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Inauguration Speech by Julio Sánchez Maríñez, Ph.D

INTEC: the RD technology, partner of choice for social transformation and national scientific-technological and productive development

Inauguration Speech by Julio Sánchez Maríñez, Ph.D


Dear engineer Jordi Portet, President of the Board of Regents.

Members of the Board of Regents and Founding Lords

Distinguished Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology.

Distinguished Rector, Doctor Rolando Guzmán

Honorable members of the Academic Council, students, teachers, graduates, collaborators, all members of the great international hive.

Special guests, colleagues and friends present physically and remotely.

Ladies and gentlemen, all friends.

I have before you the honorable challenge of producing a keynote address, and I confess that as I prepared for it, I was struck by doubts about what to say. Trying to leave doubts behind and not fall prey to the inescapable emotion at a time like this, I was tempted to seek advice and to be well prepared, because Shakespeare had already said that "Improvisations are better when prepared" or, to put it more poetically, with Winston Churchill: "The flowers of rhetoric are hothouse plants."

Luckily for me and not for my stress, in an effluvium of my memory I remembered the wise warning of historian Drew Gilpin Faust who, aware of the challenges and uncertainties of managerial positions in an institution as complex and complicated as a university, In her 2007 position speech as the first woman to hold the presidency of Harvard University, she said:

"Opening speeches are, by definition, pronouncements by individuals who do not yet know what they are talking about."

Freed from my apprehensions with that formidable excuse, and in the absence of a canon on how an inaugural speech should be to which to ascribe myself, I will try to structure my words around four themes:

The first, protocol, thinking about the audiences of this act, followed by one on academic and institutional programmatic commitment, which should distinguish us as a university; another, penultimate, personal, inevitable in these circumstances, and finally one about my university executive management.

In protocol I want to reiterate to the honorable Board of Regents of INTEC, the commitment to which I adhered in the interesting exchange of scrutiny that we held: that of deploying, without any haggling, the best of my skills and efforts, with the only ceiling of my limitations , of course, to continue promoting the sustainable development of our beloved Institute as a university resolutely committed to reaching the highest standards of academic work, with a core social vocation, having been created, as stated in its General Statutes:

"To contribute to the social transformation of the country, to the continuous promotion of the quality of life of its inhabitants and the preservation of its moral and material heritage to bequeath it improved to the generations to come."

I also extend this statement to the honorable Academic Council, recalling in this case my answer to one of the questions that a dean asked me in exchange with that body; I replied that I was returning to INTEC aware of its place as a crown jewel in the Dominican higher education system. And equally aware of what this implies for all of us who are part of the Hive, especially those who occupy management positions.

My thanks to all the participants in this inauguration ceremony, those present in this auditorium and those who follow at a distance from the country or from other latitudes, despite the time differences. Their physical or virtual presence not only pleases and flatters me, but also makes me sensitive to the seriousness of the commitment I make.

I cannot abandon this protocolary prologue of my intervention without addressing the entire institutional community, all its sectors and all its levels, with a greeting in which I want to return to one of the slogans that I tried to print in another institution of higher education in the that I worked until very recently, the one that "none of us is as good as all of us together."

Within that community I want to highlight its two fundamental classes, students and teachers. The first universities were founded by a student union, as in the case of the University of Bologna, or as a corporation of teachers and students, in the case of the University of Paris (today the Sorbonne). In medieval Latin university was used to designate communities or collectives, such as artisan corporations or guilds, with their teachers and apprentices (and to distinguish the new university academic adjectives were used, as in the formula: “universities magistrorum and scholarium”, Teachers and students).

Risking going off on a historical tangent, I am referring to the collegial dimension of the entire university that is respected as such, with the centrality of the teacher-student binomial in the teaching and learning community, united by a supreme purpose: training and advancement of knowledge and of the higher forms, all of them, of the human intellect.

Aware that the quality ceiling of the university is the one embodied by its students, its professors and its graduates, I know of my commitment to preserve and cultivate that collegiality so essential in the entire academic field of university life.

