2020 has been a real challenge to the whole world. We have faced a different reality than we were used to, and uncertainty has been a constant. Nevertheless, at ITAM we have heard many stories from our community that allow us to say that 2020 has strengthened us, has made us more resilient, and has made us value the fundamental things in life.
From the end of the previous year, and in response to the legitimate demands of our community, ITAM assumed a series of commitments as an opportunity to renew our academic excellence model and incorporate the banner proposed by our President: human excellence.
ITAM in 2020
In addition to the institutional transformation established by Dr. Arturo Fernández, the pandemic arrived to impose new challenges to every sector. In the educative, with the change of presencial classes to online classes, which meant an adjustment to the short term actions and projects of the recently founded Centro de Docencia y Aprendizaje , to focus on efforts to find tools to ease the transition to college life online. In a short time, our entire community adapted to the online modality. The commitment of our students and teachers to the complicated environment fills us with pride. The same with the whole administrative personal, which without their help, this titanic work would have been impossible.
Likewise, different projects of the Institute, some of them with many years of tradition, and others recently founded, found a way to adapt their tasks to an online modality, or, they found in this the opportunity to carry out, in a different dynamic, their strategies and fulfill their objectives towards the ITAM community.
In 2020, we developed and published our Declaración Principios, which is a conduct guide for every member of the community. Those principles are: excellence; thinking and expressing freedom; academic freedom; integrity, and responsibility; intellectual honesty; diversity respect, and no discrimination; legality; communitary sense, and constuctive convivence.
Commitments and projects towards our university community
The Student Affairs Directorate, established in December 2019, undertook various projects that address various current social problems that afflict our student community. Through the Mental Health Attention Sub Directorate, since January were offered almost a thousand consults that began in person, and, after the sanitary confinement, continued virtually through video calls between psychiatrists or psychologists with patients. Likewise, we established the ITAM Wellbeing program to promote physical, mental and emotional health through activities like yoga, mindfulness, exercise at home programs, and the publication of articles and videos related to those topics.
Also, we developed the Saving Lives Program, an intensive day of prevention and post-prevention workshops, and the Community was summoned to form support brigades; We extended the agreement with the Casa Grana psychological care clinic, and the Línea Origen service -established in August 2019- from 8 hours a day from Monday to Friday, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In terms of gender, with the creation of the Subdirectorate for Gender, Diversity and Inclusion, we generated an important network of university colleagues to achieve the best practices in the matter. On the other hand, this Sub-Directorate is conducting a new revision process to the second version of our Protocol against harassment with the aim of aligning it with the best international practices, strengthening preventive measures, and expanding it to issues such as gender violence, as well as the inclusion of diversity.
The ITAM student community in 2020
The commitment and character that the student community has shown this year never ceases to amaze us. Both for their adaptation to the reality that 2020 has imposed on us, and for the enthusiasm they have shown in their studies and in the projects that involve them with their peers.
The ITAM 2020 Becathlon edition was a clear example of this commitment. It is a project that for five years has promoted the culture of generosity and volunteering among the entire Community. In this year’s edition, in distance modality, all expectations were exceeded with a record participation and collection that tripled the amount collected in 2019. In the same way, we managed to carry out the 2020 Bazar ITAM, online, and we managed to collect a scholarship from full maintenance thanks to all the people who trusted in the project and participated with commitment in this event.
On the other hand, we promoted the Colega ITAM 2 × 2, and the Academic Accompaniment programs to facilitate the integration of new students to university life, and we reinvented the Introduction to University program aimed at new students to, in 3 days, guide them and better integrate them into our community. In addition, in January 2020 we established the Dialogues with the President initiative, which consists of periodic meetings in which students personally present their concerns to the President Arturo Fernández.
Measures against confinement by Covid-19
Since the social distancing and the change of model, from face-to-face to online, which began in March 2020, we made a series of decisions to favor our community and provide tranquility in the face of the situation. Among them, we can mention that all jobs were preserved, including services outside the Institute. We announced that there will be no increase in tuition in 2021, and that financial aid has been expanded for those who have needed it.
Likewise, during the Spring, Summer and Autumn semesters of 2020 and until we return to the face-to-face model, we suspend the application of the last paragraph of article 27 of the Student Regulations, which provides that “the end-of-year exam must be approved so that they can take into account the other evaluation criteria ”.
On the other hand, we announced that the subjects dropped and failed during the Fall semester of 2020 will not be taken into account for issues of violations of the regulations, and we established a mechanism to support the academic recovery of those students who were diagnosed with the COVID-19 disease.
Throughout 2020, at ITAM we have worked intensively to meet the needs of all of us who are part of the Institute and the challenges that the pandemic imposed on educational work. It is an ongoing process, which has implied continuous learning for all, flexibility to make mistakes and rectify, and good will from those involved. We are very grateful to have such a committed community. Rest assured that in the future we will maintain these innovations and incorporate others.
Although we still have a way to go to reach the level of human excellence that we set out to achieve, we are beginning to observe several significant changes and there is no going back in this transformation.