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Swearing Speech

"A Model of Higher Education for a Country in Transformation"

Dear First Lady of the Republic, Dra. Margarita Cedeño de Fernández. Dear Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Teacher Ligia Amada Melo. Dear Mrs. President of the Board of Regents, Lic. Ana María Ramos. Dear Past Rector, Dr. Miguel Escala.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

You are reliable witnesses of the depth of the commitment that I have just assumed before the international community. I have promised, under the solemnity of an oath, to dedicate my best efforts to the service of an institution that pays tribute to the perennial values ​​that have given meaning to my life - the search for knowledge, respect for the diversity of ideas and the transmission of experiences from past generations to future generations.

I assume this obligation with the humility of one who recognizes himself as an eternal apprentice and with a deep reverence for the illustrious names that have preceded me in the position I now occupy, but with the full awareness of being part of a boiling moment educational that will eventually be reviewed by history. In these circumstances, being the rector of a university (and, more precisely, being the rector of this university) is a privileged opportunity to serve society, and I hope that at the end of my journey you will consider me worthy of the honor that you have granted me.

I recognize, of course, the immensity of the burden that has been placed on my shoulders. I have the obligation to lead a peculiar congregation of lucid minds, creative hearts and usually passionate voices, along a path where there are no traces, because the paths of a university are always pending to be cleared. It is a task that under ideal conditions would require the leadership of Moses, the wisdom of Solomon, the clairvoyance of Joseph and the patience of Job, virtues that I obviously do not have.

Your presence at this event, however, allows me to affirm out loud that I am NOT afraid of the challenge. I take it as an obvious fact that INTEC has countless hands ready to help and that the heartbeats of this institution reverberate with the same rhythm in countless hearts. It is a source of trust to bring together under our roof such an egregious group of friends, from various sectors and entities, who join us through the inextricable bond of shared ideals and enthusiasms.

I greet, in particular, the fellow rectors and representatives of other universities, both in our country and in other countries, who constitute a sample of the spirit of fraternity that INTEC has cultivated over the years and that it hopes to continue cultivating for common benefit. . It is an indubitable truth that cooperation is an indispensable resin to strengthen ourselves, and that a successful educational system is never an individual project, but a set of lights that light up on different sides and that only when joined together form a flame that it illuminates, and sometimes transforms, the history of a society.

I also highlight the contribution of the past directors of INTEC, whose experience will constitute an invaluable source of wisdom for the benefit of our management.

They are executors of the legacy of our institutional history, which is the foundation on which we hope to build, stone by stone, an equally vigorous future. In particular, I pay tribute to the presence, at the table of honor, of my immediate predecessor, Dr. Miguel Escala. Thank you, Miguel, for having returned with fruit the seeds that INTEC gave you; for the dignity, ability and honesty with which you carried out your role, and for the quiet but expressive example of detachment that you have given at the end of your mandate.

To end my introductory remarks, I want to express my gratitude to the members of the Board of Regents and the Academic Council of INTEC, for the trust in placing in my hands the helm of the ship in which such a valuable part of the Dominican youth sails. Thank you also for designing and conducting an impeccable selection process, the main result of which was not only the election of a Rector, but also the civilized reflection on various visions (all equally valuable) around our institution.

How beautiful has been, ladies and gentlemen Regents, the lesson of coexistence, participation and democracy that, thanks to you, INTEC has offered to the Dominican society!


Allow me now, in keeping with a noble academic tradition, briefly describe my emotional ties to this university. My personal relationship with INTEC began more than two decades ago, when I was finishing my undergraduate studies at the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo, and I was invited to participate in a reading group made up of INTEC students.

The seriousness of that group seemed to me a reflection of the solidity of the ideas that were breathed in this institution, and it generated in my mind an admiration for it that did not stop growing. That is why, a few years later, when I finished my doctoral studies and joined INTEC as a teacher, I did so with the ease with which you enter a familiar house. This institution has since been my space for academic growth, and after fourteen years of teaching, I feel for it the inexplicable fervor that only survives in successful marriages. But my discovery of INTEC was really a late encounter, because this Academy already had a history of contributions that to this day spans almost forty years. During that period, successive groups of men and women have sown illusions to reap efforts, they have sown efforts to reap talents, and they have sown talents to reap results.

These results make us proud, but above all, they force us to set ourselves new ambitions, even higher than previous ones, in an incessant circle of institutional renewal. INTEC's distinctive trait is its tenacious obsession with excellence and its quasi-religious faith in the capabilities of its students. In its four decades, the entity has been the cradle of thousands of professionals who provide honorable services in various areas, and has generated research and contributions that constitute mandatory references in different fields. It is that INTEC's mission has always been to contribute to the creation of citizens with a critical spirit and broad vision, which combined with our veneration for work and our sense of justice has allowed us to navigate the waters of ideas. progressives, never letting ourselves be dragged into the pit of dilettantism.

It is fair to conclude, in summary, that the history of INTEC is one pregnant with successes and achievements.

However, although it seems daring, I dare to predict that although INTEC has lived stellar moments in each stage of its history, the best days of this institution are not located in the past, if not in the years to come.

As such, I propose to think of INTEC as a body in perpetual motion, as a possibility rather than an accomplished fact, and as a verb rather than a noun. I start from the premise that a true university must live in the future tense rather than in the past tense, and that without detracting from its past achievements, it must take each day as the opportunity to begin a process of renewal.

In the case of INTEC, the renewal process has to begin with the recognition that there is still an appreciable gap between what we are and what we want to be, between what we are and what we can be, between what we are and what we are. We must be if we want to fully fulfill the promise of excellence that we have made to Dominican society.

The awareness of our limitations then forces us to a healthy exercise of reflection and self-criticism, with a view to identifying what the country requires of us at the present time and the internal adjustments that are necessary to respond to such requirements. Of course, this reflection cannot be carried out outside of the economic, political and social context in which we will be living, for which I request your permission to briefly describe our vision of that background on which INTEC is projected.


Although for some it is imperceptible, our feet rest on a country in the process of redefinition. During the last two decades, Dominican society has been undergoing a process of transformation and, today, it is on the border between two growth models: on the one hand, an old scheme based on low-skilled labor and, on the other, an incipient scheme that seeks to reinsert the country into the global trading system through productive activities with greater added value.

Like any process of change, the transition is being laborious and subject to uncertainties, but it is clearly urgent, given the need to preserve economic growth and reduce our traditional levels of poverty and social exclusion. The success of the transition to a new growth scheme will demand new capacities, as the country is impelled to develop institutional, scientific and technological capacities that it does not have.

These economic aspects are combined with drastic social changes, of local and global magnitude. The intensity of migratory movements, the incorporation of women into the salaried labor market, the emergence of new modalities of family organization, the increase in violence and marginalization are just a few examples of the infinite processes of change in our society. At the same time, drastic biological innovations, the coexistence of human intelligences with artificial intelligences, and the superposition of physical worlds with virtual realities seem to alter traditional conceptions of life and society.

Consequently, the generation of more or less qualified labor has become the easiest part of the work of Dominican universities, which now also require the ability to generate innovations, to contribute ideas to achieve some new form of social organization that we have not yet found, and the formation of a citizen conscience that allows us to overcome once and for all the dilemma of almost two centuries between civilization and barbarism.

The successful assimilation of all these trends requires the development of a quality educational system at all levels, but especially at the higher level. Universities have a more relevant role than ever in Dominican society. The higher education system, in short, has the obligation to be a decisive tool for the construction of a better country, but so far, our universities have not been able to respond fully to such demand.

In fact, although the number of higher education institutions has grown rapidly in recent years, the system suffers from a set of common limitations, among which are the predominance of part-time teachers and students, the low links with the productive sector, the scarce research and innovation activity, the lack of adequate physical and scientific infrastructure, and a low capacity to generate resources to finance a higher quality of education.