Collegiality in which we assume and display what I prefer call international citizenship, of teachers, students and graduates, responsible and committed all to the fulfillment of mutual rights and duties, within the framework of the purposes and principles clearly established in our General Statutes, which define our institutionality, which, as I have used to say, it is the most delicate flower in the garden of any university.

Institutionality, rights and duties, which must be verified in all the moments of truth of our being and doing as an academic community, from the proper functioning of our governing bodies to all the moments of truth that are repeated incessantly in each interaction between international citizens. , in classrooms, laboratories, workshops, cubicles and offices, and in all the spaces that we share, always keeping in mind that there is no magister without disciples, not teaching if there is no learning.

Addressing the broader audience that accompanies us and, thus, the whole of society, I cannot help but refer to the role that INTEC has played and should play in Dominican society and in the national and international university community.

INTEC: the RD technology, reference partner in national scientific-technological and productive development

INTEC was founded with the missionary stamp of becoming an innovative and complementary university in the context of Dominican higher education, committed to the social transformation of the country with the pursuit of academic excellence in all its contributions to the intellectual, scientific and technological development of our country. society.

Given the formation of the founders of INTEC, it is plausible to think that when deciding its name as a technological institute, they had as references university models such as Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1824, the first historically of its kind, or similar ones such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology. , New Jersey Institute of Technology, Rochester Institute of Technology, California Institute of Technology, among others. Without detriment to other curricular components of higher education, this university model emerged favoring the scientific and technological base in their respective curricula and programs in all areas and in all their academic work.

INTEC has kept this original seal throughout its history, which allows us to insist that INTEC be conceived, projected and positioned as the preferred partner or partner of the government and business sectors and, in general, of all relevant stakeholders. and involved in the social transformation of the country, especially in its scientific-technological and productive development.

In INTEC they have had and will have even more the competent and willing, receptive and proactive partner to assume with responsibility and dedication any initiative and project compatible with its nature, its purposes and its principles, which are related to the best interests of all for the benefit of a better nation.

They have this partner in INTEC with the guarantee of its nature, transparent, efficient and effective, which, to use the categorization of Luiz Carlos Bresser-Pereira, who was minister of public administration and science and technology of the government of Fernando Cardoso, is a Non-state public institution, that is, focused on producing public goods, public service, non-profit, without owners to whom to grant income with austere, neat and efficient administration, willing to be accountable and oriented to results.

With these credentials we have said and will say even more insistently to the governmental, business and international sectors: our doors are open and our ears are attentive so that, as partners, as partners, we undertake projects, develop and give sustainability to programs and projects of high interest and value for the country, we are here to serve. And we also announce them, we will knock on their doors, we will welcome proposals, we will bring ours and we will seek their support, in all possible and legitimate ways, with height and dignity, but without blushing or haste, because as Eduardo Latorre has already proclaimed, we know that the Institute is not an end in itself, but an instrument of service. [1]

And, for this reason, every peso and every penny invested with or in INTEC, in programs, projects, infrastructure and laboratories, in scholarships or donations is assured of a very good use and performance in favor of the integral and sustainable development of the country.

In these times in which the term country-brand has become a subject of the attention of the State and society, I must insist that, in every international image and in the self-assessment of each country, having emblematic universities is not only an already important symbolic component, but also an indispensable ingredient in the competitive positioning of each nation, highly weighted and valued by international partners and investors when considering their business decisions.

Today, as much or more than ever before, it makes sense to insist on this positioning of INTEC in the face of the challenges and demands presented by technical-economic revolutions, such as the fourth industrial revolution, and the steepness of occupying an auspicious place in the hypercompetitive global scenario in which we find ourselves in front of all the nations of all the continents.

From the rostrum this event offers me, I ask everyone to ask ourselves two crucial questions: what would higher education, professional training and academic activity be like in our last five decades if INTEC did not exist?

