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Newsletter Portucalense, December 2019
Issue # 96 – December 2019
Christmas dinner celebrates a year of achievements
The traditional Christmas Dinner at Universidade Portucalense brought together about 200 teaching and non-teaching staff on December 19th. The celebration, which included musical performances by the “4Carols” group and Tuna Académica, was marked by speeches by Sebastião Feyo de Azevedo and Armando Jorge de Carvalho.
Sebastião Feyo de Azevedo, who took office as Rector about a month ago and thus celebrates his first Christmas at Universidade Portucalense, began by revealing that, “after 46 years fully dedicated to higher education and science”, he felt he had “the obligation and right to accept the challenge” proposed by Armando Jorge de Carvalho, Chairman of the Board of Directors, because he considered that he could “be useful” and because he understood that, as a teacher, he has the mission to “serve Portugal and serve Humanity”.
In his speech, Sebastião Feyo de Azevedo defended the need to respect the past: “At the University we do not build by destroying. We build if we are able to stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. It is from the past that we build the future”.
He stressed the importance of adapting to the world and to the time we live in, where the strongest are those who adapt to change, competitiveness, and globalisation. This means, in the context of the University, “to internationalise, strengthen research, and invest in pedagogical innovation”. He also spoke of trust: “Everything depends on trust and trust is achieved through perceived quality”.
Finally, the Rector evoked some Portuguese writers, such as José Saramago, José Régio, and Vasco Graça Moura, to describe Christmas as a unique moment of reflection, solidarity, and hope for the future.
Armando Jorge de Carvalho, Chairman of the Board of Directors, in a sort of end of year balance, recalled some achievements, such as the renewal of the public interest recognition status attributed by the General Direction of Higher Education, the revalidation of the certification of the ISO 9001:2015 standard by APCER, and the rating of Good awarded to REMIT by the Science and Technology Foundation. He explained that these strategic objectives were achieved with collective work, commitment to continuous improvement, perseverance, and determination of an entire team.
The Chairman recalled the exponential increase in the number of students: “In the last five years, the growth in the number of students registered and enrolled has reached 91 percent, and we have now exceeded 3000 students in all. We feel that this result is the market's recognition of an entire team’s work, contributing to the strengthening of the prestige of this institution”.
Armando Jorge de Carvalho revealed that Universidade Portucalense is preparing the future: “There is space for projects that may enhance this house. We must not let the inertia of some stop the momentum of progress the UPT has been experiencing over the past years. We want to continue on this path and change what must be changed, further improving our performance. As a community, we have already shown we know how to change and improve whenever needed, overcoming any possible challenge ahead.
I believe that the future of the institution can hardly be built without a strong community, fully aware of the great changes in educational systems driven by technological advances. We must all be aware that the problems of 21st century education cannot be solved using 20th century concepts. Education urgently needs a new perspective, a change of paradigm, through pedagogical innovation, development of research, and the resulting transfer of knowledge”, concluded Armando Jorge de Carvalho.
In this forward spirit, the Board of Directors has appointed a new rector team, which accepted the challenge “in a spirit of sharing of ideas”, opening a new era for Universidade Portucalense.
UPT Research Centre with a rating of Good
Universidade Portucalense’s research centre, REMIT (Research on Economics, Management and Information Technologies), has just been awarded a rating of Good by the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT).
Established in 2017, REMIT stands out for the multidisciplinary nature of its research, producing and disseminating original scientific knowledge about social changes and challenges, focusing on companies and territories.
“Our mission focuses on conducting research in accordance with international standards of excellence, framed in the objectives of sustainable development, on economic, technological, social, and cultural issues, interacting with different players, such as academia, business, or government entities. Such research translates into publications and advanced training, aimed at creating economic and social value for local communities and society at large”, explains Cristina Sousa, head of REMIT.
This research unit is made up of 64 researchers and it is structured into five research groups: Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Economic Dynamics; Strategy and Competitiveness; Territory and Development; Finance and Accounting; and Data Analysis and Decision Support.
“We are currently developing 29 research projects, nine of which with external funding, both national and European, awarded after highly competitive tenders. These projects are being supported by an extensive network of partnerships with academic and non-academic organisations. International partnerships have been growing and today we have 45 partners in more than 20 countries”, says Cristina Sousa.
There is also very significant growth in scientific production: “The number of publications by REMIT researchers, indexed in SCOPUS or Web of Science, more than doubled in the 2018-2019 academic year, compared to the previous triennium. This increase is also shown in publications in high rated journals, since currently 74% of papers are published in journals in the first quartile”.
For Carlos Brito, Vice-Rector of Universidade Portucalense for the Research area, the rating now awarded by the FCT “reflects not only the recognition of the quality of the work done so far, but above all the confidence shown regarding the strategy of excellent scientific production in its spheres of activity”.
