On 13 January, the new management team of the Department of Industrial Electronics for the biennium 2021-2022 took office in the meeting room of the Presidency of the School of Engineering. Graça Maria Henriques Minas took office as Department Director, with João Miguel Clemente Sena Esteves as Deputy Director. Besides the President of EEUM, the Vice-Presidents, Professor António Vicente and Professor Estela Bicho were present at the investiture ceremony. From the Industrial Electronics Department were present Professors João Monteiro and Paulo Mateus Mendes, as well as the Secretary of the Department Beatriz Antunes.
In her speech, Graça Minas began by thanking “all the colleagues in the department who supported us and who will be with us for the next two years, teaching colleagues and fellow employees who are extremely important for the good functioning of our department, we also thank the School, we count on it to share all the difficulties and also the good things that we will have these years, and that we all manage to work together so that the department can continue to be a good department, a department of excellence thinking about the quality of learning, which will be the most important for the department and for our students.
For his part, the President of EEUM began by congratulating the new direction “both of you already have some experience in academic management and therefore it is not exactly a new thing, but it is always a challenge, especially in these times of the challenges we have at hand. The other is to congratulate and thank, also, the outgoing directorate that is represented here, for the work they have done”. Pedro Arezes mentioned the loss of centrality of the departments by RJIES (Legal Regulation of Higher Education Institutions), dividing it in some way with the centres, “but I think that the departments are still our identity. I think that nobody identifies themselves with the Centre, and nothing against the centres (…), when they ask us what our affiliation is what comes to mind are the departments and it is in the departments that we have this identity. And also in terms of will and team, because in fact our closest team has been the departments, and the centres at a different level, but even today and I believe it will last for some years, we attribute that identity to the departments.”
The President of the School continued his speech speaking about the teaching offer, mentioning that the departments are responsible for what is the core business of the School of Engineering: “we sometimes forget a little that in the university the essential is our educational offer of 1st and 2nd cycle. This is what makes us a university, we value other dimensions and more and more research, but in fact what is nuclear for us and what is at the genesis of the university and its own evolution is in fact our formative offer. And hence the importance of competent departmental management is absolutely essential to the success of the School and to the success of the University.”
Finally, Pedro Arezes mentioned some difficulties that the departments and the EEUM have to deal with, “lack of human resources, and along with this aggravating the difficulty, the increased administrative burden, which has been transferred from some central service units to the organic units, and which in some cases is welcome because it represents autonomy, but in most cases it only represents a greater additional administrative burden and this is very penalising for us. And the financial difficulties (…) that always limit us. I would like to say here, that together with Graça and Sena Esteves, we have the solution, at least in Electronics, but unfortunately this is not the case. What I can tell you is that part of these problems have been solved by the commitment of both the centre management and the departments, together with some help from the School, and in fact we try to solve almost on a case by case basis. And so it is important that the departmental directorates have this additional motivation to get around some of these problems (…) the situation requires some realism. Having said that, what I ask the DEI management, as well as the others, is not to lower your arms (…) and wish you all the best and tell you that the School Presidency will always try to help the Industrial Electronics Department in the best way”.