And, more importantly, how would we face the social transformation of the country and its scientific-technological development and human capital if we did not continue to count on INTEC?

If the answers we give to these questions coincide with the ones I have in mind, I also invite everyone to think about how to support and ensure the sustainability of INTEC's development as a country-brand issue that should involve many, in many levels, because it is of interest to many.

I cannot elaborate further on these last considerations that will be recurrent in my rectory speech, in order to be able to address even briefly other issues that I cannot escape at this time and at no other time while assuming the delicate responsibilities that have been entrusted to me.

INTEC has a very respectable tradition and exhibits very important achievements and contributions that make it occupy a leading place in Dominican society, as it approaches its 50 years of existence, which we will celebrate around the corner in 2022. 50 years of existence in a A young country, we could say an adolescent, like ours, is a feat that not many entities have achieved.

How to visualize our beloved INTEC in its 50 years?

I see it re-affirmed as the Dominican technology, partner of preference in national social, scientific-technological and productive development. That, in its formative, essential and central work, ensure in all its undergraduate and postgraduate offer, a solid scientific and technological base, voteIf you will, it may position its graduates with the analytical, creative and innovative skills that this “fourth industrial revolution” increasingly demands and those that, faster than we warn, will happen to them, we will be sure.

Today, when we do not know how, and even what will be the professions and jobs of the future that lie ahead, we at least anticipate that they will be transformed or defined by scientific, mathematical, technological and engineering ingredients - in the broad sense of this last term-, without whose control the chances of success and even professional practice will be significantly reduced.

To this must be added the necessary emphasis on skills and abilities called "soft", increasingly valued, highlighted and sought by managers of all types of organizations and companies.

Universities have not ignored them, but they have widely privileged work at the level of cognitive skills and, in a general sense, have not assumed the systematic cultivation subject to programming and formal evaluation of the development of these “soft” social skills and abilities .

INTEC has done its work in these respects and has reinforced them in recent years, but it is necessary to insist, deepen and update incessantly, systematically, because more and more is worth what when we knew all the answers, we changed all the questions. And, as with web portals, keep the "under construction" banner handy.

We must ensure not only the updating but even the anticipation in the human and professional formation of our students, to whom we must give the treatment of queen in the Inteciana Hive, being the integral and continuous curricular development a priority duty and with respect to which we must not spare no effort.

And in this issue of incessant curriculum development, I will have to get involved as president because, as Frank Rhodes, who was President of Cornell University, said: "the greatest privilege that an academic can have is to design and support a curriculum."

A demanding and welcoming institution

Together with the aforementioned, with the appreciation and faith that we have always had in our students - and, consequently, in our graduates - we must persist in maintaining INTEC as a challenging, demanding, demanding university, but balancing the balance so that it is also a welcoming, friendly and empathetic institution. And this dual purpose must commit and oblige us all without exception in the hive, managers, teachers, employees and the students themselves, of course. What should be part of our recurring plans and measurements, knowing that what is not measured, is not done.

Three roles: curator, creator and critic

Every university has three different roles, as Robert A. Scott, an academic who was president of Adelphi University, points out, those of curator, creator and critic. I have just referred to his role as curator, I move on to that of creator.

INTEC's commitment to scientific and academic research is inalienable and over time it has managed to give sustainability to its role in scientific, technological, humanistic and intellectual creation, the general one. This has been the case and it must be maintained and deepened. Now, without neglecting or resisting the pressures of the dominant paradigm of the university institutional field at the international level, I conceive the creation of knowledge and research at INTEC as a two-sided, which we must approach with a Janusian approach.

A two-sided strategy that covers both research within the framework of the dominant academic paradigm as well as relevant and pertinent “applied” research, more of the type of research (basic or applied) “inspired by use” (according to Stokes )[2], as part of the R + D + i cycle.

