Fundación Universidad Isabel I (FUi1) was created in 2010 as a private, not-for-profit and independent institution with its own legal personality. From the beginning, the main goal of FUi1 has been to contribute to the advancement of society through activities with a strong focus on education, culture, health, science, sport, and the promotion of R&D. The Foundation also works for the inclusion of people at risk of physical, social, and cultural exclusion; the promotion of values such as tolerance, dialogue, and respect for democratic principles; and the development of new information and communication technologies that contribute to human and social progress.
The Foundation relies on the staff and expertise of Universidad Isabel I, a provider of online and blended education, with over 5,000 students and more than 200 hundred employees, including teachers, e-learningexperts, administrative staff, etc. However, whereas the latter’s core business is to provide private education,the Foundation takes charge of all non-profit activities, as a tool to reinforce the social role which must be played by any higher education institution.
Sports and physical activity are a hallmark both at the Foundation and the University. Not only the University has a Faculty of Physical Activity and Sport Science with state-of-the art facilities and prominent athletes among the faculty, but also sport, physical education, and the promotion of a healthy lifestyle are paramount across the university.
To prove our commitment both to sport and education, the University has implemented the UNARD programme (Universidad de Alto Rendimiento Deportivo – High Performance Sports University Programme), which aims at bringing Universidad Isabel I online education and flexibility (students manage their own schedule) to the special circumstances of professional athletes and coaches, enabling them to pursue both higher education and their high-level sports career. To that end, Universidad Isabel I assigns an individual tutor to students in the programme. The tutor knows how high- performance sport works. They will guide students throughout their university life: enrolment, follow-up of studies, assessment, exam dates, etc.
Given the high number of former high-performance athletes in key positions at the university, the institution is fully aware of how important it is to combine a sport career with university education. A good education is nodoubt the best investment for any athlete’s future.
Universidad Isabel I boasts over 100 professional sportspeople among students, most of whom take part in the UNARD programme. Some of our outstanding high performance participants are:
- Sheyla Gutierrez, cyclist (she finished 8 in the World Road Cycling Championship).
- David Llorente, canoeing (runner-up in world U-21 and third in European U-23).
- Patricia Coco, canoeing, participant in European and World competitions.
- Antonio Serrat, triathlon international junior categories.
- Víctor de la Parte, Movistar Team Cyclist.
- Ernesto Pérez Lobo, only Spanish male Olympic medal in judo.
- Beatriz Manchón, rowing, 2 Olympic finals, over 20 medals in European and World championships.As for the Foundation, it sponsors a wide range of activities related to sports, physical activity, and the promotion of a healthy lifestyle. Through the Universidad Saludable programme, from the National Network for Healthy Colleges, the Foundation organizes outdoors activities (trekking, walking, running, bike days out, etc.) to promote physical education among the university community. Furthermore, seminars and workshops on health, physical activity, and nutrition are held regularly.Finally, especial dual-career seminars have also been organized, gathering both educators and athletes, especially after the Universidad Isabel I has received the distinction of Olympic Studies Centre by the Spanish Olympic Committee.Relevant goals of the Foundation for this project include:
- The dissemination, appraisal, and transfer of knowledge focused on culture, well-being and economic development.
- To contribute to the advancement of society and to foster and implement activities promoting new ICT-based teaching methods regarding on-site and online education, culture, sport, science, and research.
- To promote the implementation of ICTs in all education levels in order to improve learning and the development of training programmes.
- To organize training courses, conferences, symposia, and seminars pursuant to the goals at the Foundation, at Universidad Isabel I or at other institutions with similar aims and activities.
- To improve and strengthen the link between the University, the private sector, and civil society in order to help students enter the labour market thanks to agreements with businesses and institutions.