The rector of The New University is dr. Matej Avbelj, PhD
The rector is the academic and professional head of the University. The rector shall manage, represent and act on behalf of the University in conducting its professional, educational, scientific and research and other higher education activities. The rector shall perform the following tasks:
1. convene and, as a rule, chair senate meetings,
2. coordinate the educational, scientific, research and artistic and other work of the University,
3. in cooperation with the management board ensure and be responsible for the lawfulness of the work of the University, for fulfilment of its obligations laid down by law, other regulations and general acts of the University,
4. together with the senate adopt criteria on the quality of the University, study programmes, scientific research and professional work,
5. be responsible for the monitoring, determination and assurance of quality in self-evaluation procedures,
6. report to the senate, management board and the founder of the University about the work of the University,
7. award doctorates,
8. confer University awards,
9. make proposals for the senate to decide on the matters within its powers and make sure that the decisions are implemented,
10. make proposals for obtaining consent from the management board in performing the tasks within its powers,
11. follow instructions by the management board concerning the correct application and interpretation of the Act of establishing, Statute, decisions by the management board and director’s decisions,
12. perform other tasks in compliance with the regulations and general acts of the University.
AN ADDRESS BY THE RECTOR:
New university, new opportunities
The new university is defined by two words. The first one is university. It denotes the space for acquiring, questioning and creating knowledge. Knowledge is universal. It knows no borders: not territorial, not ideological, but also not all possible borders related to the personal circumstances of the individual, which break up the everyday reality and complicate it into, in most cases, completely insignificant disputes. Since knowledge is universal, it does not exclude, but necessarily includes. All those who work hard to invest in their meritocracy to know more and simply be better. In this sense, our New University is a university.
At the same time, our university is new. This adjective, which is another defining word, has a descriptive and normative dimension. At the descriptive level, which is less important, the new university is chronologically new because its creation is recent. The new university is therefore a new educational initiative in terms of time, but it is also new in terms of content and therefore also in normative sense. In this respect, the New University means a departure from the old. It represents a discontinuity with the prevailing way of functioning of universities in Slovenia, which were often large, bureaucratic, hierarchically structured, cumbersome and inefficient systems, which was reflected in the absence of pedagogical and research excellence, as well as in international isolation. Before that, the university was an ideological tool in the hands of the ruling politics and thus the opposite of critical scientific universality, which it should have been, by its definition.
The New University, which is nourished by the values of constitutional democracy based on human dignity and the rule of law, underlined by political liberalism in European Slovenia with a cosmopolitan mark and global openness, means a break with the old. The New University is therefore an autonomous, private educational institution that, through an inclusive, critical dialogue approach, creatively contributes to the co-creation of public space and builds on knowledge as a fundamental and common universal good. All these elements are reflected through the three founding members of the New University: European Faculty of Law, Faculty of Government and European Studies and Faculty of Slovene and International Studies. The social sciences, law and humanities at the intersection of Sloveneness, Europeanness and the global world are the topics that most characterize modern times; call for new challenges to be addressed that require new knowledge; new experiences and new, critical and creative individuals. Together with its associate members and the faculties that will be created under its auspices, the New University embodies a transdisciplinary approach in academic terms.
The university is based and builds on three pillars: pedagogical, research and international. In pedagogical terms, the New University turns the conventional approach to teaching upside down. At the centre is a student. His dialogical relationship with a professor who builds his authority not on an artificial hierarchy but on a knowledge-based meritocracy. In this pedagogical approach, the professor does not hide behind the desk nor does he require students to learn by heart. At the New University, according to the popular Socratic method, studies take the form of discussions between professors and active students, who, in addition to a basic understanding of the issues they are dealing with, should also develop their own creative and critical attitude towards them. As a result, original questions are often heard louder in New University lecture halls than pre-learned answers. However, the question always comes first: What and why do you think?
The second pillar is research. This serves the epistemological purpose, i.e. the creation of new knowledge in itself, and at the same time its application in practice. The research work of the professors of the New University is the one that enables the introduction of practical contents into the pedagogical process, as well as new scientific findings. The research work takes place within the research groups of the faculties of the New University, which are extremely successful in Slovenia and also resonant internationally, where they co-create the European scientific research space in the field of law, social sciences and humanities. Our guideline is excellence, which we export abroad for research and import to Slovenia in cooperation with colleagues from the most prestigious foreign universities. We thus help to place Slovenia on the European, truly global academic and research map.
This, however, is already directly related to the third: the international pillar of the New University. Since knowledge is universal, it does not stop at national borders, below the Karavanke chain. Therefore, the New University at the bilateral, multilateral institutional and personal level of professors and researchers concludes and implements (transnational) pedagogical, research and other professional agreements in Europe, the USA and Israel, which enable further institutional growth and training of students in the pursuit of excellence.
The vision of the New University is thus quite clear: excellence in pedagogical, research and international affairs! During my rectory, this vision will be realized through three pillars of action. The first will be dedicated to ensuring the stability of university operations. The second will be dedicated to raising the quality of pedagogical, research and professional work at the university. The third is the internationalization of the New University. We will only be successful in all this if we recognize these goals and these university ambitions as common and implement them in close cooperation between deans, professors, researchers, students, professional services and administration. There is a new academic year full of study, pedagogical, research and professional challenges ahead of us. There will be plenty of opportunities to prove ourselves. I therefore wish all the members of the New University a lot of creative energy, courage, determination and success. Good luck!
Ljubljana, 1 October 2019
Prof. dr. Matej Avbelj
Rector of the New University