What I am referring to is to promote and decisively support research in its broadest sense, including that aimed at solving problems and satisfying the practical needs of the productive sectors and the population, generating designs, techniques, procedures and formulas, process and product improvements, prototypes in their different stages of development, which can be used and transformed into different forms of innovation by private and public companies, service organizations and, in general, agents operating in markets and in different areas of operation of our society in general.

Following a two-sided strategy, projects of the teaching staff as well as the students, as part of their training activities, as is the case of the capstone courses and other special courses, will also seek to link these projects with the productive sectors and agents in the markets and society, seeking their support and participation, trying to unleash a spiral of relevant and pertinent initiatives to the needs of social, economic and productive transformation of the nation.

Research and the search for solution of problems, academic-disciplinary or practical and immediate, must therefore be part of the daily perspiration of teachers and students at INTEC, not episodic or isolated actions or initiatives.

We recently celebrated that, in the midst of and above this pandemic that overwhelms us, our engineering students filled us with pride by winning the “System Safety Award” from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The INTEC that I envision is one in which this and other types of achievements, more and less formal, international or local, more or less sonorous, more sophisticated or apparently pedestrian, are part of the INTEC experience that characterizes us and that teachers and students live in each of INTEC's training areas.

I have no doubt about the ability of our students who accept the challenge as well as our teachers, if we all accept the purpose of forging that which I want to call INTEC experience.

Academically independent but constructively associated

In its critical role, INTEC has been a space, forum, platform and agent for exchange, debate, formulation of proposals and the search for agreements around the most important issues of different order and nature, always preserving its academic, nonpartisan, pluralistic and of exclusive commitment to objectivity, the search for truth and the best solutions to national problems. Likewise, it has been a participant in scenarios and structures in which its representation has adhered to these principles and values ​​by contributing the best of its experience and capabilities.

We must continue to play and even expand our performance of that important role that corresponds to us as a university and as a partner or partner in the social transformation of the country and its development in all orders. And to insist on doing so following the recommendation of the rector emeritus Rhodes that the university see "academically independent but constructively associated."[3]

I would like to refer to other aspects, but I can hardly list them.

  • That the distance and online modalities to which we were led, which came to stay and be used, the question being how and to what extent we will do it,
  • To ensure an updated, differentiated and innovative academic offer, as has been done with new programs such as biotechnology, software and biomedical engineering, cybersecurity, mathematics and actuarial sciences, cinema, digital and audiovisual communication, data science, in public health and epidemiology, among others, but always ensuring flexibility, interconnection and synergy between these programs, and thus, for their sustainability;
  • Maintain, expand and deepen inter-university, national and international agreements, emphasizing double degree programs and, later, also joint degree programs;
  • Reinforcing teacher development initiatives, associated with curricular development and highlighting among them the high standards doctoral programs, also venturing into industrial doctorates, taking advantage of the experience of Spanish universities, whose colleagues and friends will surely help us assimilate .
  • Continue, maintain and expand the achievements in terms of international accreditation of our academic programs, in the different international university spaces, including the European Higher Education Area;
  • Deepening the openness and regular and continuous communication with our graduates our most important fruits, and together with them, with all our related, in companies, in the State, in the whole of society, listening to them carefully and involving them in solidarity.

I thank you for allowing me a more personal moment now, taking care not to limit myself in this license that is allowed in these acts.

I cannot stop thanking in a very heartfelt way all those who in one way or another encouraged me and inclined to propose to "leave the skin" for this INTEC of our love and care; alumni, especially international graduates, professors, managers and former managers, related, all friends, who generously thought that they could contribute and that they could be considered by decision makers as favorably as they did. Mentioning them in detail would not only be neat but also risky if they were not to be forgotten.

Two years ago, naively believing that I had finished a friendly interview in the newspaper El Día, I continued talking and said what would become, to my surprise, the headline: “What I am today I owe to the priests at school de La Salle ”. I repeat it today, intentionally, in eternal gratitude to the brothers and lay teachers who gave us so much, sowing knowledge, skills, and above all values ​​that have been the roots of all the blue shirts and khaki pants of the De La Salle Dominican College.

