Internationalization (not only) at the Faculty of Science

In the editorial of the last double issue of university magazine Silverius the rector of UJEP doc. Martin Balej evaluates one of the quality indicators of universities. This indicator is the degree of internationalization of UJEP and its parts.

The international range of our faculty’s activities belongs to one of the key goals of its current management. In fulfilling them we rely on strategic measures to strengthen internationalization at UJEP, as well as on the specifics of the Faculty of Science and experience.

We try to motivate our students and employees for international mobility (study, work and practical internships) in the form of special scholarships, participation in their promotion and special programs in regular studies. For employees by including them in the staff development plan. Furthermore, activities in the international field, namely foreign-language publications in international journals and at international conferences are more supported within the stimulus directive for research and publishing activities. We also consider important to actively involve academic staff or students in international professional societies and project teams – see projects and research (eg FloraLith, IKON, Cancer nanomedicine, Acore, activities in New Guinea) or the preparation of international conferences and schools (1), (2), (3).

We are aware that the support must not end only with short-term activities, so our effort is to focus on study programs (Bc., Mgr., PhD) implemented in English. Especially in the case of doctoral study programs, we consider it necessary to offer at least a possibility to study in English for newly prepared application for accreditation. Since 2019 we have been trying to promote our foreign language doctoral study programs within the Czech Universities platform among others.

We are convinced that in addition to the material infrastructure of our workplaces, bilingual information systems must be supported so the new faculty building – Centre for Natural Sciences and Technologies is equipped with an orientation and information system in both Czech and English. Key faculty documents, as well as an entire website, have been translated into English. Information service on the events at the faculty is also planned in English which is a common practice at many Czech universities. We are aware that such information increases the potential to address foreign partners and applicants for study or internship.

We still consider the relatively low motivation of our employees and students to go abroad and to actively invite/receive students and employees from foreign partner institutions to be an obstacle in the process of internationalization of activities. We, therefore, intend to seek further ways to support their international activities. We expect a greater degree of administrative support from the newly prepared UJEP international cooperation strategy within the U21 project, thank to which it will hopefully be possible to focus primarily on the content and not on the formalities of international cooperation. This could also lead to a higher motivation for its implementation.

On behalf of the management of the Faculty of Science
Jan D. Bláha, Vice-dean for External and International Relations