How would you evaluate the year of the anniversary?
One thing is for sure: even those who did not believe in it or did not regard the celebrations as a good idea, must acknowledge the success of the anniversary year. We managed to celebrate it with remarkably diverse and worthwhile programmes. I also think that the events surrounding the 1 September were a real salute to the founders. On 8 December a leader of Europe was inaugurated an honorary doctor, and this event, together with the concert of that night, was a worthy closure of the year of 2017. The news of Mr. Tusk's inauguration were not confined within the country; it was live broadcast to Brussels, which is quite a rare occasion for the university and the town as well. I hope we were able to widen the renown of the University of Pécs. I am glad that we could close such a successful year.
Since the academic year started on 1 September, the anniversary is extended well into 2018. The Jubilee Chronicle will be published soon; an illustrated summary of the main events of the anniversary year. I think this publication will be a nice present to those who we must specifically thank for their support.
What is your opinion about the rectorial election and its results?
I was utterly happy about the fact that there were as many candidates as four, since it means that the rectorial position of the University of Pécs is an attractive position. I think the campaign was moderate, which was good for the university. During the elections everything went down in accordance with the regulations. Even the Electorial Senate Meeting was very moderate and temperate. The fact that only the second round brought about a final result also showed that senators were considering the case very seriously, and I hope their decision was as wise as possible. I would be glad if the decision of the Senate was confirmed by the sustainer (Ministry of Education) as soon as possible.
And until then?
As I said earlier, I would like to work as a managing rector after the official announcement of the results of the rectorial election; I will do every task I need but I wouldn't like to start anything that may hamper the work of the future rector. I wish the confirmation arrived as soon as possible so that I could carry on by synchronising our tasks with the new rector.
A higher education institution always faces a lot of work to do, thus I suggested a program at the Rectorial Board meeting and at the Deans' Meeting that is not bound to the person of the rector but would improve the life of a university a lot. It consists of several factors – among other things, issues of deregulation and the administration of doctoral students; organisational matters. The circumstances of the Szentágothai Research Centre are also important: if we aim to establish an internationally renowned research centre, it must be made autonomous. We have already taken a step toward that aim when we decided that the centres of excellence may belong to SzRC, which could provide the Centre with resources. The organisational and operational rules of SzRC should be modified in this view.
What do you mean by deregulation?
We need to follow legislative and regulative changes, and they are so fast that sometimes we feel we get lost among the host of legal regulations. The Chancellor and I have asked one of the former dean József Ulbert to screen the administration making our daily life difficult and point out those rules that are not bound to any rules now so that we can get rid of them. I think this measure is not bound to the person of the current rector but contributes to a more efficient operation.
You have also mentioned the possibility of a change in the organisational framework.
Universities in Hungary operate within the framework of rigidly defined faculties, albeit there are several positive international examples for institutes and schools instead of faculties. Maintaining the faculty structure, it would be worth to give smaller departments a chance to become more independent and autonomous as 'schools'. The intent is given in several cases, for instance the strong and progressive Institute of Psychology at the Faculty of Humanities may receive a chance. I would prefer a similar solution for dentistry as well. These matters do not depend on the person of the rector, either.
How is the Modern Cities Programme going along?
I think a new chapter has opened. A number of developments have been included in this programme, but it is without doubt that one of the chief elements is the renewal of the medical campus, and the groundworks already have begun. I am glad that we have been able to move forward and we may make up for the delays. I am convinced that the success of the Modern Cities Programme is of everyone's interest.
The University of Pécs organized its traditional New Year's Professorial Meeting on 10 January 2018 at the Hotel Palatinus. Professors, retired and emeritus professors have been invited as well as the leadership of the university with almost two hundred attendees altogether.
Dávid Gáspár, a student majoring in piano at the Music Institute of the Faculty of Music and Visual Arts, played and improvisational music serving as a prelude to the event. Since the last meeting two of our esteemed professors have passed away: Magdolna Kovács (Medical School) and Miklós Kengyel (Faculty and Law), the memory of whom the participants honoured with a minute long silence. During 2017 ten new members of this illustrious group have joined, who after receiving their official nomination by the president of Hungary received their university gowns from József Bódis rector on 1 September 2017 at the unveiling ceremony of the sculptures of Louis I of Hungary and Pope Urban VI. The gowns symbolize that these professors now belong to the professorial staff of the University of Pécs:
At the Faculty of Law: Tímea Drinóczy and László Kőhalmi,
At the Medical School: András Komócsi, Miklós Koppán, László Mangel, Gábor Reuter, Attila Schwarz and Csaba Varga,
At the Faculty of Health Sciences: Péter Tamás,
At the Faculty of Cultural Sciences, Education and Regional Development: Gábor Szécsi.
