In terms of quality, our university is built upon two solid foundations, the first being our graduates. We measure quality by the level of development and fulfillment of their dreams, and the improvement in their quality of life. Our second is the qualified professional profiles that meet the current requirements of different sectors. Regarding innovation, it is interesting how we have progressed over the years. We have created 29 innovation projects on which 80 professors have actively collaborated. We work toward the objective of students carrying out their learning process through challenges that are relevant to their specializations. We chose 10 of these to receive financial assistance from the university in 2018. Our goal is for our students to improve their professional development through the results produced by these projects and expect them to take risks by applying new technologies and ideas to improve their careers and professional lives.
Fernando Dávila Ladrón de Guevara
Rector, Politécnico Grancolombiano
Julio Jairo Ceballos Sepúlveda
Rector, Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (UPB)
The university was founded during a critical political situation for our country. At the time, some students in Antioquia sought rapprochement with the Archbishop of Medellín to create the Universidad Católica Bolivariana de Antioquia, and on September 15, 1936, it was founded. Today, the Ministry of National Education has issued a program aimed at educating the best educators so teachers can do their masters and doctorate degrees. Recently, we graduated the first 52 students from our master's degree in education in Puerto Asis–Putumayo. We have additional university extensions, such as one in the city Armenia where we have an agreement with the city's Commercial Chamber that includes postgraduate programs in law, management, and economics, and a business unit with postgraduate programs in Bogotá. We have also been helping our teachers and students study around the world and vice versa, and currently have over 200 foreign students across our different faculties.
José Consuegra Bolívar
Dean, Universidad Simón Bolívar (USB)
USB is a unique university with its own values and mission. The university promotes an inclusive education that since its creation has sought to help groups that have been historically excluded from higher education. And today, after 45 years, we have students from every social and economic background. In particular, our student population is made up of those from the lowest income levels in the region; 92% of our students are from strata 1, 2, and 3, the most disadvantaged of society. Yet we continue to be an educational institution of great quality, research, and innovation. Founded by Dr. José Consuegra, a social scientist, the university's first emphasis was the social sciences, but today we have all the main knowledge areas at the pre-graduate and post-graduate level. We also offer masters and PhDs in education. Our objective is to educate professional researchers who can interpret the social reality of our region and contribute to improving our society's quality of life.
Obdulio Velasquez Posada
Rector, Universidad La Sabana
The university has made interesting steps forward in recent years. First of all, last year we received our eight-year institutional High Quality Accreditation from the Ministry of Education. Secondly, in 2017 we started the construction of a USD50 million building, which one year later has already transformed our campus and competitiveness, both academically and physically. The main concept of the building, which we named “Ad Portas,” is interaction and strengthening the university's relationship with society: its design and spaces facilitate co-creation and interdisciplinary work among our students and faculty for teaching and research, and opens our campus to the local community as well. Third, the fourth industrial revolution has come to campuses worldwide and is transforming every sector with data, analytics, AI, 3D printers, and nanotechnologies. We need to both maintain the traditional university model while transforming ourselves to thrive in this new context.
Rector, Universidad de los Andes (Uniandes)
It is a time to reflect on what has happened here over the last 70 years. If we go back to our beginnings, it is really amazing how a group of youngsters who had just graduated from US universities decided that the best way of contributing to Colombia was by founding a university. None of the founders were over 25, and in those days it was a major innovation, particularly because it had no religious, political, or business backing or affiliation. It was a private, non-profit endeavor. Uniandes started with no campus and no planning, just a clear belief in the necessity of this educational institution in Colombia. They were proven to be right, and it has certainly been a success story. One aspect of this that stands out the most is our record of attracting very smart kids from very underprivileged places in Colombia due to the funding we have been able to develop, firstly through our own financial hub structure, the Quiero Estudiar Program.
Ángela Gabriela Bernal Medina
Rector, Universidad Piloto de Colombia
Our most important accomplishment has been achieving accreditation for the institution. We have five accredited programs and one six-year program that attest to the quality of the institution. In 2017, we managed to present the ministry with new master's and specialized academic programs. We also launched projects with a focus on significant social impact developed by and for the community. Our commitment has always been to provide society with graduates who can work with the community and generate solutions to pressing problems. We operate at the local, regional, national, and international levels and have done this through a pedagogical and didactic development model that integrates discipline and wellbeing from a humanistic perspective. We also have an international audience that allows our students to transfer to other institutions, and we develop international workshops in the inter-semester period that allow foreign students to join midday.
Cecilia María Vélez White
Rector, Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano
We are always analyzing trends. For example, right now there is a demographic change going on in the country: there are less young people entering university, and the country has a lower birth rate than in others. On the one hand, there are many positive aspects about this; on the other, it represents a challenge for us. We have enhanced our master's and doctorate courses, having three doctorate programs and 28 master's programs. Another trend is the changing world where technologies and industries constantly evolve, so we teach our students to learn how to learn. In this matter, we have just strengthened our research group and lines of research on the orange economy (the creative economy), the arts sector, which we are well positioned in, cinematography, fashion, and digital design. All these are the result of the development of the art sector in the city.