HETS Leadership Perspective during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ever since its inception in 1993, the Hispanic Educational Technology Services (HETS), formerly known as Hispanic Educational Telecommunications System, has been a pioneer in supporting the development of distance learning initiatives across colleges and universities in Puerto Rico, mainland United States, and Latin America. Although HETS support and value has been widely known among it’s members for more than 25 years, the organization’s goal is to increase it’s relevance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Officers of the HETS Board of Directors, constituted by the presidents or designated representatives of each member institution, were interviewed to learn their perspective about the impact of HETS membership on their institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of this HETS Leadership Perspectives series, interviews in Spanish and English were held with HETS Chair, Dr. Carlos Vargas-Aburto, President of Southeast Missouri State University, and Vice Chair Dr. Carlos Morales, President of Tarrant County College Connect Campus. HETS also conducted interviews in Spanish with Manuel J. Fernós, President of the Inter American University of Puerto Rico, HETS Treasurer and one of HETS’s first officers, and Eng. Gladys Nieves, President of EDP University of Puerto Rico, HETS Secretary. During these interviews, HETS Officers agreed that services provided during the COVID-19 pandemic, including tutorials on how to use technology and access online services, peer reviewed articles sharing best practices and free webinars about distance learning, were crucial and valuable in this new academic scenario. As a result of the pandemic, officers visualize HETS present and future most important and essential than ever, as a pioneer organization in the use of technology in higher education with enormous expertise and services ready to use.

Interviewed HETS officers also spoke about their relationship with HETS and highlighted multiple services that result in great returning on investment of its membership, like the online student support services available at the Student Placita, the professional development training and events for faculty and administrators, and the networking opportunities with other institutions during the board meetings and events. To conclude, presidents invited other institutions to benefit from HETS, as a unique organization that fosters Hispanic/Latino student success in Higher Education through the strategic integration of technology.

To continue its efforts, on June 26th, presidents from different institutions in Puerto Rico, United States, and Latin America will participate in a HETS virtual panelThey have been invited to share their expertise and lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic and their thoughts on the future of Higher Education, from the perspective of their academic communities and student populations. The panel will include presidents from a community college (Dr. David Gómez, President, Hostos Community College, CUNY), a 4-year public university (Dr. Tomás Morales, President, California State University San Bernardino) a private university in US (Dr. Carlos Vargas-Aburto, President, Southeast Missouri State University) one in PR (Manuel J. Fernós, Esq. President, Inter American University of PR) and one International institution (Dr. Maritza Rondón, Chancellor, Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia). The panel moderator, Dr. Carlos Morales, President of Tarrant County College Connect Campus, will guide the discussion and the Q & A session with participants. The event is free of charge. The only requirement is to register online to participate.

For additional information, send an email to info@hets.org  or call to phone (787) 616-3201. For the latest news regarding HETS, visit hets.org or its social media accounts, hetsorg on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Instagram.

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