The FCT bases its evaluation on the analysis of reports, activities, and strategic projects of research centres, as well as direct contact with researchers and institutions. The resulting rating determines the amount of multi-annual funding to be allocated until the next evaluation.
EU to invest more in youth in 2020
“Europe today has 500 million inhabitants, 28 member states, and is the second largest economy in the world, after the United States of America,” said José Manuel Fernandes, an MEP who spoke on December 9th about Europe's challenges.
He called for greater European integration so that “Europe is more open, competitive, supportive, and inclusive, leaving no one behind”. He admitted that he dreams of “a European budget that pays for all education”. He does not take Europe for granted, and thinks it is necessary to “fight nationalisms, the 'proudly alone', and the 'fake news' that create fear”. He said that “climate change, migration, and cyber security” are nowadays at the top of the European Union's concerns.
José Manuel Fernandes, a member of Parliament's negotiating team and coordinator of the European People's Party (EPP) in the Committee on Budgets, was happy with the reinforcement of priority areas in the EU budget for 2020. “There is great support for youth, through the strengthening of the Erasmus + international mobility programme, the Youth Employment Initiative, and the DiscoverEU, which have an additional 50 million euros and 28.3 million euros, respectively. This budget is a great success for Portugal and represents a remarkable European investment, with an increase of 850 million euros dedicated to the climate, young people, and digitalisation”, he stressed.
The current challenges of Children's Rights
This year marked the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a treaty ratified by 196 countries, which helped transform the lives of children and adolescents around the world. On December 6th, throughout the day, Universidade Portucalense and the Porto Legal Association celebrated the occasion with the Children's Rights Days.
Experts from various areas analysed the evolution of Children's Rights, corporal punishment, alternating residence, international abduction, and exposure on social networks.
In terms of alternating residence, where each of the parents has the possibility of exercising their parental responsibilities, Sónia Carvalho, lecturer at Universidade Portucalense, defended that “this is not always possible”.
“In fact, a case-by-case analysis is always necessary. This analysis takes into account the child's opinion, the degree of conflict between the parents, the geographical proximity, and the willingness of both parents to take up an alternating residence, reaching a conclusion in favour of alternating residence, if it is considered suitable due to a recognition of the real advantages in its implementation, considering the child's best interest; or in favour of the single residence, with joint exercise of parental responsibilities, if alternating residence is not feasible. However, the establishment of a presumption or of a general or preferential rule is incompatible with such case-by-case analysis that is required to secure the best interest of the child. Therefore, this regimen is foreseen when there is agreement between the parents, or when, after considering all the circumstances and assessing the interest of the child, the court so determines it. It must also be ensured that the alternating residence does not affect maintenance obligations, which will be maintained whenever the court so decides, taking into account the different socio-economic condition of the parents”, she said.
Regarding the exposure of children on social networks, the right of personal portrayal, and the nature and content of parental responsibilities, Eva Dias Costa, lecturer at Universidade Portucalense, argued that parents have an increased responsibility.
“When we share the image of our children on social networks we are launching it into an unknown universe: the digital trail is perennial and impossible to control; the photo we share makes it easier to identify our children's habits, their schools and activities, and their geolocation; it can be tampered with, used in child pornography networks; if nothing more serious happens, it can always come back, in the future, to shame them,” she noted.
She warns that “parents cannot ask their children not to expose themselves on social networks, if they are the first to expose themselves and expose them”. In the digital age, “parenthood is undoubtedly a challenge that also involves the education of parents”.
Students present business ideas
Over the last few weeks, about 230 students from various degrees have developed business ideas in the scope of the “Entrepreneurship” curricular unit. On December 4th and 5th, they made a final presentation of the projects to a jury, made up of entrepreneurs, investors, and teachers.
The themes explored by the various working groups were diverse. On the one hand, environmental sustainability, with circular economy, climate change, carbon footprint reduction, and the economy based on sharing inspiring many of the business proposals. On the other hand, life experiences, with ideas related to services for university students and social support services, educational games, and computer applications for the area of catering and sport.
Appraising the third edition of ‘Pitch UPT', lecturer Júlio Faceira notes “the notorious maturity of the projects presented, which incorporated robust market and competition studies, as well as financial and investment plans”. He revealed that “some of the assessors, who have participated in this initiative since the first moment, observed that the businesses presented were more consolidated, robust, and studied, and that the entrepreneurs were more motivated, mobilized and determined”.
The need to deepen knowledge and skills in the fields of information technology, market research, and creation of investment projects were the main advice the assessors gave the students.
Shital Jayantilal, Director of the Economics and Management Department, stresses “the great impact of this initiative on students' skills, constituting a relevant moment in the learning process”.
