2020 in retrospect: the year we faced challenges and strengthened ties

Find out some actions that marked such atypical year full of outcomes and deliveries to community

30/12/2020 - 09h35

The year 2020 was such an unexpected year and even in the face of a global pandemic, the University remained strong in its purposes. It has provided swift and assertive responses in a scenario of major challenges; it has assisted the community in fighting against the disease with numerous initiatives; it has also offered many cultural and educational activities and solidarity initiatives with high social impact.

“In the year that has just come to an end, PUCRS had the best of each person in its team and did its best for development, innovation, cutting-edge research, social impact and the quality that produces more than excellent professionals, but citizens committed to changing society”, the President of PUCRS, Br. Evilázio Teixeira, adds.

Five days after the confirmation of the first coronavirus case in Porto Alegre, the University suspended the face-to-face classes and began the transition to the remote emergency model, on Mar 19. In just a matter of days, the institution delivered training programs for faculty, assembled the Online Mediation team and acquired the necessary technological resources.

During this period, PUCRS’ Careers Office played a leading role and made its presence felt in the academic community’s daily life. More than 5,500 interns have been offered a job. Additionally, more than 1,900 students had career consulting appointments. Around 40% of the student body can count on some form of financial aid from the University. These include loans, scholarships from institutions and companies, discounts, agreements, as well as PROUNI. Read more: Academic quality underlies faculty’s ability to teach remotely

Actions that made a difference

Photo: Bruno Todeschini

Throughout the year, the University spearheaded a number of initiatives to fight the pandemic. Among these initiatives, we can mention: the production and donation of more than 17,500 face shields to more than 130 institutions; the mobilization of researchers in a multidisciplinary task force; the production of orientation booklets in several areas; the participation in clinical trials for the development of a possible vaccine as well as the development of low-cost Covid-19 tests. Additionally, faculty from different departments joined the Scientific Committee for Support the Fight Against the Pandemic in RS. The initiative Porto Alegre contra a Fome, launched in October, conceived by PUCRS and run by the D.A.’s Office of Rio Grande do Sul, sought to promote good practices in the fight against hunger. One of its pillars was avoiding food waste in the state capital by the enforcement of governmental and non-governmental policies, programs and actions.

“We have a clear strategic positioning for Innovation and Development and we reinforce the commitment that everything we do at PUCRS should have impact on the social, environmental, scientific, cultural and economic development of society,” the President says.

Read more: PUCRS’ Multidisciplinary taskforce to fight Covid-19

Innovation and social impact

With an eye to keeping the community’s wellbeing and appreciating artists and culture, up until early in December, the Institute of Culture offered 117 actions in music, literature and other arts, involving more than 161 artists. PUCRS has become a genuine cultural complex in the State, as it gave space and voice to all types of arts and strengthened the regional and national art scene.

The series Ato Criativo, Live de Cabeceira, Ensaios de Morar, Ateliê PUCRS Cultura, Livros para salvar do fogo, Cem Anos de Clarice and No Meu Canto have been viewed more than 143,000 times. In 2020, the Mérito Cultural PUCRS was given to actor Lima Duarte, who made his life into a career devoted to the defense of culture, as an instrument of humanization and education.

Accolades

Despite all the challenges, in 2020 PUCRS reached high standards of excellence in research and made important advances in the promotion of internationalization. On that line, it reinforced its position as a world-class university and one of the best in Latin America.

With 210 international agreements in 35 countries, academic mobility agreements in 104 universities in 23 countries, as well as four undergraduate programs with double degrees, the University is increasingly showing its relevance. National and international evaluation indexes attest to the quality and excellence of these practices. Check out some of our accomplishments in 2020:

Times Higher Education (THE):

● Best private institution in the south of Brazil (Emerging Economies University Rankings 2020)

● One of the 20 best universities in Latin America (Latin America 2020)

● One of the best universities established between 1945 and 1967 (Golden Age Rankings)

● 2nd best private university in Brazil and the #1 in the south of Brazil (World University Rankings)

Quacquarelli Symonds (QS):

● One of the best universities in Latin America

● Health and Computer Science (Rankings by Subject)

MEC:

● Nursing (#1 in Brazil), Medicine (#2 in the country) and Dentistry (#1 among private institutions in Rio Grande do Sul).

Commitment to assistance and promotion of life

Being aware of the challenges in this area, which has become even more relevant to the population in 2020, PUCRS endeavored to strengthen its health care and wellness facilities, as it reinforced its commitment to a culture of care and the promotion of life. Below are some of the achievements and initiatives spearheaded by the university.

Health Campus: in an effort to promote comprehensive life care, the University launched a complete ecosystem of health and wellness, which embraces activities related to both prevention and rehabilitation, connecting countless services, specialties, professionals and researchers to assistance, research, teaching and innovation structures.

Repositioning of São Lucas Hospital: with strategic partnerships, a strong initiative for repositioning of the hospital took place. Its efforts have been channeled to meeting new and increasing demands resulting from population aging.

Brain Institute of Rio Grande do Sul: the newly expanded and remodeled Institute opened its doors to the community. The facility is internationally recognized as a reference in research and assistance. Its scope of operation has increased as it now offers new exams and produces radiopharmaceuticals.

Sports Park: with a consolidated model based on strategic partnerships, it has been revamped and is now one of the most advanced sports parks in Latin America.

Vila Fátima University Extension Center: the Center has been in operation for more than 40 years in the Bom Jesus area. In collaboration with the Municipal Government, PUCRS has expanded services to assist people in situations of social vulnerability and provided training to healthcare professionals.

Find out more: Health Campus: life in the center of everything

Term 2021-2024

Photo: Camila Cunha

To top off the year, on Dec 8, Br. Evilázio Teixeira began his second term as President, and will be ahead of the university from 2021 to 2024. At the ceremony, which was streamed live through PUCRS’ official Youtube channel, Br. Manuir Mentges, Vice President of Undergraduate Studies and Continuing Education, took office as Senior Vice President.

The event Celebrar em Comunidade sparked a reflection of the last four years, as several messages and memories of the previous year were revived, with the participation of the PUCRS’ Philharmonic Choir. The Choir performed the song Anunciação, by Alceu Valença, a song that conveyed idea of rebuilding hope and creating new futures. The Metropolitan Archbishop of Porto Alegre and Chancellor of PUCRS, Dom Jaime Spengler, delivered the final speech and gave his blessings to the audience.

Find out more: New PUCRS leaders take office in solemn act during year-end celebration