MADRE Y MAESTRA: A PRIVATE UNIVERSITY “SERVING THE COMMUNITY”
During a trip to the Dominican Republic, a journalist from Haiti wrote, “I was impressed with the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM being its Spanish acronym). And I dreamt of the day when Haiti would have such a centre of learning. It is equipped with all the amenities that belong to student life and places special emphasis on technology studies, which are essential to a country’s development.” Founded in 1962, the institution so admired by the Haitian journalist is the oldest private school in the Dominican Republic.
The PUCMM is a non-profit school predicated on the commitment “to educate human resources to serve the community”. It has two campuses today. The main, historical campus is in Santiago de los Caballeros in the north of the island; the second, more modest one is in the capital.
Encompassing four colleges, the PUCMM offers 42 undergraduate and as many doctoral programmes in partnership with foreign universities, above all in the United States and France (e.g., ENA and the Montpellier Business School). It also possesses up-todate infrastructure and facilities, both for education (e.g., lecture halls, laboratories, libraries) and for student life (e.g., a multi-purpose hall, a theatre, parks, sport facilities). With a student body of 16,000, the PUCMM is the country’s fourth largest university and is considered on of its best, above all its medical school. The PUCMM is held to the quality standards set by the network of pontifical catholic universities, which are increasingly becoming the norm in the country. Moreover, the Dominican Republic has joined in a drive for accreditation of the academic curricula and institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean. The PUCMM boasts close to a 100% success rate for students entering the labour market. Over the past decade, however, enrolment levels have risen steadily; they are up by 37% in engineering and by 54% in health sciences.