In October 1975, a number of factors led to the creation of the Alcalá Campus of the Complutense University of Madrid, and the Faculty of Economics and Business Sciences opened its classrooms there. This Faculty initially replaced the extension of the Complutense University of Madrid in the "Arcos de Jalón" University College. The University of Alcalá became independent from the Complutense University in 1977, and the Faculty of Economics and Business Sciences took part in the renaissance of the University of Alcalá de Henares. The centre was the first at the university to award a Bachelor’s Degree, in June 1980, to the first year group of students at Alcalá.
Since those difficult times, this faculty has expanded and improved its services to students and to society in general. The past 25 years have seen great changes in the organisation of university studies in Spain, during which the Faculty has succeeded in adapting and optimising its resources, with a style of management and coexistence in which the participation of its members and the academic community is essential, as well as their continuous rotation of collective responsibilities. By way of an example, the Faculty has provided the most Deans of the University, who usually change regularly without repeating their term, of all the University's faculties.
The Faculty of Economics has very close links to the city of Alcalá, since it was the first centre of the new era to be located in the historical centre, in 1978, in the old sixteenth-century "Mínimos" convent, in the Plaza de la Victoria, which had been a military hospital between 1836 and 1970. The offices of the Chamber of Commerce were subsequently located in the same square, and the Faculty's location in the square can be said to be responsible for the concentration of economic and leisure activities which has arisen in the surrounding area, creating the "students’ area" that now surrounds the Cathedral.
This Faculty is one of the largest at the University of Alcalá, in terms of both the number of students and the number of lecturers. The centre, which currently offers nine degree courses, began its teaching with a significant number of students, due to the need in the Madrid area in 1975 to increase the number of places available on courses in high demand. However, in the following years, the University of Alcalá's uncertain future led most students to return to Madrid. The University's official recognition initially had little effect on the lethargy affecting the centre, and the number of students remained practically the same. As the University's situation returned to normal and its infrastructure and human resources increased, the Faculty of Economics began to expand, with turning points in 1980-81 (a shift towards expansion) and in 1988-89 (a contraction).
Our students' origins have changed since the early years, when the majority came from Madrid and elsewhere in Spain (mainly the region of Castile), and since the 1980s there has been an increase in students from the "Henares Corridor,” who nowadays account for the majority.
The Faculty's academic, research and consultancy activities over the last 25 years have included the MBA in Business Administration and Management, the agreement with the Spanish National Civil Service Institute for training Latin American civil servants on courses held in Alcalá before the course moved to Madrid, and the hosting of various international congresses, as well as a number of scientific, academic and cultural dissemination activities.
Taken from the book "Información general de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales de la Universidad de Alcalá: Los primeros 25 años (1975-2000)".
José Morilla Critz
Full Professor of Economic History and Institutions.
Faculty of Economics, Business and Tourism. University of Alcalá.