Interview to Mª Vicenta Mestre
- March 11st, 2019
Interview to Mª Vicenta Mestre, principal of the Universitat de València, included in the instalment number 100 of the ‘Mètode’ magazine.
Mª Vicenta Mestre (Oliva, 1956) visits the editorial office of ‘Mètode’ in a cold day in January, a day in which a walk through the Botanical Garden of the Universitat de València do not seems to be very appealing. However, revealing her kind and friendly disposition, she walked through this centenarian space of the Universitat de València for the photoshoot of this interview, meanwhile we talk about her first months being the principal of the Universitat de València. To the question about the challenges that science will confront in the next years, the first thing that comes to her mind is equality. This professor of Basic Psychology is the first woman that holds the position of principal in the 520 years of history of the Universitat de València. A position that only six more women hold in the Spanish universities. Maybe that is why, Mavi Mestre (how she in known in the academic community) is more aware of the minor representation of women in the highest positions in the Spanish universitary system. But, the truth is that women are the vast majority in the degrees, master’s degrees, doctorates and in the first levels of faculty- ‘and present a better efficiency’ remarks professor Mestre. ‘But this tendency is inverted in higher levels of the faculty.’ concludes.
‘We find ourselves in a moment in which starts to be effective the work made by the feminist movement over the years.
Professor Mestre, who recently received the José Luis Pinillos Prize to the Psychologist of the Year 2018 by her career, knows the in-depth the different faces of teaching and researching as well as the academic managment. Between 2002 and 2006 she was dean of the Faculty of Psychology and afterwards she has been vice-principal of Studies and vice-principal of ‘Ordenación Academica, Profesorado y Sostenibilidad’ of the Universitat de València. Hence, she has closely lived the situation the Univeritat has had to face durint the latest years of economic crisis. During her opening speech of the current academic year, her first speech as a principal of the Universitat, professor Mestre emphasised the ‘necessity in recovering the academic autonomy’, limited in the crisis years. Another fundamental chanllenge that, she considers, universities have to cope with the coming years.
The first anniversary of your election as principal of the universitat is approaching, how would you evaluate the first year in charge of the institution?
With an adjective: intense. We have worked a lot to carry forward agreements that allow facing the inmediate challenges and we have selttled the bases to apply the commitments that counted with the support of the academic community.
Which challenges do you consider that are the ones that the university has to face in the coming years?
From the extern perspective, the stability of the scientific calls and the impulse to the knoledge activities of transference. From the intern perspective, we have to face the internationalization of research and the ageing of the personnel, with the incorporation of new researchers, keeping in mind the emigrated talent.
And regarding the challenges of society, which is the social responsability that the Universitat has in urgent problems, complex and multidisciplinar as the climate change?
In the first place, we have a scientific responsability: we must genersate knowledge to confront this issue. And furthermore, we have a responsability of scientific divulgation, for the society to be aware. Finally, we also have a politic responsability: to be at the service of the government demans to support the appropiate actions. All of this, without forgeting our responsability as an institutuion.
Read the whole interview in the web of ‘Mètode’.
Anna Mateu, editor-in-chief of the ‘Mètode’ magazine.
Martí Dominguez, director of the ‘Mètode’ magazine.
Interview published in the instalment number 100 ‘Los retos de la ciencia’ of the ‘Mètode’ magazine.