The constant changes and transformations of today’s society challenge institutions of higher education to train integral leaders, professionals and competent graduates, through an educational model of excellence that prepares its graduates for the human, scientific, technical and professional fields. This is achieved by developing learning from the experience of the students, which allows them to reflect and be critically aware of their actions and decisions.
This context requires from Higher Education a commitment to: greater demands for quality, relevance, accountability and transparency of public accounts, efficient use of its resources and greater social inclusion. This reality implies advancing in the modernization of higher education, in order to guarantee the quality of training processes and the fulfillment of promoting development, providing students not only with the tools to contribute to the collective achievements of society as committed citizens, but also to perform successfully in the knowledge economy, safeguarding the institution’s own seal.
Today’s environment demands new challenges, in addition to those mentioned above, such as: improvement of institutional management, evidence of the impact of new teaching-learning methodologies, multidisciplinary academic work in teaching and research, introduction and application of information and communication technologies in teaching, effective and mutually beneficial alliances with the external environment, development of innovation and entrepreneurship, social responsibility, among others.
In the international level, the challenges are not minor, since Chile is getting closer every year to the per capita income level of some OECD countries, which leads to expectations of a high performance of its universities, more in line with those higher education institutions in developed countries or emerging Asian countries.
One scenario that cannot be ruled out is that the institutional transformations that the country is discussing for the next few years, particularly in the field of engineering development and technical training, could generate a new environment of opportunities that could be decisive in the consolidation of the USM. Advances in this direction, such as CORFO’s initiative “New Engineering for 2030”, the creation of an Undersecretariat and Superintendence of Higher Education, as well as a possible Ministry of Science and Technology, may become a reality in the short term, which could deepen the competitive environment of public competitive funds, to raise quality standards in the training of professionals and technicians, and of scientific and technological production.
Therefore, it is important for the USM to permanently build new skills and strengthen the capabilities required in an increasingly challenging and competitive Higher Education environment.