Fostering teaching quality in Chilean universities

Jose Antonio Guzman Cruzat, University of Pennsylvania


This study aims to explain the strategies that have been carried out by three Chilean universities in order to advance the quality of their teaching. The studied institutions are the Universidad de los Andes, the Universidad de Talca and the Universidad Católica de Chile. In each of these three cases the analysis included, both the policies established at the central administration level and the initiatives implemented by individual schools.^ Despite the firm intention of these three institutions to promote reforms to provide better education to their students, they all faced serious obstacles that hindered the accomplishment of this goal. Of all these complications, there were two that were especially important: the differing priorities of professors and administrators, and the lack of continuity in academic improvement strategies due to the change of institutional authorities. Also deserving of consideration was the lack of financial resources to carry out reform processes, the students' lack of ability or interest to engage in reform, and the potential damage to teaching as a result of the strong emphasis that has been placed on research in recent years in Chile.^ Nevertheless, this study shows that the obstacles outlined can be overcome when certain favorable elements are present. Among these factors of success, this research highlights three features that contribute to carrying out strategies for improving pedagogy: a strong leadership of the president of the university (or the dean of the school where applicable), clear faculty commitment to reform, and the institutionalization of the new educational models, ensuring that they become part of the organizational culture. These features can be found in varying degrees of intensity at the three studied universities.^ The study of these three institutions shows that there is no single answer to the question that gave rise to this research on effective strategies to improve the quality of teaching. Each university has chosen a different path, in accordance with its own culture and system of governance, the amount of resources available, the characteristics of the faculty, and the type of students. ^

Subject Area

Education, Leadership|Education, Administration

Recommended Citation

Guzman Cruzat, Jose Antonio, "Fostering teaching quality in Chilean universities" (2013). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3592297.