The Professorial Meeting is known to offer a wonderful occasion to summarize last year's achievements, which was especially eventful thanks to the Jubilee Year of the foundation of the University. The Universitas Televison, which celebrates the 25th anniversiary in 2018 showed the highlights of last year in a 20 minute video summary. In his speech Rector József Bódis said that the jubilee programmes have been successful, “they have been brimming with content, we will remember and which will make us proud.”
He pointed out that for the fruitfulness of the jubilee year celebrations we have to thank many people, and it was a joint effort, a good example of cooperation. Regarding the future, the rector expressed his hopes that the change in the leadership of the university will be “smooth, and it will set the university on a new course with improved vivacity.” The official part of the event was followed by a banquet offering an opportunity to the professors to have casual conversations.
The halls and rooms of the centre were filled with students, the sounds of Christmas carols and wonderful scent of orange and cloves. Students of both the English and Hungarian programmes were invited. They had the chance to participate in many different crafting activities, such as making a Christmas keychain shaped like a hat, or making a paper Christmas tree from the prints of hands cut out of green crepe paper, and they could also try their hands at decorating an orange with cloves. I assure you, the scent put everyone into holiday mood!
“Usually about a hundred students gather at this event, where both English and Hungarian programme participants enjoy a bit of leisure time. This is an occasion where the students can meet and get to know each other outside their lessons.” –said Kata Pelcz, Head of the Hungarian Programme.
This year there are about 140 students in the English Programme and about 20 in the Hungarian Programme. The participants in the latter are learning Hungarian in an intensive course in order to be able to study at the Hungarian programmes of the Medical School.
It is a heart-warming tradition of the rector of the University of Pécs to say a couple of words to all citizens of the University of Pécs at the end of the year. Please welcome the speech of József Bódis, rector of the University of Pécs.
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Dear Colleagues, dear Students!
Slowly we are getting near the end of the year 2017. I think, this so called jubilee year has been very rich in content for all of us with numerous outstanding programmes, scientific and cultural events and the 650 year anniversary of the foundation of our university.
We are honoured, that the day of the foundation of our university, 1 September, is going to be, from this year on, the Day of Hungarian Higher Education. Hopefully everybody acknowledges this in accordance with the world of thought, in the framework of which the university was founded, and has been operating since and hopefully will be operating in the future as well.
As the holidays are getting near, I would like to thank all of you for your work, positive attitude, activity, creativity.
I wish all of you a Peaceful, Merry Christmas and a Successful New Year!
Attila Miseta nominated for rector by the Senate of UP
The University of Pécs held a Senate Meeting to elect the new nominated rector of the university in the József Halasy-Nagy Aula on 18 December 2017. Attila Miseta has won the majority of the votes, therefore he is going to be nominated on behalf of the university at the Ministry of Human Capacities for the highest governing position of UP from 1 July 2018.
The mandate of the current rector, József Bódis is going to end with 30 June 2018. There were four valid entries for election, however, Bálint Bachmann withdrew his application before the Senate meeting on 18 December 2017. At the meeting, which was public, he confirmed his withdrawal.
Each of three candidates (József Betlehem, Róbert Gábriel and Attila Miseta) gave 5-minute speeches, after which the first round of voting began. 41 members of the Senate each gave a vote one by one, the Chair of the Electorial Committee, Adrián Fábián presided over this part of the meeting and guaranteed that everything was in accordance with the rules and guidelines of the University and the law. In the first round, József Betlehem has won 15 votes, Attila Miseta has won 15 votes and Róbert Gábriel has won 11 votes. The voting was valid, but without a majority, so a second round was needed, from which the candidate with the least votes was excluded. The second round was also valid with following result: Attila Miseta has won the majority of the votes (23), and József Betlehem has won 18.
According to the results of the Senate meeting, Attila Miseta, Dean of the Medical School is going to be nominated by the University of Pécs to fill the position of rector from 1 July 2018. After this election at the university, the Minister of State for Education recommends a candidate for rector, and it is the President who appoints the rector of the University of Pécs.
