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The work “La universitat, a la cruïlla” (The university, at the crossroads), by Carles Ramió, launches the UPF Knowledge platform

The work “La universitat, a la cruïlla” (The university, at the crossroads), by Carles Ramió, launches the UPF Knowledge platform

The UPF full professor of Political Science, who will be signing copies at the Catalan Book Week on the morning of 14 September, is the author of a critical essay on the Spanish university system, in which he states that universities are at the “point of no return”. The work is the first of the University’s new knowledge transfer portal, UPF Knowledge, which aims to bring the knowledge generated at Pompeu Fabra to society and stimulate the creation of publications by and outreach activities of the faculty.

13.09.2022

Imatge inicial

"If the universities in the Spanish university system do not urgently undergo major transformations with a great deal of adaptation and flexibility, their survival is at stake, and many higher education institutions could disappear in the next twenty years, as they are at the point of no return”.

This strong statement defines the main message of the book La universitat, a la cruïlla, by Carles Ramió, full professor of Political Science at UPF, the first publication (in the Essay collection) of UPF Knowledge, the new platform for the dissemination of knowledge at Pompeu Fabra University.

Oriol Amat: “UPF Knowledge seeks to increase and stimulate our faculty’s creation of publications and outreach activities, attending to its mission to transfer knowledge to society”.

UPF Knowledge is a web portal that aims to disseminate the knowledge generated at the University, in the areas of research and knowledge transfer, teaching and outreach. “The project seeks to increase and stimulate our faculty’s creation of publications and outreach activities, attending to its mission to transfer knowledge to society”, asserts UPF rector Oriol Amat.

To this end, collections of publications will be launched, mainly online, to improve the dissemination of this knowledge and its impact on society in general. But it will also target certain audiences, such as students, lecturers and researchers from the university world.

A book that dissects the key issues of the university system

To promote his work, Carles Ramió will be signing books as part of the Book Week in Catalan, which will take place from 9 to 18 September 2022 at Moll de la Fusta in Barcelona. Specifically, he will be there on Wednesday 14 September, from 11 am, at the stand of the Vives Network of Universities (module 68), with the participation of UPF.

In La universitat a la cruïlla, the author analyses most of the key issues of the university system, such as teaching, research, knowledge transfer, management and university rankings. It is split into eight chapters and a section of conclusions, in addition to the prologue, signed by Oriol Amat, current UPF rector, and an epilogue by Jaume Casals, former rector of the University.

The author states that “after more than twenty years holding different charges and positions within the university, I have always been concerned with issues regarding the future in this environment, its organizational model and its governance”. The book includes a more general part, on the value and competence that universities in Spain are currently receiving, which echo the new challenges that these institutions must face and the strategies that they will have to assume in order to survive.

A second, more internal and inbred part, is “the continuation and updating of my work Manual para los atribulados profesores universitarios (Manual for troubled university professors - Catarata publishers) that I published seven years ago, targeting future professors, in which I explained how the university works”. In this section, the author talks about various innovations in recent years in different areas, such as the topic of six-yearly increments in knowledge transfer, online teaching brought about by the pandemic, politically correct language, rankings, and changes in the dynamics of research in the social sciences, among others.

Analysis of a monopolistic situation in higher education and proposals for the future

For Carles Ramió, “public universities have done exactly the same thing during the last few centuries, from a conceptual point of view, and they are not making any changes. It feels like centuries go by and universities survive because they have the monopoly on higher education. But all this can change radically in the coming years due to changes in technology and in the learning system, due to the new modalities of higher education, and because of the competence of other potentially non-university entities”. And he adds: “There would be a need to break with this type of monopoly and make universities bring a special value to society, setting them apart, because otherwise, the vast majority will not be able to survive”.

Carles Ramió: “We should break with this type of monopoly and make universities bring a special value to society, setting them apart, because otherwise, the vast majority will not be able to survive”.

Some of the proposals made by the author to transform this situation are to open up the regulatory market so that universities can set their own profile; greater flexibility; a more professional system of governance; enhance small universities; funding for performance; strengthen the autonomy of teacher recruitment and incentive management; improve accountability; less distrust of the government towards universities, and greater university autonomy, among others.

“Everything seems to indicate that in the future higher education will be highly plural and fragmented and it will abandon this monopolistic logic, at least in Spain”... “We must ensure that public universities can be as diverse as society and the market”, Carles Ramió concludes.

UPF Knowledge includes different collections to reach a wide audience

The book by Carles Ramió is the first piece of UPF Knowledge, UPF’s new knowledge transfer platform. On the one hand, the project creates an editorial infrastructure that promotes the publication of special issues in different collections related to research, teaching, outreach, the essay (encompassing La universitat a la cruïlla), culture and institutional publications. It also aims to support open science implementation policies and promote publishing in Catalan. On the other hand, it seeks to become a showcase for disseminating the transmission of knowledge (or outreach) whether of books, articles or recent research, through brief easily understood notes, podcasts or videos made at UPF.

UPF Knowledge consists of an advisory board, chaired by Joaquim Albareda, full professor of Modern History with the Department of Humanities, and vice-rectors David Sancho (deputy to the Rector and of UPF Organization and Group), Manel Jiménez (Educational Transformation, Culture and Communication), Eulalia de Nadal (Knowledge Transfer), together with professors representing all the departments of the University, and various management and advisory officers related to information, communication, culture and knowledge transfer.

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