przyszlosc budujemy na mocnym fundamencie

Interview with the Rector of the University of Warsaw, professor Marcin Palys.

- We are at a unique moment - said Rector of the University of Warsaw in the election campaign. What makes this moment - a legacy of the 200th anniversary of the university, long-term development program adopted by the Polish government, the implementation of challenges associated with the transformation of the university?

- At one time it coincided with several major events. The first is, of course, the university jubilee, which make us wonder how these two hundred years influence on future of the university. We do not want only to deal with the previous achievements, but above all what we can do today.

The second very important element is the fact that University of Warsaw is in a good both financial and organizational position.

The third unique thing is our long-term development program amounting 945 million PLN. The Polish government adopted a multi-annual plan, which will allow us to complete the modernization of the university. New buildings will be the base for a variety of innovative ideas. We will be able to work better and more effectively, the university will gain greater recognition abroad.

- Are you talking about the idea of creating a research university, as a response to this demand?

- Partly yes, but a broad perspective and combining knowledge from different fields of science are needed not only in the research. It also features a university education. We want our students to learn teamwork and understanding people speaking languages of other disciplines.

przyszlosc budujemy na mocnym fundamencie logo uw

- Are there any further proposals apart from the interdisciplinary study humanities and mathematics and natural sciences, which the university have been operating for many years with excellent results?

- As for the interdisciplinary studies, the MISH and MISMaP well fill their role. On a smaller scale, that is, on the courses, you will see a clear need to provide students with subjects from other disciplines, and use of the whole offer of the University. We analyze why a lot of people, with a pool of items to choose, decide only on the items offered in their basic faculty.

A lot depends on the culture of studying, understanding that in addition to the knowledge of their area there is need of a broader view. Still students have the attitude of chooisng subjects which is easy to pass, not those that expand knowledge. Another thing is that a lot of students work and study at the same time, i.e. simultaneously live in two worlds - university and outside uniersity. This means that they look at the usefulness of studied subjects through the prism of their usefulness on the job. We want to facilitate the individual development of the study programs and encourage to make choices bringing more benefits, not the savings.

- It is in the idea of university research, which involves a more selected students, or elitist studies. It is known that such a serious multilateral study is wanted by a small percentage of the population. So if you create such capabilities, you invite such people. Is it a fully aware decision of the university?

- Yes, we should say to candidates very clearly that we offer them studies in a very good location with many possibilities, but we expect people who want to take advantage of this opportunity. If their goal is not to get an education at a very high level, other educational institutions will be for them probably a better proposition. So on the one hand we offer a lot, on the other hand we also have high expectations. We want people who are really interested in using the chance to study in our university. Changing the nature of the university will consist of a gradual shift from mass education model.

- Does the creation of new structures, such as the Faculty of Journalism, Information and Bibliology, unusual post-graduate studies for future teachers of mathematics and Polish language fit into this model?

- The creation of the new department is a manifestation of organizational changes. This is an example of a merger, the aim is to expand the field of activities, compete with each other within narrow disciplines, searching for a common denominator and interoperability. Two institutes from different departments, initiated connection of them in a single deaprtment with flat structure without institutes.

- Could this be an attempt to create a new way of training teachers, which is now very criticized in Poland?

- I hope. The program for these studies is structured differently. Although these are post-graduate studies, but carried out in stationary mode. They are free and students receive a scholarship. The will spend forenoon hours in Warsaw schools conducted at different levels of education, where they will learn about the practice of the teaching profession. Every day after the practical part they will meet theory lectures. Creation of the program was possible to thanks to the support of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation. I think that the money has been invested in a very interesting way.

I hope, too, that this way of education will be used broadly at the university. Selected tutors will teach future teachers. This is a departure from mass education and return to the master-pupil relationship.

- All what we are talking and other initiatives at the university, like the spin-offs, or the distinguish employees with outstanding research and teaching achievements are activities on various fronts in the process of creating a research university ...

- Of course. The university is a huge body and you have to remember that, unlike corporations they are not organized "from the top down" only "from the bottom up." It's not suited method that the boss - in this case, rector - comes up with a great plan, and then distributes the tasks among employees. The role of the rector is to facilitate this, that every employee and student are able to use their potential for common objectives to create better university. In this way the organization raises a lot of different ideas which gradually come to the aim.

- Such a plan is the strategy of the university.

- Yes, but only strategy sets our destination. But everyone should wonder which path is the best to achive it.

- When did the university reach a critical point, which decided about this change, what was the impulse?

- For many years we have thought about research university. The moment that breathed more life and energy into this idea, was preparation for the 200th anniversary and associated multi-annual program. Paradoxically a growth in bureaucracy contributed to that. Administration of science has become so burdensome that many people began to ask questions themselves, where we are going, what is at the end of this road, what we want to achieve.

- And new investments emerging in recent years, as the Biological and Chemical Research and the Center for New Technologies?

- Investments in the field of science actually created new opportunities and freed a lot of energy. Many people began to think boldly about their plans. Emerging centers attracted people from the outside, very good candidates, who are intrigued by new possibilities.

- Is the government program for the university at risk?

- Please note that this program is carried out over 10 years and ends in 2025. That's more than two cadences of government, rector or dean, so we do not think about the short-term effects, and strategic objectives.

In the introduction to the document, which was the basis for the establishment by the Council of Ministers of the program, it is recorded that the university is one of the most recognizable institutions also abroad. I think more and more people also realize that it is worth investing in it, that it was one of the symbols of modern Poland. Support for such a purpose should be independent of the color or political party. It is an investment, which is to serve not only the university, but also should be important for the whole country.

- Your position as rector bringing the university into third century is also unique, in addition in the difficult period of the election campaign.

- Each rector is in a unique situation. This is a very interesting position, which gives a lot of satisfaction, but it also requires considerable effort. The fact that just in the period of my mandate the university came in the third century, it is simply by accident. Surely every election campaign is an opportunity to summarize recent years, and drafting plans for the coming years. the Jubilee has given us an extra boost to this, we ask themselves questions about the long-term goals of the university.

- And what is the answer?

- Here we go back to the beginning of our conversation. Very good response is the password of the jubilee celebrations "Two centuries. A good start". We think about how to use our achievements and make them a very good beginning of the third century. 200 years of history is treated as a foundation on which we build the future.

– Thank you for the conversation.

Lidia Jastrzębska

Partner merytoryczny

Patroni medialni

logo PAP

dziennik gazeta prawna