Attila Miseta was born in 1960 in Kaposvár. He has been teaching at the University of Pécs since 1984. He received his PhD degree in 1995, his habilitation in 2000, and in 2004 he has become a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He has been the Dean of the Medical School since 2010, and since 2013 he is also the director of the Department of Laboratory Medicine. His main topic of research is molecular biology. Among other prizes, he has won: the Markusovszky Prize; for supporting the Hungarian language medical education in Transylvania he has won the István Báthory Prize; the Péter Bálint Prize, and he has been awarded the Pro Communitate Prize of Pécs in 2014.
Four candidates submitted valid applications, they are the following in alphabetical order:
Dr. Bálint Bachmann, professor, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology
Dr. József Betlehem, professor, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences
Dr. Róbert Gábriel, professor, Dean of the Faculty of Sciences
Dr. Attila Miseta, professor, Dean of the Medical School.
All of the candidates introduced their programmes and answered questions submitted at the forum in writing at the Rector’s election forum held on 30 November 2017 in the Dr. György Romhányi Aula of the university.
The current rector, Dr. József Bódis has been in office since 1 July 2010, his mandate ends with 30 June 2018. He has been reelected in 2014, this is his second term, so he cannot be elected again. The new Rector will be elected at the Senate meeting on 18 December 2017 at the József Halasy-Nagy Aula (Rákóczi str. 80.).
Dr. Adrián Fábián Chair of the Electorial Comittee
A brand new, free service from the Faculty of Law at UP is to be launched offering help to know your way around the labyrinth of legal issues. Dr. Adrián Fábián, head of department and deputy dean speaks about the new program which is the first of this kind of service in Hungary.
How did the idea of Legal Aid Clinic come into being?
The initiative is not completely new: there has been a Legal Clinic as a course at the Faculty of Law. Within its framework students gained practical insights into the everyday application of law from their mentors. It is an obligatory course and students love it for its practical aspects. Dr. Tibor Fűzy is the professional leader of the program. He and I tried to find out how we could reshape this course to make it beneficial for Hungarian and international students. This is how the Legal Aid Clinic was born: it offers help to international students by our students and their mentors. Our idea was also welcomed by the Centre for International Relation and the Directorate for Academic Affairs and we are more than thankful for their support. Thus we can try it out!
How do you involve Hungarian students?
We would like to open a dialogue between the international and Hungarian students. On the one hand, international students will get a detailed picture about Hungarian law and get solutions for their legal problems, while on the other hand our law students will get a chance to practice their foreign language skills and gain in-depth experiences about the practical side of the application of law. It is important to note, that it is not the students who will solve the cases. Their mentors, who are professional lawyers, are also on board and they won’t leave their students alone.
How can the Legal Aid Clinic be contacted?
You should inform us about your problem vie E-mail , but communication is also possible through the Centre for International Relation or through the Directorate for Academic Affairs. As soon as we get in touch we begin to work on the solution. It depends on the difficulty of the case whether an e-mail would be enough to solve the problem or not.
What kind of cases do you expect?
We expect cases about administration and civil law, especially in the context of residence and housing, but as for me, I suppose more difficult consumer problems may also occur. I hope I’m wrong but I anticipate infringements regarding the fact that international students have to get used to Hungarian standards which can be different than those of their home countries. I think of for example breach of peace.
The University of Pécs has a rapidly increasing number of international students. How many cases do you expect?
Not more than a few dozens during at the beginning. Two students will do the administrative work and coordinate the processes, they will not be able to handle thousands of cases. If there are too many problems we will have to reshape our service. Capacity-building requires further plans, because our mentors work with us pro bono, so it seems tome that pouring thousands of cases on them would be like abusing their generous offer.
I look forward to getting cases from those students who have come to Pécs recently.
How special is the Hungarian law compared to the legal systems other countries?
The basic legal institutions are quite similar, but there can be greater differences in the details. For example rental contracts are used in every country but its structure may be different. For example German law protects the person who lives in the apartment more than the one who owns it. So, a person who comes from Germany may have an concept about what it means to be a lodger, which might be misleading in Hungary and it can even be a source of a conflict. We also think of problems like handling a form written in Hungarian or having a conversation with an administrator who does not speak a foreign language.
Are the public institutions so unprepared for international students?
The Hungarian state apparatus and the Hungarian public administration system are not as prepared for foreigners as the universities themselves. In particular, you should note that Pécs and the other bigger university cities are in a unique situation because the other territorial units of Hungarian public administration do not meet as many foreigners as clients. I notice that they are trying and willing, and there is also the fact that those with tertiary qualifications must have an intermediate language exam. It is questionable, of course, how they can apply their language proficiency in a case and how they can make an international student understand the formal issues. It should be noted that providing support at a high level foreign language cannot be required in most cases. International students must be patient.
