"Identity" is the theme of this issue of WOO. The term refers to the contribution left by the teachers who have followed one another in recent years in our faculty / department, thus outlining an identity. What is the identity of your respective Departments today and what new scenarios could open up from now on?
One of the main objectives that I set myself when I decided to apply for the leadership of the Department of Architecture was precisely to give identity to the Department through a multidisciplinary cultural project. In the history of the Faculty of Architecture of Pescara we can identify some important moments, such as the one between the end of the nineties and the early 2000s, in which the "School of Pescara" represented a point of reference at national level. Today, also due to a series of university reforms that have shifted attention to the new administrative structures, there is more than ever the need to rediscover that sense of belonging to the "Scientific Community" and to aim for ambitious goals with the contribution of all: students, teachers, technical-administrative staff.
An increasing number of young people decide not to pursue a university career, discouraged by the period of crisis in which we live. What can the Department of Architecture \ InGeo offer them and how could it reduce the distance with the world of work?
The period of crisis is evident. If we look at the Italian university system, we have gone from a State funding of about 7.5 billion euros in 2008 to about 6.5 billion in 2014. A huge reduction that would have brought any public or private company to its knees! The housing market is stagnant and the symptoms of its recovery are struggling to emerge on the horizon. This is the scenario we have to deal with. Is it disheartening…? No ... on the contrary, it is stimulating! From periods of crisis like this one comes out with creativity, with planning, making a "system" with the territory, creating innovation. We are activating important relationships with local authorities, we are reviewing the training offer to give answers to the market, we are reorganizing the internship activities also thinking about initiatives for post-graduate placement. The crisis stimulates us to react with the power of ideas… and we architects have never lacked ideas!
The last Italian university reform was that of the former minister Gelmini, which came into force in 2011. Almost 3 years after its enactment, what results, whether positive or negative, did you produce within the university?
In the last fifteen years there have been three structural reforms in the Italian university. At a certain point it seemed that every new minister who took office felt the need to make "his" reform. The problem is precisely this: we have been in a permanent state of running-in for too long and are struggling to get up to speed. The Gelmini reform, in particular, introduced a complex and radically different institutional architecture from the previous ones: it eliminated the faculties and increased the responsibilities of the Departments; it forced to issue a very high number of new regulations; introduced the premises for an evaluation system subsequently defined by the Ministry through ANVUR (the National Evaluation Agency of the University and Research System). In principle, many things (not all!) Can be shared, but it takes time to be able to understand and metabolize them.
The lack of adequate funds leads universities to make choices, sometimes depriving themselves of fundamental elements for the proper conduct of their activities. In your opinion, what should never be missing in a Department of Architecture \ InGeo that is missing here and what are you going to do about it?
The reduction in funding for the university system concerned all aspects of the academic world: teaching, research, structures, ordinary management, etc. But it is research above all that has had to pay the heaviest bill. In the early 2000s, when a full professor retired, two young researchers could enter. Then the various financial laws, the spending reviews that have taken place in recent years have overturned the relationship: we went from 1: 1 in the early 2000s up to the three-year period 2011-13 when they had to go to 5 ordinary pensions in order to enter 1 young researcher! Now things are slightly improving, but it is evident that this lack of oxygen has left its marks on research activities and also on teaching: the number of teachers has decreased and the courses are often overcrowded. If we talk instead of specific shortcomings of our Pescara office, there is certainly an improvement in the infrastructural conditions: spaces reserved for the study of students, support services such as a laboratory for prints, an adequate wifi network, etc. But it must be said that the central administration has worked hard to solve these problems and starting from the new year, with the opening of the new classrooms, this type of problem should be solved.
Returning to the topic of "transitions" it would be interesting to know from you: what is the trace you would like to leave within the Departments at the end of your term as Director?
There are 3 Keywords that represent the priority objectives that I have set myself and that I hope to be able to achieve with the help of everyone:
1. The concept of scientific community: a community made up of students, professors, technical-administrative staff, emotionally involved, proud to belong to our Department, who work hard to improve its performance.
2. A multidisciplinary Cultural Project, built in an inclusive way that contributes to bringing out a recognizable scientific position of the Department on some issues of the national disciplinary debate.
3. "Making System" with the forces active in the Abruzzo region: Region, Municipalities starting with Pescara, economic operators, associations, institutions, etc. Bringing the innovation that is typical of the university system at the service of the territory to achieve competitiveness objectives that open new perspectives to our graduates and that have positive repercussions on local communities.
Are you wondering if this is all a dream? I want to answer you with a thought by F. Hundertwasser that I would like to become the motto of our Department: " If one dreams alone it is only a dream, but if there are many who dream together then it is certainly the beginning of a new reality ".