It is also evident that universities have an increasingly limited impact on political and social processes. The end result is a slow but noticeable trend towards a lower quality of tertiary education.

Intecian honesty forces me to admit that some of these obstacles also threaten the fulfillment of INTEC's mission, a mission that according to our statutes consists of “contributing to the social transformation of the country, to the continuous promotion of the quality of life of its inhabitants, and the preservation of its heritage to bequeath it to generations to come ”. Despite the progress made over time, it is still easy to identify opportunities for improvement, and we still lack the appropriate instruments to ensure that we are obtaining the best results.

It is my conviction that all these elements merit a process of organizational adaptation and that INTEC has to be renewed to continue being INTEC. I repeat, INTEC has to renew itself to remain INTEC. The great challenge before us is to overcome our failures while preserving the essence that makes us who we are. In international culture, this is not surprising, because we all know that change is inherent in university life and that a university that does not change is a contradiction in terms. In the moment we find ourselves, none of us should aspire to the rigidity of dead bodies or the cool (but unproductive) shadow of immobility.

The management that begins today adopts as an unavoidable goal the impulse of a transformation process, on a participatory basis, aimed at preserving our preferential option for excellence. If we aspire to turn this great university into an even greater university, we are bound to improve; not because we are bad, but because we are good but we want to be better. Let me outline, then, some elements of the work agenda that we hope to develop in that direction.


In my vision, INTEC should aspire to become a true model for Dominican higher education, so that when someone looks at us, they say to themselves: "I hope that one day all our universities will be like that." The goal of being a role model for higher education means reaching a point where entering our university is the highest aspiration any gifted student could have, the best investment their parents could make, and the highest quality evidence of their high school. could show to the rest of society.

That is to say that INTEC must strive to maintain the highest expectations of itself, because in a social context where mediocrity is allowed and sometimes even celebrated, it is not worth it to settle for being less bad than others. Let's avoid complacency and remember that our promise is not simply to be good, but to be excellent.

And I stress this again: Our promise is not simply to be good, but to be excellent. For that, we must significantly strengthen the three key areas: teaching, extension and research. In teaching, we must increase the proportion of students and teachers fully dedicated to the academic experience, and enhance our ability to incorporate novel and effective ways of teaching and learning. In the field of extension, Lifelong Learning programs will have to respond increasingly to the dizzying speed with which the needs of people in the world of work change, not only with a view to mobilizing more resources, but also in recognition of the impact of continuous learning on the competitiveness of our productive apparatus. In terms of research, we must incorporate a greater number of competent researchers in different fields of knowledge and develop an incentive system that catalyzes the generation of creative ideas.

Improvements in all these areas, meanwhile, demand an exceptional management of our human resources, better efficiency in our internal processes and a greater capacity to generate resources to finance our programs. In terms of human resources, INTEC has to attract and retain the best teachers, the best students, and the best employees, and provide each one with a healthy environment for personal fulfillment. In particular, INTEC teachers must become the point of reference for all other educational entities, both for their quality and for their working conditions and personal growth.

The university must endeavor to provide better follow-up, support and feedback to its employees, and promote various forms of recognition of excellence in execution. And as for students, we must explore ways to provide opportunities for increasingly challenging learning experiences, as well as a suitable environment for a fulfilling university life. The second strategic component will be to improve administrative and financial management. Our intention is to strengthen the management of all the key processes of the university, establishing information systems, measurement, evaluation, accountability and compensation based on results. In the same way, the processes related to planning must be taken to their maximum expression, until they become firm bases for growth and an integral part of the institutional culture.

In this framework, it will be necessary to develop an institutional intelligence unit whose permanent function is to THINK INTEC in a systematic way, and provide permanent information and reflections on teaching quality, financial processes, human resource management, organizational climate, satisfaction of the different groups of the community and, fundamentally, on the vision of the future of this institution.