Is there a similar service elsewhere in Hungary?
The aforementioned Law Clinic is part of legal education, but I do not know whether it would have provided a service similar to our Legal Aid Clinic. I have no foreign examples either.
I must add that the beginning may be difficult as this will be the first semester of the Legal Aid Clinic. That is why we will be grateful for any feedback as we can learn from these and, if necessary, improve the service so we can be truly proud of the fact that the Faculty of Law is also involved in the internationalization process. We take this job very seriously and plan to provide this service for free for a long time in cooperation with our partners, including the Centre for International Relation and the Directorate for Academic Affairs.
The Hungarian government offered me a full scholarship, which was quite tempting. Additionally, before I came here, I had been told that Hungarians were very friendly and helpful, which is absolutely true according to my personal experience.
What aspects made you choose UP?
Pécs, as opposed to Budapest, is a quiet and peaceful place, which is more suitable for me and I also looked up the university and found it promising. And the new English Programme also added to its appeal.
The Universe has always been a curious and mysterious place and there is no other subject which is better at exploring it than the one trying to model the Universe.
The English programme at the Faculty of Sciences was just launched when you started your studies. What is your opinion about the university?
Although there are some problems due to the novelty of the system, everything has been quite smooth thanks to the enthusiastic help from all people at the university. My courses are also quite enjoyable since lecturers try to adjust their teaching to my ability.
How do you see yourself in the future? Will you begin an Msc programme at UP? And what comes after that?
Since there are quite a few options when it comes to decide where to start my MSc degree programme, I do not have a strict plans, UP, however, is definitely high on my list. I have some ideas what I should do after MSc, but I still want to keep my options open, because anything can happen and I am open for new ideas.
When someone asks you about living in Hungary, especially in Pécs, what comes to your mind first? How do you like it here? Would you stay here and settle down?
Pécs is one of my most favourable cities. I am glad I can say that I feel relaxed and safe in this city. One thing I truly love about the city is that almost everything is within one hour walking distance, so I nearly never get to use any kind of public transportation. I rather walk as Pécs is a lovely place to do it, with all its trees and vintage buildings. I am not an out-going type of person, so I prefer peaceful places. Though my family and most of my friends are not here, and I do not speak the language, I would still keep Pécs at the back of my mind when it comes to settling down.
Medical students of the German Programme aren’t left alone
I had a conversation with Anikó Kramm, Head of the Office at the Admissions and German Student Service Centre. She explained in which cases the MS students could get help and her colleague Kálmán Sebők, who works as management consultant there.
What are the exact tasks of the Admissions and German Student Service Centre?
The primary task of the Centre is to answer all incoming inquiries with regards to the German-language medical education. It includes explaining the possibilities, how applications work, which documents should be enclosed, how the whole recruitment procedure progresses. The application period to the German-language general medicine and dentist program is open each year from the 1st of February to the 31st of May. All the incoming application forms are submitted to our office within this period. We prepare and coordinate the work of the German Programme Committee during the recruitment process and provide the admitted students with every necessary piece of information related to the beginning of the semester. This starts with the medical aptitude test, followed by accommodation issues and ends with the obligatory registration. Since they come from foreign countries, everything is new to them.
Upon the students' arrival at the end of August an orientation day takes place, where they are fully informed about administrative issues. The colleagues of the Registrar's Office answer all the questions in connection with entering Neptun and the educational system in general. This eventful day is also organised for the students of the German Programme by our office.
Then after the registration the daily life of the students begin. That is the time when the office becomes Student Service Centre in the first place, that is when we start to assist the students in matters that do not have much to do with their education. For example booking courses belongs to the Registrar's Office, every other social matter is to be solved by our office.
How can we imagine these social matters?
Just to mention some examples, the students can send their registered mail to the address of the Office if they are not home all day, we take over it and they can pick it up in the breaks or at the end of the school day. If someone's washing machine stops working, we call a mechanic, if their car breaks down, we order a rescue truck, if their landlord does not speak languages and they cannot understand each other, we help in overcoming the language barriers. We are trying to give a hand in any social matter where it is hard to find a way around - since the Hungarian public administration differs from the German one. We recommend specialists in healthcare, and of course if someone wants to sing in a choir, play in a band or the piano, we give guidance in those matters, too.
Based on this can we say that you develop a friendly relationship with your students?
