None of us can escape from the nature of the current times –what David Harvey called, in an anticipatory manner, postmodernity.
We live in a period of constant changes and indefinition, or, to be more precise, a period of definitions –or certainties– that follow one another, becoming relativities even before settling. They are Bauman’s Liquid Times. Not even an institution as historically stable as the University –only surpassed by the Papacy– can escape from this environment of political, budgetary and even structural indefinition.
Fortunately, the giant sages that hold us trace, with their everlasting example, the right path, which is the essence of what has been called the Humanities. That knowledge allows the upright communication in a global society, the transmission of the enjoyment of the arts, the pleasure of cultural manifestations, the comprehension of the world and its geopolitics, the defense, against fanaticism, of values like ethics, tolerance or liberty. All in all, the humanization of society. Is there anyone who, like sir Gradgrind in Dickens’ Hard Times, dares to consider useless the perpetuation and spread of this knowledge?
Following that tradition, the College of Humanities of the University of Huelva undertook, many years ago, the project that has brought us here. Our main essential objective has changed very little since then: the search of academic excellence, by means of quality, study, investigation and innovation. In this journey, the College has set new goals for the next four years, like the adaptation of the academic offer and teaching to a series of changing demands and professional profiles, or the recovery of its role as cultural referent and forum of social and political debate. Within this programme, our central axes will be the social communication of our academic activity –we count with the support of excellent professionals, whose contributions, however, are strictly transferred in most cases to the community in their own discipline– and also the organization of cultural extension activities. To achieve those goals, I have the honor to lead a young and solid management team, who is also full of academic ambition.
None of the above would be possible without one of our main tenets: we are a community, and that is what all university students are going to find. Indeed, from the framework of mutual respect, the relationship between faculty, student body and administration staff is currently fluid and, thanks to that, productive. We are proud of our dynamic community, brimming with intellectual curiosity and whose cohesion must be the synergy that allows the advancement of the College. From there, and within the general unstable environment mentioned above, our College Board must assume, in the forthcoming years, even more importance and prominence as a collegiate body responsible for taking decisions of a strategic kind that will determine the life of the College in the future.
The academic offer we provide to our students is varied, like the Humanities itself. The traditional degrees in English Studies, Spanish Philology and History have been improved with the inclusion, in the latest years, of the Degree in Cultural Management –pioneer in Spain– and the Degree in Humanities, as well as the Double Degree in English Studies and Spanish Philology. To this we must add our different Masters, in which the students can find the specialization that the labor market demands. The M.A. in Gender, Identities and Citizenship, the M.A. in Languages and Literatures in Contrast, the M.A. in Historical and Cultural Heritage and the M.A. in Historical Analysis of the Contemporary World constitute our postgraduate offer, which is also in permanent development and adaptation.
Two components already consubstantial to higher education continue being the lines of advance of our studies: its internationalization and the internships in companies and institutions. As for the former, the College of Humanities excels in the reception of foreign students, not only within the Erasmus program, but also from countries like China or the United States. Likewise, we are developing a growing offer of foreign language teaching that we expect to consolidate in the near future. Regarding the curricular internships, their diversification and adaptation to the professional exercise of our graduates are also part of our aims.
In recent years the Faculty has made a substantial progress, as confirmed by the recent processes of verification of degrees. Let us continue then, in that pace, keeping everything we have already achieved, and let us dare to take a step forward in search of excellence, all together.
Alfonso M. Doctor CabreraDeen