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Post Welcome to Barbara Molas; Spain's New Universities
Created by John Eipper on 09/22/19 4:22 AM

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Welcome to Barbara Molas; Spain's New Universities (Enrique Torner, USA, 09/22/19 4:22 am)

As a Barcelona native and resident of Minnesota, a state bordering Canada, I am doubly close to our new colleague Bàrbara Molas!

I received master's degree in Comparative Literature and, as you all know, have been researching how history and literature cross each other, so we share a comparatist approach and an interest in history. In addition, I studied in Germany as well, spending a summer in Hamburg many eons ago.

However, I attended the University of Barcelona, instead of the Universidad Pompeu Fabra, which was founded in 1990, three years after I left Spain. It has been very surprising to learn, over the years, of the creation of new universities in Spain, especially in Catalonia. They also built the Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Tarragona, south of Barcelona, in 1991, where a high school literature teacher of mine is now a professor. This same year, the Universitat de Girona also was opened. In 1995, they founded the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya.

There are still many more universities that have been created since I left Spain. What on earth is going on? Where is the money for all these projects coming from, given the financial crisis of Spain? Would Bàrbara care to explain the reasoning for the creation of so many universities in the recent past?

JE comments:  Pompeu Fabra is ranked among the top universities in Spain; indeed, the UPF website places itself at #1.  For a university barely a generation old, this is incredible.

The last wave of "serious" new universities in the US came in the 1960s.  (I'm excluding the sketchy for-profits in the University of Phoenix mold.)  The only exception I can think of: the U California system established its Merced campus in the early 2000s.

Enrique Torner raises an important question:  why the need for new universities in Spain?  The costs are astronomical.  In Catalonia, I imagine the question of language is paramount.  And politics plays a role in everything.  Is the instruction at UPF in Catalan?

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