Rosa Vasconcelos, professor of the Textile Engineering Department at the School of Engineering of the University of Minho, took office on November 4, as UMinho Student’s Ombudsperson, in a ceremony that took place in the noble hall of the Nogueira da Silva Museum in Braga.
Showing herself honoured with the invitation made by the Academic Association of the University of Minho to apply for the position, Rosa Vasconcelos, was elected by the UMinho General Council on October 21st. She succeeds Paula Martins, and promised to bet on the disclosure of institutional information and listen more to the students of the academy.
Rosa Vasconcelos revealed that “the Ombudsperson (of the Student) must be a good communicator, persistent in the search for alternative paths, available, and exercises his position with discretion. He must be someone with credibility and experience in management positions. I will work to find and deepen these qualities”.
The newly established Student Ombudsperson set as its objectives the dissemination of institutional information, in addition to the “relationship of trust with students. Evaluate student complaints and grievances, according to the reason for each one. Propose to the competent bodies the improvement of the services provided to the community. I will try to be a proactive Ombudsperson”.
The rector of UMinho, Rui Vieira de Castro, highlighted as a priority of the action of the new Student Ombudsperson, the bet on the integration of students: “We have a heterogeneous student community and should make the issue of inclusion a primary necessity. Contradictions and tensions are a reality. We are beginning to face conflict situations in the institution, which result from a change in the profile of the student body. This is where the Ombudsperson gains an increased role”.
The president of the Academic Association of the University of Minho, Nuno Reis, pointed out that students are present in various organizations of UMinho, from the Senate to the General Council, but still “there is little voice of the student community. A StudentOmbudsperson is fundamental, because he makes the university responsible for mediating conflicts and because he gives students a new institutional dimension”.
The President of the General Council of UMinho, Luís Valente de Oliveira, in turn, pointed out the “need to defend values” and to “communicate the rules clearly” as the main tasks to be performed by the Student Ombudsperson. Valente de Oliveira stressed that Rosa Vasconcelos has the confidence of the units that make up UMinho.
Rosa Vasconcelos is an associate professor in the Textile Engineering Department of the Engineering School of the University of Minho. She holds a degree in Textile Engineering from the University of Minho and a PhD in Technology Engineering and Textile Chemistry from the University of Minho. Between 1996 and 2010, she was president of the Council of Engineering Courses. She was also Chairman of the Pedagogical Council of the School of Engineering from 2010 to 2019. Since 2015 she has been a member of the board of governors of the IEEE Education Society.