It is been two years since I was appointed as an associate Professor to the academic program in Civil Constructions at the Faculty of Technological Studies, and ever since I have participated in the Research Unit. Throughout this time, I have witnessed the efforts, the difficulties and achievements encountered by a group of peer professors who have devoted their time to yield today's School of Technological studies, that is, a new school in terms of its cycle-based academic supply. Most importantly, I have witnessed a new school built by all its constituent members (us), who one way or another contributed to its current development.
I actually hesitated for a while and refected on the actual duties of the faculty, on its origins, and on a future most of us dream about. Then I recalled a title from one of Stephen Hawking's books "On the Shoulders of Giants". This book resembles five of the most valuable masterpieces in physics and astronomy that have led mankind to the current view of the world, together with its developments in technology and science; a journey through the ideas of Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton and Einstein. Hawking chooses such a title – attributed to Newton by some people and to 17th-century philosopher Bernardo de Chartres by others – so as to remind us of the fact that "we are like dwarfs stepping on the shoulders ofiiants since we can see most tings, and beyond, not because we possess some sort of physical feature but because we are lifted by the giants' height"
These words are relevant to all sorts of knowledge and also to mankind's development itself. It is my wish to take these words as the core of this editorial since I deeply believe in teamwork; and although most of us are far from reaching the intellectual height of "giants", it is our duty (and also the meaning of our lives) to hold the next generation of engineers on our shoulders so that they can see beyond what we see today.
As stated at the beginning of this editorial, I have witnessed joint efforts, difficulties, and also achievements of the people who, from the very beginning, helped build the faculty to what it is today in terms of academia, research, and social impact. For this reason, even though we would not award these people the title ofiiants, I truly consider them (every-day workers doing their best for the sake of the faculty) as the great contributors to the construction and development of the faculty; these people are holding the new generations on their shoulders to let them see beyond.
Today's faculty members face various challenges. However, one challenge that involves most aspects is the consolidation and extension of our current cycle-based learning model towards other fields, which demands excellence in research and teaching. This will require permanent refection and discussion, and also active participation of all the parties involved. Moreover, it is important to guarantee transparency and security for the people who act as governors so that they can make the best decision for us all. I believe that, based on the skills and the efforts of the faculty members (ourselves), we would certainly overcome future challenges despite not being as tall as giants.
César Augusto García Ubaque
Research Unit Director
Technological Studies Faculty
Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas