Gutenberg square

To orient oneself again

In his essay What Does it Mean to Orient Oneself in Thinking, Kant has to resort to the metaphor of the cardinal points to try to explain that, despite their universality, the principles of thinking are essential subjective principles. “... and if someone as a joke had moved all the objects around so that what was previously on the right was now on the left, I would be quite unable to find anything in a room whose walls were otherwise wholly identical. But I can soon orient myself through the mere feeling of a difference between my two sides, my right and my left”.

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A Strategic Plan?

I have often wondered over these last few months of 2015 why we call this document a “strategic plan”. I have tried to explain it at several board meetings while at the same time trying to explain it to myself. I admit that I have not had much success in either case. Let us just say that this is what this type of document is typically called. However, for someone trying to read it and seeing the word “strategic” in the title, the plan may seem lacking in imperatives and specificity in the orders that a field marshal (the strategist, in the historic sense of the word) should issue to his army and people. It also may not seem very bold compared to some of the interesting, bold actions that we have had to undertake over the years. A final clarification thus is needed on this point: a “strategic plan” is neither a plan nor a strategic position; it is a dramatic landscape sketched in space and time, a setting to orient oneself.

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Where we are coming from

The portrait shows a research-intensive university. This is the choice that will allow Pompeu Fabra University to develop its own particular character in the European context and a singular one in the local system. Our choices are based on the current situation and there is little doubt that the principal observers see us as a university that is increasingly fulfilling this profile. It is also undisputed that this university was founded with the goal of supporting high quality teaching and that, during its 25 years, both its undergraduate and postgraduate studies have been recognized as prestigious. This ingredient is included in the plan by establishing logical channels of communication between research quality and teaching faculty quality, on the one hand, and demonstrating the need for developing new projects visible from the outside world: a buzzing hive of ideas.

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Firma rector Jaume Casals
Jaume Casals
Barcelona, 15 December 2015