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UFFRJ – History and Trajectory

UFFRJ – History and Trajectory

This past week, I visited the Nova Iguaçu campus of the Universidade Federal Rural de Rio do Janeiro (UFRRJ). While, I have written about my first impression of the campus, this post covers the history and the trajectory of UFRRJ. For a history of UFRRJ in Portuguese, click here: (em portugûese).

UFRRJ is one of Brazil’s federal universities, and therefore its history and trajectory are based in and directed by federal law. A number of laws contributed to the founding of the university, which has only been known as UFRRJ since 1967. In the beginning, decree 8.319 of October 20, 1910 established the Escola Superior of Agricultura e Medicina Veterinária (ESAMV). This junior college of agriculture and veterinary medicine existed until 1934 when it gave courses offered by the National School of Agriculture (ENA) and the National Veterinary School (ENV). These schools were under the control of the Ministry of Agriculture. In 1938, Law 982, integrated the ENA with the Centro Nacional de Ensino e Pesquisas Agronomicas (CNEPA). Less than a decade later, on December 30, 1943, law 6.155 recreated CNEPA. At that time, the college consisted of the ENA, ENV, tracks in improvement and specialization, extension courses, and a graduate program in agriculture and veterinary medicine. The modern name of the university was changed under two degrees. The first, decree 1.984, gave the university the name “Universidade Rural do Brasil.” On May 19, 1967, the second decree, 60.731, moved the university from the control of the Ministry of Agriculture to that of the Ministry of Education and Culture. At that time, the new law established the university’s current name, the Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro.

During the first years, the college was located in various places. The first director of ESAMV was Gustavo Dutra, an agricultural engineer, and the headquarters of the college was at the Duque de Saxe Palace in Maracaã, Rio de Janeiro. In 1916, the headquarters transferred to Peçanha, and in 1918 it held classes in Alameda São Boaventur in Niterói. When the institution became a university in 1948, it transferred to its current main-campus location near the old Rio-São Paulo highway now known as BR-465. This is now the current location of the Seropédica campus.

Within the last four decades, the university has changed drastically through expansion of its courses and campuses. Upon the approval of its statutes in 1970, the university amplified the number of undergraduate courses it could offer, and in 1972 it began using a credit system. This system came under review in 2010 and was approved by the university’s board of directors in December of that year. In the 1990s, UFRRJ had an extension program in Paracambi, Três Rios, Quatis, Nova Iguaçu and Volta Redonda, but the program did not last long because of politics and an inability to guarantee the quality of teaching. New projects for extension began in the early 2000s, with the Nova Iguaçu and Tres Rios campuses. In 2009, the Support of Restructure and Expansion Plan for Federal Universities (Reuni) increased the university’s number of students (vagas) and the creation of twenty-four additional disciplines. Today UFRRJ, has four headquarters located in the municipalities of Seropédica, Nova Iguaçu, Tres Rios, Campos de Goytacazes, and the city of Rio de Janeiro. It serves about 15,000 undergraduate students and 1,200 graduate students. Another 1,053 professors work in the fifty-five different disciplines offered by the university.

In this contemporary moment, one of the main goals of the university is to expand access to higher education. In this regard, I think it appropriate to translate and cite the words of the president and vice-president to the student body as published in the 2014 student agenda book.

“The Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro, dedicated and sensitive to the construction of a more just society—and therefore a more democratic society—practices mechanisms of social inclusion, which will result in the democratization of access and increase lasting opportunities for students to obtain quality instruction…. Democratizing access and guaranteeing its permanence, the university advances in the construction of a permanent dialogue with different subjects and knowledge, opening itself to a multiple and plural universe.” -- Professor Ana Maria Dantas, President of UFRRJ, and Professor Lígia Machado, Provost of UFRRJ.

“A Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro sensível e comprometida com a construção de uma sociedade mais justa e, portanto, mais democrática vem praticando mecanismos de inclusão social traduzidos na democratização do acesso e na ampliação de possibilidades de permanência dos estudantes na vida universitária com formação de qualidade....Ao democratizar o acesso e garantir a permanência, a universidade avança na construção de um diálogo permanente com diferentes sujeitos e conhecimentos abrindo-se para uma um universo múltiplo e plural.” – Profesora Ana Maria Dantas, Reitora da UFRRJ and Professora Lígia Machado, Pró-Reitora de Graduação da UFRRJ.

For additional information see Wikipedia (English) and (Portuguese).

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