Challenges of Accessible Tourism
The growing ageing of the population calls for the creation of a distinctive tourist offer and the latest data from the European Union are illustrative of this: people with special needs have taken 783 million trips, generating revenue of 356 billion euros.
In this context, TecMinho and Universidade Portucalense promoted a seminar, which brought together researchers, companies, and students, on the theme “Entrepreneurship in Accessible Tourism”, on December 2nd.
Consultor TAD was one of the projects presented. It is a new professional profile, aimed at the development of Accessible Tourism, with the ability to guide companies in the field to create and provide a differentiated service for people over 50.
Eugénia Deville, from the Higher School of Education of Coimbra, disclosed the support available for these projects and shared some examples of good practices in Portugal, while Fátima Silva and Isabel Borges, faculty members of Universidade Portucalense, explained how religious tourism is part of accessible tourism, and presented the results obtained by the research project TURASANT, which analysed accessible tourism on the Way of St James. Finally, Goretti Silva, of the Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo, addressed the challenges of assessing and ensuring accessibility in tourist services and destinations.
Porto on the Way of St James
The Way of St. James is one of the cultural and religious phenomena with the greatest impact in the city of Porto. Over the centuries, the city has been a place of passage and departure for pilgrims and walkers.
This was the theme that brought together several experts at Universidade Portucalense. Manuel Araújo, from Casa do Infante, talked about the hospitality of the city of Porto on the Way of St James over the centuries. Óscar Andrade, manager of the Pilgrims' Hostel of Porto, spoke about the evolution of the project over time and its impact in increasing the reception of Jacobean pilgrims. Ludovico Cusmano, a hospitable pilgrim of Italian origin, presented the various aspects of hospitality aimed at pilgrims. Reverend Robert Chavner and Richard Delaforce spoke of the role of the Anglican Church of St. James in Porto, and Antón Pombo Rodriguez, historian and journalist, told about some experiences and miracles of pilgrims. Finally, historian Joel Cleto spoke about the importance of the Way of St. James in Europe's present and future.
The seminar “Porto in the Way of St James: city of passage and of departure” was held on December 10th, as part of the research project “Impact Assessment of Religious Tourism and Accessible Tourism in the Way of St James - TURASANT”, which is being developed by the Research Centre REMIT (Research on Economics, Management and Information Technologies) and other institutions.
The future of NATO under debate
As part of the 70th anniversary of NATO, Universidade Portucalense and the Portucalense Institute for Legal Research organised the conference ‘Challenges for NATO@70: the Alliance and the 2019 London Summit’, on November 28th.
The conference intended to reflect on NATO’s challenges, mission, and values, mainly regarding security, in a complex and ever-changing world.
The panel of national and international speakers included Carlos Branco, Major General of the Portuguese army (retired), and Despina Afentouli, NATO Public Liaison Officer for the countries of southern Europe, who participated in the debate on defence and security today, highlighting issues such as environmental protection, cyber protection, threats to energy security, among others.
On NATO's 70th anniversary, its future has been widely debated, especially since US President Donald Trump questioned its existence and the creation of a common army in the European Union is on the table.
“We can all be heroes in someone’s life”
Isabel Aragão, manager of the Ronald McDonald House in Porto, which helps more than 100 families of children admitted to the IPO and São João Hospital every year, was the last guest speaker at this year's seminars cycle “The Paths of Humanity”.
For five years, the Ronald McDonald house, on the grounds of São João Hospital, has offered affection, comfort, a bed, and clean clothes to minimize the impact that the disease has on the lives of families. Since then, more than 500 families have passed through this space where hope is found again.
“A sick child is a sick family. Free stay for families who often have to travel several kilometres for their children to receive treatment is essential. Our goal is for everyone to feel this house as theirs,” explained Isabel Aragón.
The manager thinks that “we can all be heroes in someone’s life”, and she explains why. “We sometimes have the idea that we have to go far away to do a great volunteering action. Volunteering is done with small gestures, helping those who are next to us. All we need is to think about it. How can we be better for each other? How can we go further in serving the other? How can we have a more positive impact in the lives of others? We are all born with the super power of wanting to do. Wanting to do takes us far and it is very fulfilling.”
I learned that I have to work meaningfully
Rita Vilar, 23 years old, graduated in Psychology and completed her Master’s degree in Clinical and Health Psychology at Universidade Portucalense. She defines the psychologist as “the lantern that points the way, but does not walk it”. She was born in Santa Maria da Feira and her resolution for 2020 is “to start the Junior Professional Year”.
Comunica UPT: What led you to study Psychology?
Rita Vilar: Psychology was not in my plans for the future. When choosing a Higher Education course, I was only sure of one thing: I wanted a course related to human behaviour. Starting from there, I chose Psychology, and I couldn't be happier. From day one, I couldn't imagine myself in another degree.
