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Budget, performance development in academic fields, remuneration policy and new degree programmes

2021-01-06 08:11:23

The Corvinus 2021 budget was positively assessed by the University Senate.

The Corvinus 2021 budget was positively assessed by the University Senate. The meeting also covered the performance development regulations for the academic field, the remuneration policy, the members of the Academic Career Committee and the new programmes

Budapesti Corvinus Egyetem

 Written by: Máté Kovács 

The transformation of the University puts a heavy burden on the staff, which places increased responsibility on the leaders of the institution, said Dr. András Lánczi, Rector of Corvinus Univesity at the beginning of his speach before the agenda. “There are several items on the agenda today where we need to keep this principle in mind. Any effort that weakens the responsibilities and powers of university leaders counteracts the strategy. “

– he said. 

The maintaining foundation will support the operation of Corvinus in 2021 with HUF 8 billion Corvinus projects HUF 26 billion expenses and HUF 16 billion income in 2021, according to the budget reviewed by the Senate on 15 December. Of the remaining HUF 10 billion in funding, HUF 8 billion willbe covered by the institution’s maintaining foundation and HUF 2 billion by the reserves of the university. 

According to the Chancellor, the budget was based on decentralization and the principle of subsidiarity. All organisational units prepared a budget plan without prior restrictions, which was later adjusted. The maintainer did not impose conditions on the funding only the 8 billion total amount was discussed based on the preliminary plans. According to Dr. Ákos Domahidi, “we have succeeded in creating a living budget that was not made in a dark room, on a single computer, but through the involvement of a lot of people, arguments and compromises. The role of the Chancellor was to maintain the balance of the budget”. 

On the revenue side, the phasing out of state scholarships as well as the impact of the coronavirus can also be felt. According to the Corvinus forecast, although the latter will still be noticeable in 2022, no further deterioration is expected, only stagnation. A change is expected from 2023, which will be supported not only by the recovery from the crisis but also by the start of renewed and new programmes. 

Based on the budget, the central men’s sanitary block will be renewed, and office renovations will continue. By supporting digitization, the university is taking steps towards paperless administration, and another student social scholarship will be introduced, specifically for those living in dormitories.

Personnel costs increase by 11-12 percent to HUF 12.7 billion. As a result, for example, the budget of the cafeteria will increase to a supergross budget of HUF 590,000. The Chancellor added to a question from Gábor Toronyai, the President of the Union, that “the rise in the cafeteria framework will be linear, meaning all colleagues will receive the same increase in their cafeteria budget for 2021. In 2021 this translates into a definite gross income increase of 10% for colleagues earning 300,000, 7% for those earning HUF 400,000 and almost 6% for those earning around HUF 500,000. Everything else can be determined at the end of the normal wage increase process. ” 

A novelty in the budget is that next year it will also allow for Scandinavian type community planning for 1-2 developments as a pilot, with a HUF 5 million per project, which is still being developed. 

Dr. Balázs Felsmann drew attention to sources of revenue with higher risk factors. Due to risk management, the university will open only 65 percent of the budget to the organisation units on 1 January, while the remaining 35 percent will be made available only after an interim budget closure in the summer. By then, they will already see to what extent the risky part of the revenues has been collected, and they can make adjustments without a drastic reform of the budget. At the same time, organisational units can adjust their budgets at any time within their envelope, without any administrative burden. 

The draft budget was also welcomed by the trade union. Dr. Gábor Toronyai said, “I was happy with this budget, it seems like clear and open speech”. When asked whether the 2020 bonuses to be paid in 2021 are included in this budget, the Chancellor responded: “we are not playing with numbers, the 2021 budget only includes the 2021 bonus, expected to be paid in 2022 ’. 

In the budget, the planned number of Corvinus Scholarship students shows an increase, which is contrary to the strategy of reducing the number of students, pointed out Dr. Erzsébet Kovács. According to Dr. Ákos Domahidi, this is still being discussed with the maintainer. It is envisaged that the HUF 3.8 billion budget would be the maximum for Corvinus Scholarships, to be received by the university not only for Corvinus Scholarships, but also as a source of development and investment. Its purpose is to ensure that there is no per capita funding, i.e., there is no need to enrol more students just to give the university more resources. “It is not the number of students that will decide the score limits, but it will be a real, strategically based professional decision,” the chancellor said. 

Performance development regulations in the academic field 

Both the Senate and the maintainer have previously adopted the new academic career model, complemented by the Performance Development Regulations and Remuneration Policy, which were adopted by the Senate at its meeting on 15 December. According to Dr. László Csicsmann, Vice-Rector for Academic Workshops, the logic behind the new regulation is to shift the emphasis from quantity to quality when evaluating performance.

According to the vice-rector, the next three years will be a test of quality improvement. From January, discussions will begin between managers and employees, where commitments broken down to the individual level will be designated for three years. Managers will provide feedback on an annual basis based on the career model, but there will also be mid-year consultations and self-assessment will be a priority. 

Successful performance plays a role in promotion as well as in wage increase. To the question by Dr. Miklós Rosta, the Vice-Rector said: “Promotion (appointment of an assistant professor-teacher) is also possible within the cycle, but it must be initiated by the institute council and the employer. The three-year cycle brings in predictability, but it is not exclusive”. 

If someone does not meet the pre-determined conditions, a dialogue begins between the manager and the employee, where the reasons are revealed and an action plan is formulated. The employee then decides whether to accept the terms. 

However, there may be a situation that the employee does not agree with the manager’s position; this was raised by Dr. Erszébet Kovács and then Dr. Miklós Rosta added that this may arise not only during the fulfilment of the goals but also during the career change. According to Dr. László Csicsmann, a cultural change is important in this respect, it is important that trust should be the basis of the discussion. There may not be an agreement, in which case the employee may lodge a written complaint (appeal) with the Rector within 8 days, which will be assessed by the university management. 

Performance evaluation will also be part of the performance development, which Dr. Mária Dunavölgyi, the head of the Corvinus Employee Council also considered important. Zsuzsanna Arnold Csntericsné, Head of Human Resources, confirmed that “this is a further direction of development, there is room for 360-degree evaluation within 1-2 years. In the first year, it is important to develop practice and trust, which allows for honest and open opinions. ” 

The task for the next period will be to set up an Education Evaluation Committee, according to Dr. László Csicsmann, where all colleagues can receive a comprehensive, complex evaluation. This problem was also highlighted by Dr. Tünde Tátrai, who said that it was a general opinion that the role of education had devalued. “It’s hard to say what qualifies as quality education. There is a logic to quantify the evaluation for promotion which in turn is too simple to help teachers. ” 

Dr. László Csicsmann also agreed that educational excellence was difficult to measure, there were no described, developed foundations. At the same time, he believes that “there is serious work going on in the background, where Éva Bodnár and Gergely Tamási are working hard to develop their education evaluation system”. The importance of educational excellence was also later emphasized by Éva Bodnár in her speech. 

Dr. Zsuzsanna Nagy, Director General of the Corvinus Library, added that “the references do not directly and unequivocally reflect quality, the professional evaluation of the data used is extremely important”. According to her, “the content and reliability of the data used for the evaluation indicators of each author need to be clarified, because they can often influence it in both positive and negative directions.” Dr. László Csicsmann agreed and said that the career committee would also take these differences into account. 

Amendments proposed by the Trade Union 

In his first motion, Dr. Gábor Toronyai, the head of the Trade Union, asked for adding elected membership of the Council of the Institute, the chair of the Professors’ Board, and membership of the Corvinus Employee Council to the elected university positions, as in his opinion “all are important and significant positions”. 

However, there was disagreement about the motion. Rector Dr. András Lánczi did not agree with expanding the list as “representing the interests of colleagues is an important task, but I do not think that it should be made part of the document in this form”. He added that “membership as a bonus goal is a strongreinterpretation of goals”.

– said the deputy rector. 

However, according to Dr. Mária Dunavölgyi, President of the Corvinus Employee Council, “this service is also a public service, which is provided without compensation”. Among other things, they took part in the drafting of the Social Committee’s rules, they arranged for colleagues to be vaccinated and take part in the discussions, which belongs much more to the services subchapter than to its other categories, according to 

Dr. Mária Dunavölgyi. Dr. Balázs Felsmann also agreed with the argument saying that, “we acknowledge some advice, it’s no big deal to recognize these positions as part of the service as well. They do not receive separate remuneration for it, and they emphasize it.” 

The proposal was rejected by the Senate with 6 yes, 7 no votes and 10 abstentions. In his second amendment motion, Gábor Toronyai wanted that the approval of the Senate should be required for termination of employment based on shortfall from the expectations. 

In his justification, he put it this way: “in order to fulfil the mission of the university for the public good, it is essential to enforce the fundamental right of academic freedom, which is also guaranteed by the Fundamental Law. The most important condition for this right is the safety and stability of the indefinite-term employment (…) of leading teachers and researchers. “. 