This gratitude is very well understood by the friends-brothers in the life of promotion 70 who still tele-meet weekly because we cannot, for now, do it in person once a month.

I thank all the other family members, friends, and fellow students or colleagues who have accompanied me and who have been part of my life, formally or informally, or in a temporary or more intimate way. To all, my thanks for what you have accepted, tolerated and given me: your friendship and companionship.

Last in the list, but never in importance, to Mirna, my wife, my partner and my third, who gave me permission to face this new vital challenge - she does not know what she was talking about either - and to my children, Francis and with he to Ona, Patricia and with her Manuel, Dessiree, and Lía, Brandon and Luca, children of my children, thanks from the soul for being and being like carnations and roses of my existence. I owe you and my parents, now gone, the support that forces me to live with principles and integrity because I would not be able to see you in the eye, even in my memory, if I betrayed you and betrayed myself by being otherwise formal.

The legacy of previous rectors: a very high bar

I don't know, at least not yet, if Dr. Guzmán has left me a note on the Rector's desk like the one George Herbert Walker Bush left to Bill Clinton on the Resolute desk.

But I am sure that he did NOT leave me three envelopes, as in the traditional popular anecdote among the rectors of Spanish universities. The three envelopes are as follows: the outgoing rector gives the new rector 3 sealed envelopes, numbered 1 to 3, to open in case of crisis. The first envelope, to be opened in the first crisis of the new rector, has a very brief message: blame the former rector for `the situation that he left you. When opening the second envelope, in the next crisis, the new rector will read: argue that you have not yet had time to solve all the problems and satisfy all the expectations so characteristic of the many facets and the very diverse members and stakeholders of the university. In the third envelope, when the time comes, there is also a very short message: Prepare three envelopes!

What my immediate predecessor has left me is a very high bar, as has also been the legacy that Ramón Flores, Rafael Corominas Pepín, Eduardo Latorre, Rafael Toribio, Rafael Marion-Landais, Altagracia López and Miguel Escala left successively, all makers of an increasingly better INTEC.

You can count on my commitment to give my best, which is the reiteration of a commitment that comes from far away, from the times when together with more than a dozen scholarship recipients through INTEC we went to the United States to prepare a new generation of intecianos and we maintained, with the leadership of Miguel Escala, the bulletin “We are part of the future of INTEC”.

So I come to invent, not to improvise.

Vocation of utopia: if you always look to the skies, you will end up with wings

I assume this rectoral period with the same vocation of utopia with which my predecessors did. I am among those who dream during the day, who, according to Edgar Allan Poe, “are aware of many things that escape those who dream only at night”. Of course, I complement the previous one with the recommendation of Forrest Gump: "Dream, but don't quit your day job."

Those who work more closely with me will hear me repeat ad nauseam that we must see beyond the curve, that, if the opportunity touches us, as Napoleon said, we must build a door, that God is in the details and, in English, because I took it from the end of The Untouchables: never stop, never stop figthting until the fight is done.

I started this long speech by relying on Chancellor Drew Gilpin Faust and what she pointed out about the rectors' opening speeches. I will also end with her by defining these speeches as an expression of hope.

Hope to continue building a stronger and more capable fifty-year-old INTEC, always innovative and renewed, indispensable to the country we dream of and deserve, a source of national pride, sustained and sustainable, always believing, together with Gustave Flaubert: “that if one always looks at the heavens, it will end with wings ”.

Thank you very much.


[1] Latorre, E. (September 19, 1999). Main Objectives of Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo.

[2] Stokes, D. (1997). Pasteur´s Quadrant: Basic Science and Technological Innovation. Washington, DC: Brooking Institution Press.

[3] Rhodes, FHT (1999) The New University, in: Challenges Facing Higher Education at The Millenium, Chapter 17, edited by Werner Z. Hirsh and Lue E. Weber. Washington, DC: The American Council on Education and The Oryx Press.