This year the University of West Bohemia entered another 5-year period, the underlying principles of which are laid out in its strategic intent for the period 2021–2025. What ideas formed the strategic intent and what is its creed? Read the following article by UWB Rector, Miroslav Holeček.
Everyone knows the feeling of
what it is like to plan making an important investment or the purchase of a new
car. In our mind, we imagine something much better than what we have now. The
possibilities are endless and we can dream up the ideal choice. However, the
road leading to it is paved with compromises and in the end what is left of the
ideal choice is something much more down-to-earth. However, the original dreams
are of extraordinary significance, as they show us the way forward, and in one
way or another affect the final realization.
When more than a year ago UWB's leadership started to contemplate the
university's new strategic plan, we came up with bold plans for new visions. It is obviously
tempting to imagine our university as one of the principal European centers of
education and advanced research, a university that also represents a major
potential for the educational development of our city and region, and whose
third role transcends not only the borders of the Pilsen Region, but also that
of the Czech Republic. From the very beginning, we knew that we had to be as
realistic as possible and thus tried to define our beautiful visions in ways
that are executable.
We started to think about what
is most essential. What is it that makes a university great? It is certainly
its reputable research, cooperation with industry, excellent international
cooperation… But first and foremost, a university is primarily a school. Education is the most fundamental priority.
However, the quality of education is harder to measure, verify and
determine than the quality of science or application results. What does it mean
to want to be a state-of-the-art educational institution? What will determine
that we in fact are one?
When you reminisce about your
school days, you are sure to remember some teachers. The ones that we remember
fondly are those who not only taught us well, but enriched our lives in other
ways as well. At school reunions, we might say that this or that teacher was
strict, demanding, but also fair and that we had a lot of respect for them. Yes, it is mainly teachers, second only to
family, who mold us into who we become and whose behavior reflects the values
which we adopt and apply in our own lives.
Even at university, we are
still teachers. It is not important whether we teach an essential course, teach
a practical seminar or work in a laboratory with students on their theses or
with PhD students on their research assignments. We interact with young people
who watch and evaluate us, and apart from the knowledge gained through such
interaction, they also take away something we might not even realize. Young
people spend a number of years at university, at an age when their civic
awareness is formed and when they engage in a number of significant
interpersonal interactions and start to seriously ponder not only what they
will become, but also who they will become.
What should our graduates be
like? They should have the best knowledge possible in their field as well as
awareness of a wider context. And most importantly, they should be responsible
people who do not take at face value every "guaranteed" piece of
information, but evaluate facts critically and are able to make a responsible
decision and defend certain values. These are qualities that a number of politicians
lack. However, the new generation of politicians will come from today's youth,
including those that we can have a direct influence on.
Our responsibility for the future of the world is enormous. This led to the
creed of our new strategic intent: The
best thing that WE can do for the future of the world is to help YOU to do it. In it, we embrace
the responsibility for the future of the world. It is not about our inventions,
scientific discoveries and publications, the curricula of new study programs or
works of art as such, but the fact that all of the above will contribute to the
formation of today's young generation is most important of all.
This is the fundamental idea
that our strategic intent is built upon. Without a doubt, we want to be better
at science, the third role, high-quality interdisciplinary education, and
internationalization, but most of all, we want to have young people in the
forefront of our minds, people whom we form, through these activities, that make
a contribution towards a better world. This is predicated on approaching all
our activities with maximum responsibility. If students can see what respect is
gained from achieving a research result or that a company is willing to pay
well for a good idea, they will begin to understand the value of good-quality
work, and mainly the quality of thoughts built on critical and patient
research. If students see that during the course they learn about complex
issues in an interesting way, they will learn to appreciate and respect
thorough and understandable expression of ideas and perhaps develop resistance
to banal platitudes and clichés of any kind. Yes, we have a big responsibility.
The strategic intent 2021–2025 attempts to express it and project it into our daily
The four basic priorities represent pillars intended to be specific
milestones towards which we want to steer our basic activities. We want to
strengthen interdisciplinarity in education and creative activity, as the
link and cooperation between various fields is our strong suit, which we want
to further develop in the future. Our priorities also include connecting
education and creative activity with practice. We want to strengthen our
cooperation with international institutions. Our geographical position as
well as our long-term cooperation with Bavaria present a challenge for us to
further intensify these ties. We also understand the university's role as
presenting a benefit for the region, utilizing its potential and at the
same time strengthening it and contributing to increasing its value and
attractiveness for students as well as international cooperation. Apart from
its influence in the Pilsen Region, our university has an exceptional position
with respect to the Karlovy Vary Region, where the branch of UWB that operates there
is the only public higher education institution in the region. We should therefore
continue to build up and strengthen our presence there, which is one of our
An academic environment is a creative and
stimulating one because it's independent. We want to continue to do everything
we can to further develop this independence so as to limit the restrictions on the
creative potential of individuals and their independent growth. But there
should be something that will connect us, and we believe that it is our creed,
i.e., the idea that our activity, however free and independent, is burdened
with great responsibility, a responsibility for the future world that is in the
hands of the young generation, on which, for a certain period of time, we can have
a significant influence.
of West Bohemia’s Strategic Intent for the Period 2021-2025 is available in the strategic documents on the UWB website.