Institutional achievements such as the Class A awarded by CEAACES to ESPOL, the accreditation of the degree courses of Engineering in Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering by ABET, and the accreditation of ESPAE by the AACSB, make up the result of an ongoing process dedicated to the achievement of academic quality, in which the key players have been our teachers and students, who have always received the support of staff, of the National Government, business leaders, international academic partners and supportive governments.
In this process leading from past to present, various key factors can be singled out, among them the following:
- The creation of degree courses required for national development, especially in Guayaquil and the Coastal region.
- Full autonomy, which has been practiced and defended as an institutional responsibility.
- Institutional management delegated to teachers, thus complying fully with the legal framework of co-government.
- Teachers trained in the world’s best universities.
- The BID/ESPOL projects, in particular those carried out in the period of 1983-1992, which included the creation of Campus Gustavo Galindo Velasco; the consolidation of the areas of Science and Engineering; the creation of the area of Technologies, postgraduate programs, technological infrastructure, and the education, training and induction of teachers.
- The VLIR/ESPOL program, which created a new ethos of carrying out research according to international standards, addressed to fundamental matters required for the national development of Ecuador.
- Investment in self-access resources for the development of a highly trained staff, technological infrastructure and new educational areas in the Campus Gustavo Galindo Velasco.
- The decision to seek international accreditation for the courses of engineering, which required us to place ourselves at the disposal of the rigorous evaluation process of ABET, leading to favorable reports that serve as milestones on the road to the final goal of accreditation.
With regard to the future, the most ambitious program consists of the development of an Innovation Zone of the Ecuadorian Coast, ZILE, which will place ESPOL in the position of the primary pillar of academic development in the Coastal Region and in Ecuador as a whole, as a result of the synergic collaboration of the public sector, business entrepreneurs and a quality oriented educational system.
The ZILE plan includes the following components:
- The creation of a ZEDE in ESPOL.
- Consolidation of the centers and laboratories for applied research and innovation in ESPOL.
- The induction of high level staff with a high level of expertise in research and innovation.
- Carrying out research projects and transference of knowledge for entrepreneurs to convert this knowledge into goods and services which are both highly innovative and competitive in the global market in terms of quality and price.
- An administrative model that consolidates the alliance between the public sector, the private sector and the academy, guaranteeing the sustainability of ZEDE and ZILE.
If we turn the ZILE into a reality, Ecuador, the Coastal Region and Guayaquil will be in a position to make a successful transformation into a knowledge based economy, which has been our proposal since November 2000.
If we turn the ZILE into a reality, ESPOL will become a polytechnic university of international prestige situated among the first in Latin America and the Caribbean. It will be a Higher Education and Research Institution that offers in all its academic domains Research Master’s Degrees and doctoral programs. ESPOL will be the foremost model for public education in the Coastal Region and Ecuador.
An open invitation to make these dreams a reality is extended to all ESPOL students, staff, friends and wellwishers, to our strategic allies, in particular to National Government, to business allies, to the academy with a commitment to quality, and to the international organizations that have always been supportive.
The future is in our hands and in those of our friends and strategic allies.
The goal is defined, and the path to follow is set out before us. The political will exists, and all that is required is the financial resources and the articulation of all the different components.
My commitment and promise is to work together with all of you who are struggling to turn the dreams of Ecuadorians into reality.