Building the University of the Future on an Ancient Foundation. Francesco Svelto, Rector of the University of Pavia, shares his vision for Pavia and, more broadly, education at a time of transformation. What do you teach today that won’t be irrelevant, literally, tomorrow? And, can a great university leverage its history to produce better students, leaders and citizens?
At times of rapid societal change, like those we are now living through, the academy can be a radical platform for experimentation and new thinking or a bastion of conservatism—or a combination of both. Whether during the profound social and political disruptions of the 20th century or the accelerating technological disruptions of the early 21st century, universities are uniquely positioned to help societies evolve in ways that benefit all citizens, not just the elite who sit in their classrooms.
But there are huge challenges. How does a modern university navigate the space between its classrooms and labs and the rest of society? How do university leaders prepare students not just to cope with a world that is visibly changing before their eyes, but to lead in a world which is changing at an exponential pace? Indeed, what do you teach today that won’t be irrelevant, literally, tomorrow? And, can a great university leverage its history to produce better students, leaders and citizens?
The University of Pavia was established by Emperor Charles IV in 1361, making it one of the oldest universities in the world. Francesco Svelto, a distinguished electrical engineer, is now the university’s rector. He has the remarkable opportunity and challenge to build a university of the future on a centuries-old foundation. He recently shared his vision for Pavia and, more broadly, education at a time of transformation.
ABOUT OUR GUEST
Francesco Svelto is the Rector of the University of Pavia, a 662-year-old University in Italy. Pavia is a city-campus and the University’s future strategic program envisions new spaces for research and education, renovating historical buildings in town, increasing the number of international students and preparing new arenas for sports practice. An infrastructure to accommodate companies is also underway, with the ultimate goal of an even more inclusive and smart city. Professor Svelto’s expertise is microelectronics with an emphasis to RF and mm-wave chips for communications. He is a fellow and distinguished lecturer of the IEEE International Society, dedicated to Electrical and Electronics Engineering. He has also co-founded a start-up and is presently the technical advisor of a second one, both incorporated in California.