TAKING THE INITIATIVE

Peru 2015 | HEALTH & EDUCATION | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Óscar Quezada, Rector of Universidad de Lima, on the main achievements of the institution over recent years.

Óscar Quezada
BIOGRAPHY
óscar Quezada was elected rector of the Universidad de Lima for the 2014-2019 period. He holds a PhD and Master’s in Philosophy from the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (UNMSM) and a degree in Communication from the Universidad de Lima. He was also dean of Communication from 2002 to 2014. He chairs the Peruvian Association of Semiotics and was President of the Peruvian Association of Schools of Communication.

What have been the university's main achievements since its foundation in 1962?

This university is an academic, independent, non-profit institution, comprising teachers, students, and graduates and managed by a civil association, which is a private legal entity. We develop professionals to reputable standards. Our origins date back to the 1960s, being founded as a result of the industrial sector taking the initiative to develop alternative academic options to those of the time. Public universities had been highly politicized up until that point, and the decision to create the university was made in the 1962 by a group of university professors along with important commerce and industry representatives. This has given our institution an entrepreneurial character from its first day, and we should highlight the leading role of our first rector, Antonio Pinilla Sanchez-Concha, whose vision was essential to the character of the university today. Along with the Universidad del Pacífico, Universidad Cayetano Heredia, and Universidad Católica, we are part of a consortium of the top four private universities in Peru. When these institutions came into being they represented a new vision of the country, one which was more pragmatic, forward-looking, coherent, and transparent. Fortunately, Peru has taken these values into its overall political and economic development, and these four universities have become key elements of the country's growth. They have set the standards by which the nation governs itself.

What programs does the university currently offer?

We offer 11 Bachelor's degree programs and we are looking into increasing this by offering both civil engineering and industrial design. The most demanded courses at our university are industrial engineering and communications. Engineering is one program that we are particularly proud of, and many engineers building the new generation of national infrastructure have been trained here. We are also the oldest university offering communications studies in Peru. As with industrial engineering, we have been the most innovative university in this area, and have become the most reputable higher education institution for this course. We offer a curriculum that is focused on business, and our work has helped Peru to develop the extremely strong independent print and broadcast media that it has today. Our curriculum has evolved to deal the demands of new media, which is mediated by the internet, and we are investing heavily in new equipment and new real estate to house our programs. Overall, we have become a leading university thanks to the fact that we respect freedom of opinion and strive to uphold a high standard of media.

How has the university incorporated technology into its curriculum?

New technologies change rapidly, and therefore it is a key element in our strategy and in our courses. We invest a lot in new technologies, especially in courses such as communication studies, which is one of our main fields. We have invested in equipment and facilities, with a cinema room, TV studios, and editing areas, among other amenities. We invested $5.8 million in new technologies in the 2013 and 2014 academic years. We also have plans to develop a digital production center as part of a Master's degree program in creation and management of content.

What kind of infrastructure plans does the university have for the future?

We have finally got the green light to build two new towers in our campus. We have plans to expand facilities, and we have land on the current campus designated for this. We also have plans to build a dormitory in order to host the many international students who come here every year. This project is a key undertaking for us in terms of sustained growing for the future and offers other advantages to our students and professors. We have a 10-year plan to develop new facilities such as this.