Academic Plenum 2019

The Academic Plenum is an annual meeting of the university management with the academic community, which aims to familiarise students, academic staff and other university staff with results of the past year and plans for the future. This year’s Academic Plenum took place on Tuesday, 19 February in Likesova Auditorium and was attended by all members of the university management of the University of Economics, Prague (VŠE).

In the introductory presentation, Rector of VŠE, prof. Ing. Hana Machková, CSc., focused on a brief analysis of the university environment in the Czech Republic and the position of VŠE in the education services market. She noted that the number of university students steadily falls, the number of private universities declines, and the interest in studying economics diminished, too (while in 2010 the share of students in the Economic Sciences segment was 25 % out of all enrolled students, it was 20.3 % in 2017). From the perspective of the student body size, VŠE is the seventh largest university in the Czech Republic (approximately 13,500 students are enrolled at the university). The indicator of the number of students per member of academic staff is still unsatisfactory (27.9). In 2018, the most significant achievements were the acquiring of institutional accreditation and the progress to the third stage of the AACSB international accreditation process. The main strengths of VŠE are internationalisation and study results after the second year of studies (graduation rate). Weaknesses are the lack of foreign teachers, external income from complementary activities, science and research, and the evaluation process of the reached study programmes aims (closing the loop). In 2019, the VSE will continue to implement the transition from quantity to quality, supported by an increased institutional budget by almost 54 million CZK.

Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs doc. Ing. Petr Dvořák, Ph.D., informed about the process of obtaining the institutional accreditation, setting up the electronic system, implementation of internal accreditations and about the implementation of a quality management system at VŠE. He also presented the development of applicants for bachelor’s and master’s study programmes. The main priorities of 2019 will be the completion of internal accreditation of new study programmes and the introduction of comprehensive exams of minor specialisations.

The longest amount of time to present was given to prof. Ing. Petr Musílek, Ph.D., Vice-Rector for Science and Research. In the field of science, a number of external evaluations took place in 2018. Also, the results of an assessment based on Method 2017+ were published. The evaluation of the selected faculty results (Module 1) did not bring positive results (the best results were of the Faculty of Informatics and Statistics which reached the 3.429 mark on the scale from 1 to 5). Module 2 is a bibliometric assessment. 65 % of VŠE outputs were included in the IV. quartile and only 4 % were included in the first decile. In another presentation, prof. Musílek focused on explaining the contents of the following Modules 3, 4 and 5 of Methodology 2017+. A positive fact was the high rate of success of grants submitted to GAČR (41%) and TAČR (42.1%). Thanks to the awarded grants, the publication quality of VŠE should be improved. The priorities of 2019 are as follows: the continuation of Modul 2017+ implementation, modification of the institutional support distribution mechanism, internal evaluation of faculty performance, elaboration of the long-term Concept of Research Organics for 2020-2025, adjustment of the methodology of assessment of the applicant’s requirements for habitation and professor appointment procedures, and improvement and internationalisation of doctoral studies.

As Vice-Rector for International Relations, prof. Ing. Jiří Hnilica, Ph.D., presented the excellent results of VŠE in the field of internationalisation and appreciated the quality of work of OZS (International Office) and its continuously increasing number of mobility and the development of foreign language-taught study programmes. The most important part of its presentation was the clarification of the AACSB International Accreditation and its Standard of 8 Principle. It is the obligation of the University of Economics, Prague to demonstrate a sophisticated system for evaluating the achievement of learning objectives of individual study programmes. Objectives will be evaluated during thesis defences (analytical thinking and working with data, communication and presentation skills, critical and creative thinking, ethics and sustainability) and state final examinations (knowledge and skills). The project was tested at the Faculty of Business Administration and will be implemented at all faculties of the University of Economics, Prague in 2019.

Vice-Rector for Strategy, doc. Ing. Ludmila Štěrbová, CSc., informed the Academic Plenary about the results of the Institutional Plan for 2016 – 2018 and that the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport approved the Institutional Plan of the University of Economics, Prague for 2019 and 2020 without objection. Vice-Rector appreciated the results of implementation of the first year of the ESF I project which involved five faculties. Currently, the preparation for submission of the ESF II and ERDF II projects take place. A Project Office was established in 2018 to provide support to project applicants, with except for scientific and research projects. The Project Office is based in the Italská building on the third floor.

The new Director of the IT Centre, Ing. Milan Nidl, introduced his vision of the Informatics Centre: “The Informatics Centre of the University of Economics, Prague is a respected team providing information services with measurable and guaranteed parameters whose core values are openness, reliability, professionalism, efficiency and client approach.” Mr. Nidl identified the following as strategic priorities: client access to users and customers of IT services, data security and protection (a new GDPR strategy, process and organisational changes), unified coordination of InSIS development and changes, reporting under VŠE conditions (validation of the catalogue of reports and architecture) information technology services with measurable and guaranteed KPI / SLA parameters (transition to SW, HW, OS, application …) to a reliable and transparent process of purchasing computer equipment, software and services, continuous professional development of the IT team and creation and fulfilment of the Information Strategy of the University of Economics, Prague.