These management instruments will allow us to identify the activities that contribute positively to our objectives, and to avoid those that do not add value or even take us away from the goal. In addition, it will allow us to guarantee that each bee in the hive (teachers, students, graduates and administrative employees, among others) is doing their best to make INTEC become the model of higher education to which we aspire. The emphasis on resource management and operational excellence is not an objective opposed to academic excellence, but rather a support for it in a long-term perspective.

Finally, we must admit that academic excellence requires making greater investments than the amounts invested so far, so increasing our capacity to generate resources is a truly urgent strategic priority. In this sense, the entity should seek to substantially increase its provision of services to various sectors, including companies, the public sector, non-governmental organizations and international organizations.

I am absolutely certain that the Dominican business sector is looking forward to the emergence of a university that knows how to speak its language, that moves at its speed and that shows a genuine interest in solving specific problems to contribute to greater labor productivity and, consequently, with better results in business competitiveness. We must ensure that INTEC is truly the best option for companies. But that requires working even with greater determination in the development of extension and research initiatives, taking advantage of the enormous human capacities that we have. In addition, the strategy that we are initiating today will devote great attention to strengthening harmonious relationships with the regulatory bodies of the higher education sector, regardless of the government in power at a given moment or the political orientation of its incumbents.

In this sense, Mrs. Minister, I can assure you that during my tenure, the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology will continue to have an enthusiastic ally in initiatives aimed at improving university education and developing a true national innovation system. I assure you that INTEC appreciates the work that you and others have done at the helm of that institution, and we already glimpse various initiatives in which we hope to be active collaborators.

Also for the State, Madam Minister, we hope that INTEC is increasingly “the best option”. The implementation of the action program that I have outlined implies a profound cultural change in the dynamics of university management. To a large extent, the Rector's work will consist of aligning wills around this process and transmitting the conviction that it is a key part of fulfilling INTEC's mission in a sustainable way. Being at INTEC should not be for anyone a simple job, but rather a lifestyle, an attitude of responsibility towards society and a declaration of true commitment to a world-class education.

As for me, I assume the leadership with a fixed idea that reaches levels of obsession (improve, improve, improve!) And with an ideal that resembles a prayer (contribute, contribute, contribute!).

I ask society to remain vigilant, as I am not exaggerating when saying that what is at stake is not the future of an institution, but the future of an educational system of which INTEC is one of the key pillars. For the same reason, I can guarantee that, under the leadership that begins today, INTEC will continue to be an active voice in the discussion of major issues and that we will not be shy when it comes to contributing our vision on social, political and economic events. . We are deeply committed to being prominent members at the ideas fair, aware of the role that a society in the process of transformation demands of us.


To conclude, I ask that you allow me to express gratitude of an intimate nature to people and institutions that have played a prominent role in my professional and human formation. Among them, my gratitude goes to the set of institutions in which I was lucky enough to study, especially the Loyola Polytechnic Institute, the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo and the University of Illinois.

Thanks to each of my INTEC students, who sent me 52 messages of congratulations on the same day that I was chosen as rector. Thanks to my co-workers, especially the professors in the business area, and to the APEC University, of whose Board of Directors I had the honor of being a member for more than a year.

Thanks to my children León Felipe, Pablo Moisés and Alicia Minerva, in whom I see reflected the future of our youth. Thanks to my wife Magdalena, who for two decades has been an inspiring force for me. For the most part, in fact, my life since I've known her has been a hitherto unsuccessful attempt to become as good as her.

Thanks to my mother, who wisely chose not to join us so as not to run the risk of getting too excited. She taught me very early to distinguish wheat from chaff, voices from echoes and the oasis from mirages. I will be eternally grateful to him for giving me so much… even though he seemed to have very little.

Thank God for reasons so profound that I will not attempt to put into words. And finally, thanks to you, ladies and gentlemen, for sharing this afternoon with us.