Universidad del Pacífico, School of Business Sciences
Category: Connect - Outreach and Engagement
Location: Lima, Peru
Accreditation Status: Business
The Academic Exchange Program (PIE) is a collaboration program in which Peruvian public university faculty aim to strengthen their teaching and research capabilities in the fields of business, economics, and public management.
Call to Action
The PIE program was devised as a social responsibility mechanism aimed at establishing academic links with public universities from the different regions of the country. The intention was to promote innovations in teaching methods, disseminate new knowledge, and foster the development of research capacities and a research agenda strongly anchored in local needs. Thus, the main purpose of this program is to positively impact the socioeconomic development process of each of the country’s different regions based on the specific strengths and focus of our university action. The program is an opportunity for public university faculty to be exposed to new teaching methods and practices that are not necessarily otherwise available to them. The program also invites participants to discuss contemporary literature and topics, as well as state-of-the-art methods used in the disciplines our universities work on. The program pays attention to the connections between the content of research activities carried out at the different universities and local development needs.
The PIE program was originally launched with fewer than 10 participating universities. Since then, it has operated on an annual basis and now it reaches every public university in Peru. Since its inception, PIE has operated as a teacher training program. Therefore, our faculty works directly with fellow faculty from public universities and is thus conceived as a peer-to-peer collaborative effort. Every year, one-month residential programs in business, economics, and public management are offered at our premises. Each of them includes approximately 100 hours of lectures, seminars, and field visits to private and public organizations.
Participants have to apply, and a selection committee allocates the available vacancies according to academic merits, seeking a balance between junior and more experienced faculty. Participants receive a full grant that covers tuition, transportation, and living costs while in Lima. Additional to the residential program, there is a follow-up set of activities that includes an annual academic conference, where participants can present their research papers; an innovation contest, to which they can submit a description of their teaching innovations; and a limited number of fully funded scholarships in our Social Investment Management Master’s program. The entrepreneurial sector, as expressed through the board of Universidad del Pacífico’s benefactors, has taken a major role in funding the program. They also help in identifying the major national and regional needs the PIE program should address.
Over the past five years, PIE has reached all the 25 regions of Peru and a total of 421 public university faculty members. Participants’ satisfaction is measured systematically and is always above 90 percent. As per testimonials compiled in El campus es el país (the campus is the country), issued in late 2014, faculty highlight not only the content of the program but especially the opportunity they have to establish collaboration links with fellow faculty from all over the country (not only from Universidad del Pacífico), to compare their practices with what colleagues do in the other participating institutions; to interact directly and receive first-hand information and insights from leading Peruvian academic, entrepreneurial, and political figures; and to visit major public and private organizations that are relevant to their particular interests. Students from the participating universities have also provided testimonials in the above-mentioned publication. These testimonials stress changes in instructional practices originated in the program, in particular when these changes lead to implementing hands-on experiences. One case relates to the design and implementation of business plans in collaboration with micro-, small-, and medium-sized local enterprises.