Chile: Comparative Education and Social Change

Faculty and Staff

Roberto Villaseca, Academic Director

Roberto Villaseca, Academic Director
Roberto Villaseca graduated from the Universidad de Santiago de Chile with a degree in industrial management. He earned two postgraduate degrees, in university pedagogy and college management, from the Universidad Metropolitana de Ciencias de la Educación en Chile; he also has a master's degree in education from that same university. Roberto is currently a PhD candidate in education at the Universidad de Aconcagua, Chile, where he specializes in assessment and accreditation. Roberto has held academic assignments at the Universidad Arcis, Universidad de Santiago de Chile, and Universidad de Chile, and has served as the academic coordinator of the Faculty of Engineering at the Universidad Bolivariana. Roberto is an expert consultant on labor for state institutions such as the Chilean National Institute of Agricultural Development (INDAP) and SENCE (National Training and Employment). As a consulting member of the National Commission on Standardization of Occupational Competence, Roberto designed the Integrated Regional Programs (PTI) for CORFO (Development and Production Corporation). Roberto's research has focused on education, economics, globalization, and economic development, areas in which he has published several articles. His experience with SIT dates back to 2001 when he served as academic coordinator of SIT's Globalization and Economic Development program as well as SIT's Advanced Field Research summer program. He has served as an academic advisor of more than 40 Independent Study Projects for SIT students enrolled in different programs throughout Chile. In his current role as academic director, Roberto oversees every aspect of the Chile: Comparative Education and Social Change study abroad program. In addition to delivering lectures, advising students, and coordinating academic seminars, Roberto helps plan the program's educational excursions and works to ensure that students' academic needs are met.

Roberto has been academic director since February of 2009. This experience has helped him to analyze aspects of intercultural bilingual education in Mapuche territory, to understand the public aspect of the Argentine educational system, and to look at the relationship between intercultural education, human rights, popular education, and social change. During 2011, Roberto made presentations about the education crisis in Chile at various universities and schools and has participated in seminars on the students' strike and other social movements.

Rossanna Zurita, Academic Coordinator 
Rossanna has been working with the Chile: Comparative Education and Social Change program since it started in spring 2007; she previously held the position of program assistant. Rossanna is highly attentive to program details and each group of students and is very committed to the overall program. Rossanna holds a BA in philosophy as well as a BA in education from the Universidad de Valparaiso. She is working toward a master’s degree at the University of Arts and Social Sciences (ARCIS). Rossanna is a high school philosophy teacher.

María Daniela Escobedo, Homestay Coordinator and Program Assistant
María Daniela holds a teaching certificate from Universidad Mayor in Santiago, Chile. She teaches primary school in the Chilean public school system as well as Spanish to foreigners at the Chilean Institute of Language (ICHIL). In her role as program assistant with SIT, Maria Elena administers program logistics; as the homestay coordinator, she interviews and selects homestay families before matching them with SIT students. She works with host families and students throughout the semester to ensure a positive experience on both sides.

Juan Antonio Painecura, Program Coordinator, Temuco, Mapuche Territory
Mr. Painecura has coordinated SIT excursions focused on the Mapuche people for the past 16 years. He is a guest lecturer at Chilean universities on Mapuche history and philosophy and is the author of several articles on Mapuche history including “La Historia del Pueblo Mapuche en el Contexto del Modelo Neoliberal” (ARCIS, 2004).  A longtime activist on Mapuche community development and culture survival issues, he has conducted indigenous leadership training sessions in other Andean countries and is a founding member of CINPRODH (Centro de Investigación y Promoción de los Derrechos Humanos de Temuco), a human rights organization in Temuco, Chile. Mr. Painecura is a Mapuche retrafe (silverwork artist) and consultant to the Smithsonian and the Royal London Museum on their Mapuche silverwork art collections. He is the owner of Ruka Kimun, a Mapuche cultural training and indigenous tourism business. He holds a degree in design from the Universidad Católica-Temuco.