Yes, we can. Since we work with problems of a more personal nature, we can say that until the 4th or 5th year we become friends with the students. Maybe we even function as a "replacement" for the family. There are people who come here after an unsuccessful exam and cry in the armchair, others tell us how their anatomy exam went. Of course, first they call their parents, but we can congratulate them by shaking their hands, or patting them on the back personally as well. The Germans studying in Pécs appreciate the fact that we greet them by their names on entering our office. They are not only numbers in a chart, but people of flesh and blood, and it is important for them to know that we care, too.
Let us not forget that these people have left homes – even their homeland - and come hundreds or thousands of kilometres to Pécs. They do not have the opportunity to travel back on the weekends. Despite of having internet installed and online contact with anyone, their problems in Hungary must be solved individually. They have to be smart and overcome difficulties, not only in their studies. The challenges of everyday life must be managed alone as well, that is where they can turn to us for help.
How many German Programme students are there in the Medical School right now?
In last September the number of the active students was around 800. This often changes though, because the school year in Austria and Germany starts one and a half months later than in Hungary. So it occurs that some students get a place at foreign universities in October despite their registration in Pécs. Depending on the successfulness of the exam period, some people may leave the UP of course again. Right now we have more than 700 students in total. The number of students staying here for the 3rd year grows constantly. The first four semesters in Hungary are accepted just like the German so-called "Physikum". After completing those, they can continue their studies directly in Germany (in case the concerned students are accepted at a medical faculty there) in principle. More and more people find the high-quality training of the UP attractive, so they choose to complete their studies here. More and more foreign language medical courses are offered in the surrounding countries, but the number of places in Germany remains the same, so it is difficult to return home. That is why more and more students stay here for the 3rd, 4th and 5th years as well.
100 freshmen started here in 2004, and 2 of them finished their education in 2010. In the following year there were 4 graduates, then 8 graduates. With a joke we could declare this as a 200% growth per year. 34 students have already graduated from our German Programme this year, and 49 people have started their 6th year here. So it is evident that the numbers keep growing rapidly.
The Hungarian medical diploma is recognized very positively in foreign countries. The graduates report without exception that the education has indeed prepared them for their path really well. Especially the practical part of the training is acclaimed highly everywhere. After the third year within the framework of almost every clinical course the students have contact with patients, too. They seem to have a safer knowledge and are more confident when making decisions as the residents that graduated elsewhere in Germany. This is all confirmed by the specialist doctors there as well, so the residents get immense positive feedback. They do not feel disadvantaged to those colleagues who had graduated in Germany, on the contrary.
What percentage of this 7-800 students visits the Office regularly?
At the beginning of their first year we meet every one of them, maybe even more than once. We get in contact with all of the freshmen. Later we mostly meet those students who often receive packages from home for instance, or have other problems more frequently. The year- or group-representatives visit us several times and they present the occuring problems to us.
The library of the university—with its information system, processed substance and service-centric staff— provides the literary supply of citizens of the university. It is physically present on every campus; its integrated library network is made up of 17 library units. (http://www.lib.pte.hu/en/about-us).
The number of its documents is over 1,600,000. The number of its subscribed online databases is over 20, which covers the fullness of the sciences taught in the university. These databases are only available to UP citizens. http://www.lib.pte.hu/en/adatbazis?dbstype=all
The library's predecessor, the first public library in Hungary, was founded by bishop György Klimo in 1774. The Klimo Collection—as a part of the University Library and Centre for Learning—can be found in 3 Szepesy Ignác Street. http://www.lib.pte.hu/tgyo/tgyo-klimo-konyvtar-muzeum
The use of the library network is free of charge for every UP citizen but is subject to registration. For enrolment in the library, ID card or passport and UP student ID are required. Library services can be used with valid library card in every library of the network.
In 2010, Pécs won the title of European Capital of Culture, in which project the modern building of the Centre for Learning was built. (2/a Universitas Street Pécs) Since then, this building is the centre of the university library network. Here operates the Central Library, the Benedek Ferenc Library of the Faculties of Law and Business – Economics as well as the Csorba Győző Library maintained by the City of Pécs. The library is located on 13,000 square meters, on 7 levels. Its reading room has hundreds of seats. Free parking is available.
The library in the Centre for Learning is open on weekdays from 8 am to 8 pm, on Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm and in exam period until midnight. There is also a restaurant and bookstore in the building.
The most important available services include reading room usage, book rental, photocopying, scanning, printing and wifi usage.