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Palomar calls for a feasibility study of the new private universities in the Valencia region and rejects the practices in public schools of the students trained there

During the celebration ceremony of St. Thomas Aquinas

He criticises the "unmitigated setback" of the province and asked for the involvement of institutions and investment in research and education to overcome the crisis

Conferment of the degree Doctor Honoris Causa upon Afaf Ibrahim Meleis and Consuelo López Nomdedeu

Alicante, 28 January 2014

"The universities of the Valencian public university system never spent what they did not have and we do not consider it reasonable to pay for the excesses that we are not responsible for nor renounce what, being due, undoubtedly redounds to the benefit of all”. These have been the forceful words of the University of Alicante, Manuel Palomar, of his speech at the closing ceremony of St. Thomas Aquinas, which has taken place this morning in the Auditorium. During the event, Afaf Ibrahim Meleis and Consuelo López Nomdedeu have been conferred the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa at a proposal from the Faculty of Health Sciences and 136 students have been given special awards to the best undergraduate and graduate academic records. Also, two secondary prizes of the National Awards for Academic Performance Excellence, corresponding to academic year 2009-10, have been delivered.

The UA president criticized "the unmitigated setback" of the province of Alicante, with a per capita income "substantially lower than the average in Valencia and Spain" , issues for which he has put the blame on the “insufficient and unfair funding and depletion of the production model”.  According to Palomar, getting out of this situation implies an "investment in education and R&D and the commitment to technological, organizational or social innovation" - he noted - and he called for “the involvement of institutions and companies”. Aware of the need to "take austerity not as an exception, but as a guideline" and recognizing that "we must avoid accessories" Manuel Palomar rose up against "the kind of rationality that approves two new private universities only separated by a few kms and a few more from those within the public system replicating the same existing degrees taught there”. In this regard, he reiterated the need "for a feasibility study on the number of higher education institutions that can be withstood by the Valencian university system" and stating that the new private universities "meet the criteria of economic feasibility, without aid from public authorities, and the academic and research competence they are demanding to public universities. "The UA President criticized the sponsorship of local institutions and denied that the students trained therein, have their practices in public centres guaranteed.

Palomar hinted that the "inability to intervene and correct obvious market failures" by the government, "which are attributed the ability to regulate many essential aspects of life", could be interpreted as "institutions serving special interests for themselves or worse even, for no one", he said.

During his speech, he recalled that 9 out of 10 Spanish university students study in public universities, which also carry out 99% of research and he came to warn against the creation of a private university education bubble promising equal opportunities. However, he reiterated "a relationship of mutual dependence and trust" with the authorities, to whom he thanked "their commitment to keep monthly repayments to avoid aggravating the liquidity problems”. Still, he did not overlooked the importance of resuming the historical issues debt.

The solemn academic ceremony was attended, among other representatives of the Valencian civil, military and academic society, by the General -Director for Universities, Higher Education and Science, José Miguel Saval and the President of the University of Alicante’s Social Council, Francisco Gómez Andreu.

 

Afaf Meleis: "The development of university education in nursing has allowed patients and their health to be prioritized"

"I accept this award honouring the 16.7 million nurses in the world", lecturer Afaf Ibrahim Meleis said during her speech accepting the honorary doctor’s award from the University of Alicante, which has taken place this morning in the Auditorium during the celebration of the of the St. Thomas Aquinas Festival. Immigrant from Egypt and citizen of the United States, Meleis holds a PhD in Medical and Social Psychology, is a member of the American Academy of Nursing and of the College of Nursing of the United Kingdom. The Doctor, who has been defending Nursing studies, have reflected on the evolution of this discipline and its impact on the policies and quality of the patients healthcare. Under the premise that "the level of education makes a difference in people’s health and care”, the lecturer has said that the development of university education in nursing in both undergraduate and postgraduate, "has allowed the development of better health care policies that give priority to patients and their health as well as to the quality of the care they receive".

The contact of the patient with their families, the elimination of the patients’ containment systems, the new models for pain management and palliative care, the incorporation of new strategies for healthy aging and prevention programmes for HIV or AIDS are some advances in the quality of care policies which demonstrate the importance of the results of the research being carried out in the field of nursing. "We face many new challenges requiring global collaboration among sciences”, he said.

In this sense, Afaf Meleis analyzed fields such as aging, urbanization and environmental changes, where he believes that "well-trained nurses can work as equals".

The lecturer thanked the award as it shows the commitment of the University of Alicante "with the knowledge of nursing, its science and its theories" as well as "recognizing nurses as the spokespersons with the ability to meet the urgent problems of society”.

Such as it was stated by her godmothers, lectures Ángela Sanjuán and Carmen de la Cuesta, the new Doctor is a honorary Professor of Nursing and Sociology and Dean of the School of Nursing Margaret Bond Simon, as well as the Director of the WHO’s Center for Leadership in Nursing and Midwifery. Among other recognitions, she received the Honorary President's Award for Excellence and International Contributions to Nursing Egypt and an honorary doctor’s degree in Medicine from the University of Linköping, Sweden.

 

Consuelo López: "Food action is conditioned by the media and most of the time, without reflection"

Nutritionist and expert in food, Consuelo López Nomdedeu said that "we need a new approach to nutritional problems so much linked to lifestyle". The lecturer, conferred the Doctor Honoris Causa degree by the University of Alicante on a proposal from the Faculty of Health Sciences, has analyzed how new styles affect food. "We have moved from a subsistence economy to a market seasonality economy,  to dispose of all kinds of food at any time of year”, she explained and concluded that at present, "food action is conditioned by the medium and most of the times, without reflection".

As recalled by her godmother, Professor María Eugenia Galiana, Consuelo López Nomdedeu is Professor Emeritus of Health Education at the National School of Health (Health Institute Carlos III), was member of the management staff in the implementation and coordination of education programme on Food and Nutrition sponsored by UNICEF / FAO / WHO. She has participated in numerous studies on eating habits in Spain and its evolution and participated in the first surveys in our country from which important training programmes and nutritional health awareness were introduced.

During her Ph.D. acceptance speech, lecturer López has states that her memories from childhood and adolescence are linked to "family gastronomic events", of which she still retains the "smells, tastes, and ways of cooking”. According to the new Doctor Honoris Causa, "Eating well is not just a money matter, but the need made into wisdom”, which, for her, is one of the reasons to "learn to appreciate the culinary tradition that makes up a food cultural heritage that should not be rejected".

A moment of degree special awards.
The UA President during his speech.

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