Archive for the ‘Education’ Category


What sort of education secretary will Betsy DeVos make?

Written on February 13, 2017 by Santiago Iñiguez in Education

By Santiago Iñiguez de Onzoño, President of IE University.

This past week the US Senate ratified the nomination of Betsy DeVos as secretary of education. I am not going to join in the already extensive comment on her capacity for the job, and even if I may not share some of her views, particularly on public morality, I believe that her critics are wrong in focusing more on her person than her ideas. Like it or not, she is probably the member of the president’s cabinet with the strongest sense of mission, consistent values and acquaintance with her province.

Over her career, DeVos has been involved in a number of educational causes, notably advocating for school choice and school vouchers. For the uninitiated, supporters of this cause defend the right of parents to choose their children’s school regardless of its location and to receive government financial aid to do so. This policy has favored the growth of private schools, which are financially supported by the state at the expense of traditional public schools, say critics. Experience shows that when there is a subsidized choice, the majority of parents pick private schools.

DeVos and her husband have also put their money where their ideas lie: Forbes ranks them among the 25 top families that have contributed the largest donations to healthcare, social initiatives and education in the United States, to the tune of $1.3 billion dollars.

Given DeVos’ libertarian ideology, what might we expect to see in higher education over the coming years? Read more…


Enhancing the Relevance and Impact of Business Research

Written on January 9, 2017 by Santiago Iñiguez in Education

By Santiago Iñiguez de Onzoño, President of IE University.

In Plato’s Dialogues (5th Century BC) we see that the participants in the philosophical debates with Socrates are the politicians and businesspeople of the day. The Agora(i.e., in ancient Greece, the place for doing business) and the Academe (the place for education) were closely linked, not just because of their physical proximity, but because the same people were active in both spheres.

I was inspired to consider the idea of uniting Agora and Academe after reading Point to Point Navigation, the second instalment of Gore Vidal’s memoirs — as prescient and witty as its preceding volume. In line with his innate irreverence, one of the favorite targets of Vidal’s essays and articles is, again and again, the deeply entrenched prejudices held by some academics, as illustrated in this passage from the opening chapter:

Contrary to what many believe, literary fame has nothing to do with excellence or true glory or even with a writer’s position in the syllabus of a university’s English Department, itself as remote to the Agora as Academe’s shadowy walk. For any artist, fame is the extent to which the Agora finds interesting his latest work. If what he has written is known only to a few of other practitioners, or to enthusiasts … then the artist is not only not famous, he is irrelevant to his time, the only time he has.

It is time to bring the Agora and the Academe closer and business schools can play a leading role in making this happen.

Some business school managers – most, I hope — consider that an important part of their institution’s mission is to bridge the business world and academia. Some others – few, I believe — emphasize that business schools are academic institutions and they should seek their own identity, separate from the business world.  Read more…


¿Y si las humanidades sirvieran para innovar?

Written on June 13, 2016 by Administrador de IE Blogs in Education, IE Humanities Center, IE University

El gobernador republicano de Kentucky Matt Bervin sugirió el pasado enero que los estudiantes de la carrera de literatura francesa no deberían recibir becas del estado. Bervin argumentó que los alumnos de las llamadas liberal arts (en España los grados de letras) ya no encajan en el mercado laboral, no contribuyen al crecimiento de la economía y, por ello, los ciudadanos no tienen por qué pagar esa formación con sus impuestos.

La cruzada contra las humanidades en Europa no ha llegado a ese punto, pero hace tiempo que se les asigna un papel secundario. Diferentes organismos advierten desde hace años de la necesidad de formar a más estudiantes en lasespecialidades STEM (graduados en ciencias, tecnología, ingeniería y matemáticas). La semana pasada la comisaria belga de empleo, Marianne Thyssen, denunciaba que en un continente con más de 20 millones de parados no es admisible que el 40% de las empresas no encuentren trabajadores con habilidades para innovar.

Sin embargo, instituciones decanas en la formación de perfiles técnicos, como el Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), señalan que muchos de los proyectos de ingeniería fallan porque no tienen en cuenta lo suficiente el contexto cultural. Por eso, sus alumnos están obligados a dedicar el 25% de sus horas de clase a asignaturas como literatura, idiomas, economía, música o historia. En una entrevista al diario Boston Globe en 2014, Deborah K. Fitzgerald, decana de la escuela de humanidades del MIT, explicaba que todos los restos que debe resolver la ingeniería, desde el cambio climático a las enfermedades o la pobreza, están ligados a realidades humanas.

Por primera vez en España, dos universidades han fusionado las ciencias y las humanidades en una carrera de cuatro años. La idea es formar a profesionales que puedan responder a los retos tecnológicos sin descuidar los conocimientos humanísticos. La última universidad en hacerlo ha sido la privada IE University que a partir de septiembre ofrecerá el Grado en Gestión de Sistemas de Información, o como ellos lo definen, un programa en tecnología e innovación para crear el futuro digital. “Detectamos una brecha entre lo que necesitan las compañías y lo que proporciona el mundo académico”, explica Lee Newman, decano de la Escuela de Ciencias Humanas y Tecnología de IE University. “El entendimiento del ser humano y sus hábitos es clave para diseñar nuevos productos y servicios. El reto es aplicar la tecnología con sentido humanístico”

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Who Are the Main Education Stakeholders?

Written on May 23, 2016 by Santiago Iñiguez in Education

santiagoBy Santiago Iñiguez de Onzoño, Dean of IE Business School and President of IE University.

A main cause behind the globalization of higher education, and business schools in particular, is the internationalization of stakeholders. Marshall McLuhan’s global village has its global school house. As people move more freely and frequently between countries, they require education that is both portable and flexible. Imagine, for example, that you are half way through a three-year part-time Masters program and your company decides to transfer you to a different country. You would not be very happy if you had to start your degree all over again. You would expect your educational provider to find a way to allow you to complete your studies. Similarly, if you were on a full-time MBA program but had to go back to work, you would hope that you could switch tracks to a part-time program. These are just some of the issues that business schools have had to address in recent years. The overall effect is a much more flexible approach to degree programs and learning methods.

The upshot is an internationalization of “stakeholders”, that is to say an internationalization of the different special interest groups active within higher education, from the teaching staff and students, to the management and sponsors of universities. For example, a growing number of companies now recruit graduates or finance chairs at universities, while the existence of exchange programs for students and teaching staff, such as Erasmus, have made universities more diverse places.

Given the global shift in education, countries that adopt protectionist measures in education, preventing the entry of foreign universities or other higher education institutions, or refusing to sign up to supranational initiatives, will end up on the periphery of the educational world, and lose their best and brightest talents. Opting out of the international mainstream means stagnation and decline. Read more…

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