Marta Kesilevski, Program Coordinator in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Marta holds a B.A. in education sciences and a master's degree in social sciences with a specialization in education from the Facultad Lationoamericana de Ciensas Sociales (FLACSO). She is also a doctoral candidate in social sciences. Marta is the Chile Education program’s local coordinator for the homestays and excursions in Buenos Aires. Marta currently is an expert of the Ministery of Education in Argentina about topics of the quality education.

Faculty and lecturers for this program typically include:

Juan Eduardo García- Huidobro, PhD
Dr. García currently serves as Dean of the Education Faculty at the Universidad Alberto Hurtado. He received his doctorate in education sciences and philosophy at the Universidad Católica de Lovaine and his master’s degree in education policy from the Universidad Alberto Hurtado. He is also the director of the Center for Investigation and Educational Development (Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo de la Educación) and the former president of the Presidential Advisory Council for Education (Consejo Asesor Presidencial para la Educación). He has published extensively on the subjects of education and the Chilean educational system.

Manuel Riesco Larraín, PhD
Dr. Larraín is a civil engineering professor at the University of Chile. He earned his master’s degree in industrial engineering with a minor in economics from the University of Chile and received his PhD in political economy from the Social Science Institute in Moscow. He has worked as the external research coordinator for the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, Geneva, since 2003 and is currently the vice president of the Centro de Estudios Nacionales de Desarrollo Alternativo (CENDA), Santiago. He has been a consultant for the United Nations Development Programme since 1999.

His publications include: "Derrumbe de un Mito. Chile Reforma sus Sistemas Privatizados de Educación y Pensiones" CENDA, 2007.

Pablo Cottet, PhD
Dr. Cottet is the director of the School of Sociology at the Universidad ARCIS.  He earned his PhD at the Universidad de Chile, specializing in aesthetics and art theory. He has lectured extensively at public institutions and has made presentations at the Museum of Contemporary Art and various universities. Dr. Cottet has also conducted various research and intervention projects, as well as consulted for government agencies. He  has extensive experience as a teacher at undergraduate and graduate universities in Chile, such as Universidad Diego Portales, Academia de Humanismo Cristiano, and Universidad ARCIS. In addition to publishing several papers in books and magazines, Dr. Cottet led the international seminar "Current debates on social research methodology" for the doctoral program in social psychology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

Liliana Pascual, PhD
Dr. Pascual received her doctorate in educational sciences and her master’s degree in sociology from the Department of Philosophy and Letters at the University of Buenos Aires. She also has a master’s degree  in English language teaching from the Cambridge Institute of English Culture. Currently she is the quality manager for Argentina’s Ministry of Education.   

Nora Gluz, MA
Nora received her master’s degree in social science and education from the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences in Argentina. She received a bachelor of science in education at the University of Buenos Aires and is currently pursuing a doctorate in education at the same university. Nora is also a researcher and teacher, and has published articles and books on education in Argentina.

Mónica Bonnefoy López, MA
Mónica Bonnefoy López has a master’s degree in political science and local management from the University of Social Science and Arts (ARCIS) in Santiago and is also licensed in social work from the same university. She is currently an instructor in the department of social work and a thesis advisor at ARCIS University. Additionally, she is chair of the Social Intervention Methodology and Systemization of Social Practices Department at ARCIS. Her publications include “Trayectorias de vida en niños, niñas y jóvenes socialmente excluidos: aprendizajes de violencia” as well as readers for the Social Practices and Master in Social Politics and Local Management classes at ARCIS University. 

Geraldine Abarca, MEd
Geraldine Abarca received her master’s degree in education with an emphasis in bilingual and intercultural education for Andean countries from the San Simón University in Bolivia. She holds a certificate in education from the Metropolitan University of Educational Sciences (Universidad Metropolitana de Ciencias de la Educación) in Santiago, Chile and a certificate in pre-school education from la Universidad Católica de Chile.

In country resources and program partners generally include:

Costs Dates

Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Santiago

Language Study: Spanish

Prerequisites: Coursework in education, Latin American studies, or development studies; 3 semesters college-level Spanish. Read more...

View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Fall 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Spring 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Fall 2012 Evaluations (PDF)

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