Dear students, dear members of the Academic Assembly, dear alumni, I am pleased to be able to address you as Rector on the occasion of New University Day and at the same time wish you a successful start to the new academic year.
The New University represents an academic community consisting of thousands of students, alumni and a wide academic assembly of three founding members and already six associate members from Slovenia and abroad.
When I accepted the challenge to become a rector a year ago, our main goal was to ensure the excellence of the New University on all three fundamental pillars of its operation.
We first strove to ensure the stability of the university’s operations. This goal was achieved through professional staffing, which contributed to the actual and formal reorganization of the university, so that it is in better organizational shape than ever before. We are ready to serve as an effective service to existing and new students in the new academic year.
Our second effort was aimed at raising the quality of pedagogical and research work at the university. We have also taken important steps in this area in cooperation with the academic assembly. We expanded the academic assembly with many new colleagues. We revised all curricula in all of our study programmes. New or changed study programmes are being prepared and are awaiting accreditation. The pedagogical programmes of the New University have therefore deepened and expanded. The contents we teach at the New University keep pace with the times, and adapt to new challenges, so that our students will be equipped with the latest knowledge.
We draw this knowledge from research projects. In recent months, numerous scientific and professional works have been written and numerous professional events have been organized as part of research projects on the future of the European Union, corporate social responsibility, ideology in the courts, and encyclopaedias on Slovenia’s independence. Their contents flow directly into our study process.
All these projects are also carried out in close cooperation with international partners. It has intensified this year, setting a new, higher institutional level. The agreement with our Israeli partner has been renewed, a new agreement with a very reputable American university has been concluded. The New University is also strengthening its international position in the region. After receiving the British accreditation, for which the New University already applied, we will open our doors even more widely to foreign students from promising new academic markets.
All of this was accomplished in a single academic year, which, as we all well know, was not an ordinary year. In March, we were hit by the epidemic of a new coronavirus. All public life was stopped, physical contacts between people were limited. This directly interfered with our pedagogical process and at the New University we had to transfer all our educational and research activities into a virtual form overnight. We did it. The pedagogical process, though in a different form, was carried out in its entirety. The students fulfilled all their obligations and, as the surveys showed, the satisfaction with the implementation of e-studies was high.
This gave us an additional impetus to prepare even better technologically for the new academic year, which is just around the corner. Although our great wish is for everyone to return to the lecture halls as soon as possible and learn from each other in direct dialogue in accordance with the modern pedagogical approach, it seems that the epidemiological situation will not allow us to do so. Therefore, at the New University, we have prepared to, if necessary, carry out the entire pedagogical process in a virtual form, live, with lectures in our new e-classroom system.
All students, existing and new, will receive their university e-mail addresses at the beginning of the new academic year, with which you will enter e-classrooms where updated courses for the new academic year will already be waiting for you. Since every crisis is also an opportunity, I believe that even this, in these difficult times, will enable the New University to take an important digital step forward in its development into a state-of-the-art university that will remain true to its motto: New University, new opportunities.
Dear students, especially those who are joining our academic community these days, I wholeheartedly wish you, as Rector, to make the most of the new academic year in a professional and social sense, to gain as much knowledge and experience as possible. Enjoy your career life and at the same time create new life opportunities.
Dear professors and all professional associates of the New University, I wish you plenty of professional satisfaction while filling the heads eager for knowledge and as many new ideas as possible, for new research, which will, as always, be generated by discussions in lecture halls.
The new normality is that we will probably be in less close physical contact, at least at the beginning of this academic year. Although we will meet less in the hallways and in the lecture halls, we will look at each other more through the screens. Let us use this as a challenge, as an experience for the time when this epidemic will finally be behind us and when the acquired knowledge will have to deal with the economic, legal and social consequences that our time brings.
On the occasion of the New University Day, I congratulate our entire academic community and wish everyone good health and enthusiasm in the new academic year.
Prof. Matej Avbelj
Rector of the New University