Judith Jímenez has been the coordinator of the FIFA/CIES International Programme in Sports Management organised by Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR) for ten years. She has just been appointed Director of the Escuela de Educación Física y Deporte at UCR. This interview provides an opportunity for her to take stock of her past activities and to present the objectives she wishes to achieve in her new position.
You have been the coordinator of the UCR/FIFA/CIES International Programme for almost ten years. What were your responsibilities?
I can mention the main ones as the supervision of the whole administrative process, the organisation of the interviews of the candidates and the management of the course. This is addition to the regular relations with the students, the attending of the participants at the beginning of the Programme, the management of the exams and marks, and finally the cooperation with the faculty. I was also the interface between the students, the teachers and the university, i.e. the Escuela de Educación Física y Deporte
What are your best memories of the job?
I really enjoyed getting to know the students at the beginning of the course and throughout the Programme. I had to network with them, manage interactions between them and with the teachers. All this was a kind of learning process for me. It has enriched me a lot. I also enjoyed setting up the process of "virtualising" the courses so that we could reach all of Central America.
How has the Programme evolved over the past decade?
The main evolution has been the shift from face-to-face teaching (on our campus) to a dual-mode format. This process began long before the pandemic! This change was a big challenge. But we were able to cope with it thanks to the support of the university and the commitment of our teachers who adapted perfectly to their new 'virtual' environment. Over the years, the Programme has opened up to all countries in the region. Our goal has been achieved!
Have the students and alumni of the Programme had any professional or sporting success?
Many have generated changes in their institutions. These may have seemed small at first but they were the initial phase of a snowball effect. Our students and alumni are working in regional entities, such as the cantonal committees, or at national and international levels, such as the Costa Rican Football Federation and CONCACAF. On the sports front, some of them have participated in the U-20 Women’s World Cup Costa Rica 2022 and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
What are your objectives as Director of the Escuela de Educación Física y Deporte?
I would like to boost the process of revision and modification of the curriculum for the training of professionals in the science of human movement. I also want to increase the number of teaching, research and social action projects that have an impact on this field.
How do you see the role of women in Costa Rican sport?
They need to be given more responsibility to participate in the growth of sport and sport organisations. They can also play an important role in both the future development and social impact of sport in the lives of people in Costa Rica and the wider region.