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Remarks on the occasion of the granting of the Distinction as Professor Emeritus to José Agustín de Miguel López

I usually say immodestly, because of the dimensions, that the INTEC campus is like Chile: long but narrow. For a long time, nothing more and nothing less than a whopping 40 years, we became accustomed to seeing a quasi-quixotic figure walking around the campus leaning on one side, although without a limp, with a quick step as if he were late for a meeting.

That image, or rather, frame, reminds me of the anecdote about Socrates. It is said that the Greek philosopher was seen so often walking through the main market of Athens that one day, one of his disciples could not resist the urge to approach him saying:

“Master, we have learned from you that every wise man leads a simple life. But you don't even have a pair of shoes.”

“Correct,” Socrates replied.

The disciple continued: “However, every day we see him in the main market, admiring the goods, but without acquiring the slightest. Could we raise some money so he can buy something?”

“I have everything I want,” replied Socrates, “but I love going to the market to discover that I am still completely happy without all that pile of things.”

Long-standing Intecians already know that I am referring to Jose Agustín de Miguel y López, who for his fast walking earned the name “road runner” and that, instead of the market, his frequent destination was the library, wherever he wanted. that was, next to the Founders' house or in its current heart place. He also liked coffee, because as Doña Altagracia López remembers, he would go early to drink coffee at the Rectory and there he would take the opportunity to review the books, reports and dissemination materials that arrived so that before they were sent to the library he already knew the content.

José Agustín thus served as a living memory of IINTEC. He knew in which document and from what year the relevant information on the academic life and history of INTEC was contained. For this reason, as Altagracia states, many Intecians came to him when they needed to work on a topic because he either had or knew where to find information.

The most important thing is that José Agustín has never been a documentary filmmaker, without downplaying the importance of that function. Those of us who have known him over the years know of his critical capacity and his independent and questioning thinking. Furthermore, in my opinion, José Agustín's first reaction, very often, was to turn contrary to what one proposed, initiating a dialogue that was enriched by an intellectual debate that never translated, even remotely, into the personal.

John Steinbeck, the Nobel Prize winner in Literature, author of the controversial novel “The Grapes of Wrath”, perhaps more current and relevant today than ever, believed that “a great teacher is a great artist and there are as few as there are great artists"; "Teaching, he added, can be the greatest of arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit.".

I do not want, in the slightest, to deny the status of teacher to Miguel's teacher, but I hasten to affirm that he was, until he approached the status of an artist, because in the first place he was and is a master of himself, always willing to to learn, to investigate, to search, to continue delving deeper, to contrast ideas, practices, dialectic in its most classic sense, that of seeking the truth through the exposition and confrontation of reasoning and arguments that are contrary to each other. What's more, I believe that, if that desire had been stopped, especially by emergency, it would have published more than what it actually published in terms of educational philosophy, curriculum, including the role of electives, teacher development, continuing education and training. teacher, as Dr. Tapia has outlined in her profile.

On another occasion, before many of you, I have adhered to the recommendation of Clark Kerr, the quasi-mythological first chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley, who postulated that (I quote) «The rector becomes the central mediator between the values ​​of the past, the perspectives of the future and the realities of the present».

Intended for this measurement, I would like a few minutes to refer to some lessons that I understand Miguel's university student offers to all of us today, here and now.

The first, in correspondence with what was mentioned above, is that of your ability to study, document yourself, library, no matter whether you were dean, coordinator, director, advisor... what bureaucratic or civil servant position you had. How many of us do it today, as part of the regular, everyday practice of being an academic? How many of us excuse ourselves from managerial responsibilities, some of which are certainly tedious, to explain to ourselves that we don't have time - or that we don't have time? we make time? In better cases, how many of us limit ourselves to much or not so much in technical or disciplinary updating, which does not substitute for the topics of educational philosophy, curricular design and development, teaching-learning approaches and methodologies, university organization, and so on? , the topics and chapters of that object of study and work scenario that are universities? It terrifies me to remember Marshall McLuhan with his paradoxical statement “I don't know who discovered water, but it probably wasn't a fish.".

The second lesson that I think Jose Agustín gives us is his quasi-obsession with the curriculum: how to design it, how to integrate it, what role and what space general training should have, the scientific, humanistic and instrumental foundations, how much of a general and how much specialization, and so many other inevitable and recurring issues in the entire delicate business of higher education. Frank Rhodes, the paradigmatic rector of Cornell University, stated: “the greatest privilege an academic can have is to design and support a curriculum".

Miguel's teacher enjoyed - and from our last conversation, continues to enjoy - that privilege. How many of us, rector, vice-rectors, deans, directors, coordinators, teachers today, also enjoy that privilege?

A third lesson - there may be more, but I will limit myself to these three - is that of healthy and methodical intellectual dissatisfaction to continue investigating, contemplating the different facets or edges of the topic or problem, the pros and cons, the different perspectives and focuses on its evolution and its present status, its discursive treatment, that is, argumentative... and I stop here so as not to reach hyperbole. In today's rush, do we limit ourselves to what satisfies instead of what optimizes, to appeal to that contrast or continuum in the decision-making processes as established by James March?

Thank you Professor Miguel for your four decades dedicated to INTEC body and soul. Thank you my first dean, when I joined INTEC, back in 1983, for your direction, your guidance and your treatment. Thank you, director of Miguel, for your emphasis on teacher development since the times of the 'twelve apostles'.

Thank you, Miguel's advisor, for your contributions in planning, in accreditation, in university pedagogy, when many of those terms were almost neologisms in Dominican university work.

But, above all, thank you, deep and heartfelt thanks for the lessons that you have left and of which I have referred to those of a scholar, that of a curricular and that of the intellectually dissatisfied, which you practiced with your gift as a debater and instigator of always promising debates. of better approaches and positions.

And more than anything, today, now and here, thank you for allowing us to have you as emeritus and for INTEC to be honored by recognizing that condition.

Congratulations professor emeritus José Agustín de Miguel y López!

I thank life for being able to enjoy this moment.

Congratulations INTEC for your emeritus!