Chilean university strengthens community engagement

Universidad Mayor adapts to COVID-19 with Red Hat software and virtual residency

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the need for higher education organizations to adapt to remote learning with innovative digital solutions. Chile’s Universidad Mayor worked with Red Hat to develop a strategic approach to modernizing not only its IT infrastructure, but also its work processes. With immersive experimentation at an Red Hat Open Innovation Labs virtual residency, including Red Hat Training courses, Universidad Mayor has established a set of collaborative and agile approaches and a robust infrastructure foundation to reimagine its engagement of students, faculty, and the wider university community.

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  • Established foundation for a collaborative, transparent culture
  • Reduced delivery time for new services and solutions
  • Improved engagement with the university community

Supporting modern, hybrid educational experiences

Founded in 1988, Universidad Mayor is a Chilean higher education institution with a history of more than 30 years of sustained growth, innovation, and leadership. It is also the first Chilean university to achieve international accreditation. Universidad Mayor operates ten campuses in Chile and one in Miami, Florida. 

The university’s Development and Management Office focuses on designing and implementing growth strategies, including generating brand value and contributing to teaching and research financing. 

“Technology is an asset that helps our institution stand out,” said Mario Herane, Vice-Rector of Development and Management, Universidad Mayor. “We view the efficient use of our solid technology infrastructure as a way to deliver a distinctive experience to students and faculty and achieve recognition for teaching and academic work.”

Universidad Mayor has made significant investments in its technology environment for students, faculty, and staff—including implementing a hybrid working model where IT administrators can work remotely or on campus, as well as an online teaching model and digital learning platforms for remote instruction.

To stay competitive and meet the challenges of providing a relevant, engaging educational experience—no matter the location—the university’s IT teams sought to continue learning about and adopting new technologies, including Kubernetes orchestration for container-based applications.  

“We needed to become more flexible to quickly adapt to changing, complex requirements. We wanted to look beyond traditional tools and approaches to find new ways to work fast enough,” said Herane. “Beyond just investing in technology, we needed to invest in a cultural change that helps our teams work better together and measure the success of our improvements to the experience of our students and staff, so we can build more effective services.”

Enacting cultural change at immersive, expert-led workshop

To learn how to combine innovative open source technology with new development approaches, such as DevOps, Universidad Mayor decided to work with Red Hat Consulting through Red Hat Open Innovation Labs. Delivered virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Open Innovation Labs is an immersive team engagement that helps attendees adopt the skills, tools, and processes to deliver enhanced services and solutions faster.

“We understood traditional development methodologies, but we needed help to complete the initial stages of our cultural shift to new methodologies,” said Herane. “With a close connection to open source models, Red Hat’s unique workshop approach unites business and technology teams in a dialogue that focuses not only on technological aspects, but also on building the skills and competence to support a new and different culture.”

During its initial four-week Open Innovation Labs virtual residency, Universidad Mayor’s teams worked closely with Red Hat’s expert consultants and engineers to learn best practices for collaboration and the optimal use of enterprise open source technology. They also mapped technology and cultural changes to align with desired business outcomes. 

As part of this work, the university adopted Red Hat OpenShift, an enterprise Kubernetes container platform that helps improve developer productivity and supports innovation across hybrid cloud and multicloud environments. Universidad Mayor also participated in two courses with Red Hat Training.

The DO500 DevOps Culture and Practice Enablement course provided more than 20 people from all areas of the organization with practices and processes needed to prepare for their transformation during the Open Innovation Labs virtual residency. And the DO700 Container Adoption Bootcamp course helped reduce technical skill gaps by providing best practices on how to use OpenShift for operations, administrations, deployments troubleshooting and cluster health. With these two courses Universidad Mayor gained understanding of the technology, processes and open practices that helped them scale and become an open organization.

Through its work with Red Hat, the university established the foundation for a collaborative, value-focused culture centered on the desire to innovate and experiment, in alignment with open and agile practices.

Red Hat Open Innovation Labs engagement helps Universidad Mayor adopt collaborative, agile approach

Established foundation for a collaborative, transparent culture

At its first Open Innovation Labs engagement, the university’s business and technology stakeholders learned new ways to work together to create a unified vision for the organization’s future. By establishing a culture of joint learning and experimentation, the university can find creative solutions to its business challenges while staying competitive by maintaining its reputation for innovation.

“Red Hat’s approach gives us the freedom and support to collaboratively test a wide range of potential solutions and new paradigms, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning,” said Herane. “Their partnership-focused way of tackling problems is more in line with the spirit of higher education, where people learn, refute assumptions and established methods, and move forward with new knowledge.”

Reduced delivery time for new services and solutions

Standardizing its application development on Red Hat OpenShift after initial implementation at Open Innovation Labs has helped Universidad Mayor’s teams work more efficiently and flexibly. Internal users can now access minimum viable product versions of code earlier for testing and refinement in just 2-3 months, compared to much longer timelines using traditional approaches.

“This new way of working, supported by Red Hat OpenShift’s modular, responsive architecture, allows us to tackle the challenges that arise along the way with considerable flexibility. We can make more informed, tested decisions and focus on our users, with the responsiveness to adapt to a rapidly changing world,” said Herane.

Improved engagement with university community

The university has used its new technology foundation and work approaches beyond its business and IT teams, engaging the larger university community—including faculty and students—to identify and respond to their needs.

Several new solutions have been introduced as part of these efforts, including dynamic study programs with individual learning paths. These programs give students more control over their schedule and workloads—for example, to accommodate balancing their studies with employment.

“We’re introducing these solutions to help make student interactions with the university and society easier and more flexible,” said Herane. “Traditional educational systems don’t provide these features, because they follow conventional logic. But our collaborative approach, one that encourages experimentation, has helped us find innovative solutions to improve the experience of our students.”

Finding new opportunities to apply workshop experience

Universidad Mayor plans to apply their new knowledge of technology and collaborative cultural approach to new programs, such as residencies or open leadership engagement for university leaders.

“Our goal has been to rethink the concept of a university, to implement an institutional cultural change and break free from the conventional logic and structures that can sometimes create a barrier to innovation and progress,” said Herane. “With Red Hat, we found much more than a traditional technology company—we found an organization that is willing to work side-by-side with us during our transformation.”

Talk to a Red Hatter about Open Innovation Labs or learn more about Red Hat customer successes.

About Universidad Mayor

Universidad Mayor is a Chilean private-sector university founded in 1988. It has 11 campuses and four faculties that teach 47 undergraduate degrees and 99 postgraduate programs to over 23,000 students. The university’s mission is to educate people through an experience that encourages ethical behavior, an enterprising attitude, innovation, leadership, and respect for cultural and social diversity. Universidad Mayor is accredited by the Chilean National Undergraduate Commission and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. In 2010, it became the first Chilean university to achieve quality accreditation in accordance with international standards.

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