Quality and the social responsibility of universities
In this article, Yazmín Cruz, GUNI project officer, states that quality cannot be an abstract, unimportant notion: it must be applied to a specific context and in relation to the relevance of an institution and its role in solving the problems faced by a community.
We live in an increasingly complex world marked by alarming imbalances. Society is faced with a series of transformations: the growing significance of knowledge as a determinant of development, environmental degradation due to human pressures on the planet, and domination of other cultures, which paves the way for their disappearance. These changes necessitate a system of higher education that addresses the needs of society.
The current situation is drastically restructuring the way we live, affecting both our daily lives and events on a global scale. At this time of change, characterised by an ongoing effort to improve the human condition and by the extension of quality of life and opportunities to all, a richer, more complex notion of development is needed. Rather than being viewed solely in material terms, development must also be ethical, intellectual, affective and moral (Morin, 1999).
About the author
Yazmín Cruz holds a PhD. in Industrial Engineering from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) with a thesis on Accreditation as a mechanism for ensuring the social commitment of universities: Proposal of qualitative criteria and indicators. Graduated in Civil Engineering, she holds a Master in Environmental Engineering from the Monterrey Institute of Technology (ITESM) and a Master in Industrial Waste Management from the UPC.
She worked at the Environmental Centre as well as the Virtual University and the Sustainable Development Centre of ITESM. In addition, she worked at the Business Council for Sustainable Development, Latin-American Chapter as ecoefficiency program coordinator. She was also consultant on issues related to quality and environment and auditor on ISO 14001.
Between 2003 and 2005 she was working at the Environmental Planning Office of UPC and at the UNESCO Chair on Sustainability at UPC coordinating projects that linked higher education with sustainable development. At present, she is project officer at GUNI.
Monday, September 28, 2009