Día Tres

DSC_4433A photo with the new President/rector of the school

DSC_4435A poster at the entrances of the Psychology building

DSC_4440Outside of the University

June 6

The traffic in Quito is unreal. There is no underground public transportation system so the streets are congested with sputtering buses and cars at all times of the day. Getting from one place to another could easily take us an hour.

The Universidad Central del Ecuador is the largest public university in Quito, with over 40,000 students mostly pursuing their undergraduate degrees. In the past 25 years the university has not changed one bit- there has been no remodeling to the existing infrastructure- even though Quito’s population has expanded by 65%. The campus is located on a slope in the center of bustling Quito. The walls were covered with graffiti both for and against President Correa, supporting the Communist Party and a myriad of other painted murals.

While the head of the Mathematics Department, Benjamin Valarezo, believes while there is plenty of talent within their faculty and student body the university lacked vision for many years. We were able to sit in on meetings between the faculties of Engineering and Psychology and the energetic, newly appointed university president, Dr. Fernando Sempértegui Ontenada. He presented a once in a lifetime offer to the professors: a full scholarship to the University of New Mexico for professors to receive their PhDs. This is part of Phase 2 of the newly passed Higher Education Law, which requires most of the professors at universities across Ecuador to have PhDs by 2017, or risk being downgraded in rating. From these meetings it appears the administration is committed to change.

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