The CSHPE study abroad trip will take place in Chile is because the Chilean higher education system has several unique and distinct characteristics, which makes it a particularly interesting system to study.
Four overarching challenges the Chilean higher education system now faces were summarized for us as relevance, quality assurance in a suddenly very heterogeneous system, financial sustainability, and system governance. Each of these factors is greatly influenced by the sudden and dramatic increase in the higher ed system over the past 30 years.
In Chile, the student government plays a strong political role, and president of this organization takes an academic leave in order to work full-time as that leader to enact change. The student organization was abolished for several years during the time Pinochet was in power, but was then brought back in the mid-1990s. On this day we met with several previous student leaders to learn more about the role their activism played at their universities.
On this day we met with our Chilean colleagues at the engineering campus of the University of Chile. Throughout the seminar, CSHPE students and University of Chile students and faculty presented their research for the group.
At the end of our first week, we traveled to Valparaiso. There we met with faculty and administrators from Universidad Tecnica Federico Santa Maria. Santa Maria is a non-Catholic member of the 25 CRU universities and is located on the coastline overlooking the ocean.
Pontifica Universidad Catolica, or Catholic University, is one of the eight universities that existed before 1980 in Chile and is one of the most prestigious Chilean universities. It is home to the Center for Research on Educational Policy and Practice (CEPPE-UC). AIEP, the largest professional institute in Chile, and Universidad Alberto Hurtado is a newer university, founded in 1997.
We met with scholars at Conicyt, which is the umbrella organization that provides funding for Chileans, across fields and mostly at the graduate level, to study in Chile or elsewhere in the world. Until recently national scholarships were dispersed among several ministries and areas, but have now been grouped together under one coordinating body. We also met this day with several Fulbright staff members and participants, including several American Fulbright scholars who have lived and taught in Chile.
Chile is the fifth-largest wine exporter in the world, and wine is a major cultural element. We visited a winery called Undurraga, whose wine cellars date back to 1885, and as we were told, is one of the oldest wineries in Chile.