

 New academic concepts to promote ethics, equity and transparency in the higher education system and government.
This session addressed the potential role of higher education for addressing issues of government corruption, transparency and public accountability, integrity and equality, and civility through training and capacity building. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s recent strategy on democracy, human rights, and governance frames “greater citizen participation and inclusion, and more accountable institutions and leaders” as its primary high-level objectives, arguing that this framework will help “empower reformers and citizens from the bottom up.” The university as the main provider of knowledge and shapers of new intellectual capacity and citizenry is at the epicenter for promoting new conceptions about ethics, equity and transparency. Speakers on this session lead a discussion about the role of the university in promoting societal development through accountability, transparency, participation, and inclusion as integral to their mission for teaching, research and service.

 Speakers:

  • Zully Vera Galván, Ph.D., Rector, the National University of Asunción
  • Michael Palis, Ph.D., Provost, Rutgers-Camden
  • Kathleen M. Guerra, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy in Paraguay
  • Donna Nickitas, Ph.D., RN, NEA-BC, CNE, FNAP, FAAN, Dean, Rutgers School of Nursing -Camden

Moderator:

  • Fátima Barboza, Responsable de comercialización del CETTRI-UNA