For your Master's degree, where did you do your curricular internship and how was that experience?
I did my curricular internship at Obra do Frei Gil, more specifically at the Family Support & Parental Counselling Centre. This internship took place between October 2018 and May 2019, in a total of 680 hours, and was the most enriching experience of my academic career. All the activities that I developed, in the scope of this opportunity, allowed me to embrace the theory allied to practice, with constant challenges that I overcame thanks to the mutual help of a multidisciplinary team. From this team I learned that sharing knowledge and experiences is the richest way to work.
What were the main activities developed during this internship?
In this internship I worked with three families. I helped the parents to apply a parental education program and helped the children in a self-regulation of learning program. I also had the opportunity to develop and apply a dynamic regarding prevention of child abuse, and to apply a child development skills assessment scale, and make its report, to one of the children I followed. All these activities allowed me to develop systemic skills that has been taught in my academic career.
What did you learn in this first working experience that you will never forget?
This experience taught me many lessons that I will take into my personal and professional life. One of them is to always work meaningfully, not to forget the reason why I started, and to go back whenever necessary. I also learned that it is fundamental to have theoretical support and always know the cause for which I work. I've learned that I must never quit questioning, wanting to know more, and wanting to do things differently. I learned that every small step is a great achievement. I also learned that all families are competent, but that I can't ask a family to fly if it has no wings. Above all, I must never forget that prior to being a professional, I am a person.
Any advice for students who will embrace internship and work opportunities?
I advise you to ask, research, to crave knowledge, and to make the most of that experience. Don't just settle for what has already been done, and think outside of the box. Believe in the skills you have and identify those you can still develop. Talk, be sincere, and express expectations. Embrace opportunities, be available to improve, and be open-minded.
What would you like to do in Psychology and why?
Psychology is a tree with many branches. The fact that it is a science with such vast and diverse possibilities does not make it easier to decide. I admit my heart leans towards the clinical area, but I don't rule out Educational Psychology, because of the interest in developing skills in children and teenagers that I discovered during the curricular internship. It would be perfect to combine these two areas. Who knows, maybe develop a program for emotional regulation in children and teenagers, to enhance a good quality of emotional life, with the ultimate goal of personal development and self-knowledge.
The teaching and non-teaching staff of Universidade Portucalense gathered for the traditional Christmas Dinner.
The following students have taken office as representatives of the students in the Pedagogical Council: Luís Almeida Teles, from the Science and Technology Department, Miruna Denisa Nica, from the Law Department, Diogo Pereira da Silva, from the Economics and Management Department, and Ana Rita Marques, from the Tourism, Heritage, and Culture Department.
Open Class “From the opening clause of Fundamental Rights to their international protection”
Speaker: Fátima Pacheco, Lecturer of ISCAP
Seminar “The European Union as a global player”
Vice-Rector Ferrão Filipe received MEP Margarida Marques who spoke to us about the multi-annual budget 2021/2027, the role of the European Union in the world, the future relationship with the UK, and the strategy for the European Green Deal.
Open Class “Recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in civil and commercial matters”
Speaker: Albert Henke, University of Milan.
Open Class “Settlement of cross-border labour disputes in Europe”
Speaker: Albert Henke, University of Milan.
Moot Court Competition
Law students took part in a fictitious court case as lawyers of the parties to a hypothetical case before a mock court.
Seminar “Porto in the Way of St James: city of passage and of departure”
The seminar was part of the research project “Impact Assessment of Religious Tourism and Accessible Tourism in the Way of St James - TURASANT”, which is being developed by the Research Centre REMIT (Research on Economics, Management and Information Technologies) and other institutions.
Talking with a Member of the European Parliament
Speaker: José Manuel Fernandes, Member of the European Parliament.
Open Class “Upgrade - the best version of me”
Speaker: Silvana Borges, student of the 3rd Edition of the Post-graduate course “Coaching and Mentoring: Development of Human Potential”.
Children’s Rights Day
Lawyers, psychologists, and representatives of institutions analysed the evolution of children's rights, as well as children's relations with the courts and social networks.
Christmas Solidarity Sale
To help those most in need and to celebrate Volunteering Day, Universidade Portucalense promoted a solidarity sale, together with some partner institutions.
Conference “The New General Data Protection Regime”
ELSA Portucalense invited lawyers and lecturers to a debate on the new General Regime of Data Protection, which focused on its implications at the institutional, constitutional, and labour levels, and on the importance of citizens being aware of these changes.
Entrepreneurship in Accessible Tourism
The seminar presented the results of the “TAD - Accessible Tourism Consultant” project, funded by the Erasmus+ programme.
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Editorial Coordination: Ana Aires Duro