Universidad Tecmilenio


Global South




The Model

What is the institute’s sustainability approach?

Their approach to SD is as a Human Development University, where fostering the well-being and happiness of all students is the highest institutional priority. Tecmilenio aims to assist students in finding their life's purpose, and fostering the development of professional competencies to attain it. In order to achieve these missions, well-being and a sense of purpose are empirically measured, monitored and researched across the university population. Students are guided in their personal development through various operational strategies. For example, via the Positive Action Program, all students must complete 600 hours of community service during their degree. Community service is oriented around the SDGs, with a focus on social impact projects. All university students are also required to complete a 6-month internship for graduation.

transition process

Activities and Development Process

What is the institute’s overall culture of sustainability and their long-term vision for the future?

Tecmilenio sets out the core institutional values of innovation, integrity, collaboration, empathy and inclusion, and global citizenship. Their mission is for students to find their life’s purpose, and be equipped with the professional competencies to attain it.

How does the institute translate their sustainability vision into a sustainability agenda?

University programs aim to form strong characteristics of students through positivity, involvement, positive relationships, achievement, emotional development, physical well-being and full attention; these are measured and benchmarked within the university population.

What are the institute’s short-term practices and programmes which achieve their sustainability mission?

The Positive Action Program sees students as change agents via both their personal development and self-actualization and their engagement in the mandatory 600 hours of community service. The program is used as a focal point for SD, framed around the SDGs, where local challenges and sustainability are priority issues. Students are assigned individual counselors for personal development, and all students take a course in their first year called the Principles of Well-being and Happiness, as well as a Positive Organizations course, facilitated by the Institute of Well-being and Happiness. Students can obtain a Master’s degree in Positive Leadership.


Sustainability and Setting

What is the culture of sustainability at the country-level?

Mexico has relatively underdeveloped environmental policies, with the oil industry and widespread privatization seen as creating barriers to domestic action. Energy sovereignty is prioritized as a national policy rather than sustainability and climate action.

In which regional context is the institution situated, and what is their policy or activities of integration within the broader community?

Tecmilenio has campuses in 25 cities in Mexico, with varying regional challenges. For example, campuses on the Yucatan peninsula, a biodiversity hot spot, are confronted with deforestation and a strong presence of the oil and gas industry. Economic activity is also largely reliant on the tourism sector. Recent innovative regional programs aimed at SD are gaining momentum, such as a basic income shareholder program from small-scale farmers to incentivize the transition to organic and ecological agriculture and promote reforestation.

What is the institutional context of engaging with sustainability and experimenting with reorganisation or alternative governance approaches?

Founded in 2002, the university’s original mission was to offer high-quality education to promote employability and develop the regional workforce. In 2013, the Institute of Well-being and Happiness was created, placing happiness at the center of the educational process.

Process and Approach

Development Timespan

What was the time-line and process of development and implementation of the sustainability approach?

Tecmilenio was founded in 2002 as a spin-off from the Instituto Technologico de Monterrey. Due to a decline in student numbers after 2010, the institute implemented a dramatically different strategy, and between 2012 and 2016 actively involved experts in positive psychology, and expanded to 30 campuses in 25 cities across Mexico, and one ‘online campus’. Since 2013, well-being has been systematically and longitudinally measured and benchmarked in the community, and student population has increased to around 60 000.


Drivers and Challenges

What were the motivations for developing the approach?

The university is driven by a human development mission, fostering students as agents of change via positive psychology and well-being programs.

What are some challenges that arose?

Challenges have arisen in implementing an organizational mission-based strategy and philosophy of well-being for the entire university community, extending also to faculty, students’ families and graduates. A challenge is for the well-being ethos to transcend individual courses and programs. Methodologically, the rating of well-being amongst the population has relied on Lickert scales, which can show a bias towards high values; posing a challenge in assessing well-being accurately across a large university population.

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