Current events

The UOC makes global ethical commitment part of its bachelor's and master's degrees

  Photo: Adolfo Félix / Unsplash (CC)

Photo: Adolfo Félix / Unsplash (CC)

Àngels Doñate
It will be taught in all programmes as an interdisciplinary competency

The UOC is adding a new competency. In the words of Carles Sigalés, Vice President for Teaching and Learning, it will help students to "act honestly, ethically, sustainably, in a manner that is socially responsible and which respects human rights and diversity, both in studies and at work". For her part, the Vice President for Globalization and Cooperation, Pastora Martínez, said that the new competency ties in with the principles and goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as "it also includes gender equality, aligning us with AQU Catalunya's new general framework for including the gender perspective in university education".

Vice President Martínez, explaining how this initiative came about, said: "One of the goals of the University's 2017-2020 strategic plan was the acquisition of global competencies by our students, drawing from previous work led by our current Vice President for Competitiveness and Employability, Àngels Fitó." As a result, the University approved a dozen or so interdisciplinary competencies to be included in all of its degree programmes. "In 2019, we decided to work on the application of these competencies, starting with that of global ethical commitment," Martínez added.

Vice President Fitó commented that this competency in particular "has been defined by an interdisciplinary group with the goal of bringing together all the different perspectives". Its intention is to foster cross-disciplinary development of the "ability to act personally and professionally in a manner that is respectful of diversity, with a particular focus on gender-related issues".

Teresa Guasch, Dean of the Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences, explained that both her Faculty and the Faculty of Economics and Business were trying to work out how to include the 2030 Agenda and interdisciplinary competencies in their programmes. She said the goal was "to design and implement actions that impacted on teaching and learning processes", and that "a preliminary analysis showed that this was the competency that both faculties' programmes shared". When they started to collect resources to train faculty in this field, they realized that "it was necessary to take the project to the entire institution to ensure a global impact". 

Vice President Sigalés said that "the competency should be present in all the programmes and should be implemented in specific actions in those courses where this would be suitable. This in turn could lead to modifying or adding learning resources and activities, and it should also be reflected in the assessment process".

Deputy General Manager for Teaching Gemma Carrera's Office has worked with the Planning and Quality department and the eLearn Center to help the faculties identify whether this competency is already included in their programmes and to plan suitable changes if it is not. "All of the monitoring reports for the 2018/19 academic year mention that work is in progress along these lines and the reports for new programmes that will be given in the 2021/22 academic year already include it," Carrera said.


Faculty are now being trained to include it in their courses

"We've begun a course for all UOC faculty, starting with a group of 50 faculty members, selected for the impact and relevance that this competency has in their courses," Sigalés said. Carrera added that the course "makes specific reference to the Sustainable Development Goals, gender perspective, and ethical and social commitment". This course was designed with input from representatives from each faculty and the IN3, a process led by Francesc Núñez from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, who said: "The course has been rated very positively by the teaching staff, as it provides useful tools and a context for analysing and improving their courses' alignment with these three points. It has also created a highly appreciated space for discussion and exchange with colleagues." In principle, this training course will provide a model that will be replicated in all of the UOC's interdisciplinary competencies.

"With the inclusion of interdisciplinary competencies, graduates will not only be experts in a particular field but will also have tools for understanding the major challenges facing our planet, as well as the capacity to act and contribute to improving the world we live in," Sigalés concluded.