Discorso di apertura del prof. Marco Montorsi per l’inaugurazione dell’anno accademico 2015/2016
Discorso di apertura del prof. Marco Montorsi per l’inaugurazione dell’anno accademico 2015/2016.
Autorità, magnifici rettori, esimi colleghi, membri dell’Advisory board, cari studenti, signore e signori: Welcome to all and thank you for coming. I would like to thank Prof. Seth Berkley, CEO of GAVI, in particular for accepting to be here today to speak about an extremely topical issue – vaccinations for global health. The end of a very important year is drawing to a close: the complete success of Expo has brought Milan, and more in general, the many excellences of our country, back into the spotlight, with the significant participation of our universities and the entire higher education system. The Academia has understood the need for a profound renewal in order to adapt to a world of knowledge that changes rapidly. Its role is shifting from that of the simple transmission of knowledge, albeit of excellence, to the impact of knowledge on society and on its dynamics and transformations. In this light, universities have the greatest and most specific responsibility for education given the large number of young people enrolled in its institutions. The Italian university system, however, is still below European averages, for example in terms of the number of graduates.
On the other hand, the quality of our researchers is nevertheless very good when we take into account the number of ERC grants, one of the most prestigious acknowledgements in science and research, won by Italian researchers, even though two-thirds of the hosting institutions are abroad. Medical Schools have been affected less by this phenomenon of disaffection. They maintained a motivated student population over the years made up of the highest percentage of those students who graduated from secondary school with the highest marks and who are regular in their studies. However, the percentage of foreign students enrolled in our medical schools is still too low, in part due to the fact that very few Italian universities offer degree programs in English. The need to broaden our educational horizons, however, is universally recognized, in particular by the students themselves. In fact, the number of students enrolled in degree programs in English has been increasing over the last year, confirming that English is felt as the “lingua franca “of science. There are numerous reasons to share the need for internationalization of our universities: conomics, such as worldwide employability and recruitment; political, as a response to globalization and talent acquisition; academic, as a driver to enhance collaboration and to improve teaching and learning outcomes; social, given changes in world population and migration; cultural, for globalization and citizenship of the world.
Humanitas University is a young university though its background is solid. The Institution and most of its faculty have almost 15 years’ experience in higher education teaching in collaboration with the Università Statale di Milano, starting with the Degree Program in Nursing Sciences in 2000 up to the creation and development of the International Medical School five years ago now . In July 2014 we received authorization from the Italian Minister of Education, Universities and Research, and from the Minister of Health to constitute a private University dedicated to the Life Sciences, to be integrated into the hospital and into the Research Institute already present and operating. We have thus far set up two degree courses: The International Medical School, which now covers all six years thanks to an agreement recently signed with the Università Statale di Milano, and the Nursing Sciences School. We started in October 2014 with 140 students (100 medical students and 40 nursing students); we now have 340 students, including the 120 first-year medical students and the 50 first-year nursing students. Of these, 43% are non Italian students coming from European and non European countries. Our goal is that a steady 50% of the student population is made up of foreign students.
We are working hard to increase our visibility. We are paying great attention to the process of orienting students of the secondary school providing more awareness of the medical profession. All these, albeit partial, results are reached through exceptional team work; I would therefore thank the staff of Humanitas University, who all worked extremely hard for reaching a goal in a region like Lombardy, where some of the country’s major academic excellences compete. The faculty recruitment process proceeded quickly and we have hired 23 faculty members, including full, associate and assistant professors. To enhance the international dimension of the University, much attention has been paid to the policy of Visiting Professors, whose presence are a recognized parameter of excellence in university rankings. An International Advisory Board has also been formed, made up of seven experts from different fields of the Life Sciences affiliated with recognized academic institutions. The contribution of the Advisory Board members’ knowledge is assisting the growth of the university by identifying and developing important strategic themes such as the interaction between clinical practice, teaching, and research, the policy of attractiveness both to the students and to the faculty, as well as economic sustainability, which is especially important for a private university that does not receive public funding. An international dimension is essential to the education of healthcare professionals, who should be competent, in step with the times, and competitive on the international job market. The cornerstones of this educational model is a modern, student-centered teaching methodology, as well as early exposure to clinical activities, that stimulate an independent critical thinking and develop the ability to team-working.