Icono de atajos

UIS considers postgraduate courses according to the needs of a new reality

Liliana Arias Castillo, Academic Vice Rector of the Universidad del Valle, presented to the participants, both virtually and in person, a tour of the day’s activities and the conclusions of the event.

With the objective of providing a space to analyze the challenges and perspectives for postgraduate education in the context of the crisis derived from covid-19, the Congress 2022 of the Colombian Graduate Network, ‘AUna nueva realidad: Desafíos para la formación posgradual’, was held at the UIS Bucarica headquarters of the Universidad Industrial de Santander.

The main theme of the Congress was related to the transformations in postgraduate education during the pandemic crisis, lessons learned, quality assurance and postgraduate trends in this new reality. 

The institutions faced situations of desertion, the need to rethink academic programs, updating from social and academic relevance, postponements, low applications and low participation in the calls for applications moving universities to seek new ways to reach students. 

“Traditionally in Colombia training is in-person and the pandemic told us to look for virtual strategies and now we are in this process of returning to the in-person modality with many reservations and resistance from some students and professors, so we must also think about this hybrid modality that also facilitates the development of graduate programs,” said Gilma Flórez Garcés, executive secretary of the Colombian Graduate Network. 

There have been different successes that have allowed to achieve results in the processes advanced in the postgraduate programs of the institutions, such as “the effort from the institutional level and by the professors to incorporate this new mixed modality and strengthen the digital culture of the community; rethinking their processes, educational model and linkage, revaluing the importance of research and its impact on society, as well as the foresight exercises considering the published reports and reports.

Likewise, some mistakes are evident such as trying to return to normality as if nothing had happened, many institutions still do not have a contingency program or transform all their processes to a hybrid model, they do not know what to do with the effects of the pandemic on the physical and mental health of their communities” said Eduardo Gomez Ramirez, president of the Mexican Council of Graduate Studies (Comepo).

Oscar Domínguez González, executive director of the Colombian Association of Universities (Ascún), said that the challenges of postgraduate programs presented during this meeting included the need to open new cohorts, new programs and hybrid models from the supply side, and from the demand side: new models of scholarships and support, double degrees and academic mobility. 

Postgraduate programs must contribute to the solution of the country’s problems, they must develop projects that allow the use of available resources that are achieved jointly with national and international institutions, they must empower the new generations and train the thinkers of the future, with soft skills that bring them closer to the communities.

During this time concepts such as adaptation, flexibility and innovation, have been part of the actions of the institutions that should seek to offer an inclusive and comprehensive education, develop new learning, from the human and thought of diversification.

“Now we are in this process of returning to the in-person modality with many preventions and resistances from some students and professors and then it is also necessary to think about this hybrid modality that facilitates the development of graduate programs; there are many questions, how to continue, how to return and relevance, what to do again, what programs are needed in this pandemic crisis, what training is required; that is why we convened a group of national and international experts from networks that have a very similar mission that is concerned with academic training, research and innovation”, added Gilma Flórez Garcés, executive secretary of the Colombian Graduate Network. 

Among the invited experts: María Chantal Pérez, general director of the Ibero-American Graduate University Association – AUIP; Elena Stashenko, general director of the National Center of Excellence in Research for the Agroindustrialization of Tropical Aromatic and Medicinal Plant Species (Cenivam); Doris Adriana Ramírez, coordinator of the virtual education strategy of the University of Antioquia; Javier Medina, professor at the University of Valle; Claudia María Payán, University of Valle.

Also, José William Cornejo, professor at the Universities of Antioquia and Pontificia Bolivariana and Carlos Javier Mosquera, graduate in Education Sciences, presented their reflections and developments from groups and institutions of Higher Education, willing to move forward with projects in the area of postgraduate studies. 

The following members of the executive committee were present during the first day of the event: 

Luz Piedad Romero Duque, director of the Advanced Training Institute of the University of Applied and Environmental Sciences – UDCA and vice president of the Executive Committee.

José Enver Ayala Zuluaga, Academic Vice Rector of the Universidad del Quindío and General Secretary of the Executive Committee.

Andrés Ramiro Azuero Rodríguez, Postgraduate Coordinator of Universidad del Valle and member of the Executive Committee.

Member of the Committee who accompanied with remote assistance:

José Raúl Padrón Carvajal, Associate Professor at Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana and vocal member of the Executive Committee.

Also in-person modality, the following attendees from the member Institutions of the Executive Committee attended the meeting:

Liliana Arias Castillo, Academic Vice Rector of Universidad del Valle. 

Nathalia Aguilar Izasa, Professional of the Academic Vice Rector’s Office of the Universidad del Quindío.

This academic meeting does not end today because it is an open event throughout 2022, this is the first academic activity, in May the training programs will be invited to organize themselves by areas of knowledge and make their reflections; the next one will be held in August with the allies of the internationalization network of postgraduates and a third meeting planned for October with the allies of the postgraduate network such as Auip, Ascún and Comepo. On March 4, the Ordinary General Assembly was held, in which the 70 institutions that are part of the network met to, among other things, review the 2022 action plan where they expect to have the development of the mentioned activities and other projects that are missing, mentioned Flórez Garcés.