“The proposal aims to strike a good balance between our two interests. The university teaching and research community can ensure, through the publicity and weight of the Senate decision, that, even in the case of three-year evaluation cycles, the indefinite-term of employment of leading lecturers and researchers should be terminated by the employer only in justified cases. ” 

However, according to Dr. László Csicsmann, this is the right and responsibility of the employer. “Employer rights are not transferable to a body. The establishment of the legal relationship is not decided by the Senate either, so its termination does not fall within its competence. In the career model, a culture of dialogue and complex, regular evaluation are of primary importance and not this. If a colleague does not perform for some reason, their legal relationship could be terminated even befire, but these are extraordinary cases” – the Vice- Rector added. 

The proposal was rejected by the Senate with 1 yes, 7 no votes and 10 abstentions. 

The third motion was to include in the text that “at any stage of the procedure, the staff member may request the support of the trade union by contacting BCU FDSZ directly.” According to Dr. László Csicsmann, however, this is a general rule, an option provided to the employee by the Labour Code, and employees can ask the trade union for help at any time. 

The proposal was rejected by the Senate with 4 yes, 6 no votes and 10 abstentions.


The remuneration policy clarifies the pay system in principle 

The aim of the remuneration policy is a simpler, more predictable and transparent remuneration system that defines responsibilities. The details of the basic salary are defined in principle in the document and the regular salary increase resources will be allocated accordingly. 

“Compensating for extra work will not be an ad hoc management decision, but a specific definition,” – said Zsuszanna Arnold Csentericsné. The new element in the document is the reward: “there are always, there could be university-level achievements that deserve recognition, and affect motivation,” he added. 

This will include, among other things, a research grant premium and a research excellence programme to stimulate research. In addition, a coordination committee will be formed for the calls for applications, the composition and operating principles of which will be submitted to the Senate at the next meeting. Márton Barta added that they would like to create a transparent and predictable performance incentive system for application funds. The new rules will be introduced in an ascending system, so it will not apply to ongoing projects. 

Discussion on the wage table and overtime 

The remuneration system is based on the university teacher bracket, which is considered to be 100 percent. In comparison, trainees and assistant teachers will receive 35 percent. In his speech, Dr. Miklós Rosta asked what this would mean in practice, as he thought it was important that “assistant teachers and trainees do not starve either”. In her response, Zsuzsanna Arnold Csentericsné emphasized that the wage table was designed to be appropriate for the wage in the lowest wage bracket. 

Dr. Miklós Rosta also suggested that while the bonus rate for teachers is 20 percent, for administrators it is only 15 percent. According to Zsuzsanna Arnold Csentericsné, this is because they are paid in two types of labour market segments. Administrative staff are remunerated on a market basis, while academic salaries are adapted to other references. 

Overtime is reimbursed by the university between 110 and 150 percent, to which Dr. Miklós Rosta drew attention. However, according to Dr. László Csicsmann, this does not mean that no one would receive the portion between 100 to 110 percent. “Anyone who reaches 110 percent will receive the full overtime amount.”

Dr. Mária Dunavölgyi and Dr. Tünde Tátrai also expressed concern about the overtime budget, as they believe many teachers exceed 150 percent in the current system. According to Dr. Tünde Tátrai, “those who have devoted all their accomplishments and time to the university, are slapped in the face. They will not reach the level available in the market even with wage increases. ” This can be a problem in institutes where there is a very high workload of teachers, such as supervisors and reviewers, and postgraduate training. Dr. Mária Dunavölgyi therefore suggested that where there is a shortage of teachers and a persistently high number of students, it should be possible to exceed the 150 percent limit. 

According to Dr. László Csicsmann, however, this debate has already been conducted and they voted on the framework. “We wanted to break with the quantitative approach that colleagues take classes even over 150 percent. The university wants to limit the excessive workload and there will be a continuous increase in base wages and performance in terms of income. ” Dr. László Csicsmann also acknowledged that an uneven workload is a problem in several places, but he is confident that it will only be a temporary issue and will be resolved after professional developments. 

The Renewed Academic Career Committee has been established, with six members receiving a favourable opinion from the Senate 

The Senate reviewed and voted on the three new internal and three new external members of the Academic Career Committee. The internal members are Dr. Zsuzsanna Elekes in the field of social science research, Dr. Attila Tasnádi in the field of economic research, and Dr. Ágnes Zsóka in the field of economic research. 

Chris Ball (Quinnipiac University, Director of the Central European Institute), Péter Kelle (Louisiana State University, Distinguished Professor) and Dr. Tamás Magyarics (ELTE, Anglo-American Institute, Department of American Studies, professor) were elected as external members. 

In nominating members, the university asked the heads of institutes and academic leaders for proposals. Due to internationalization, it was important to elect members who have significant international experience, yet are attached to Hungary, speak Hungarian and understand the internal transformation of Corvinus. The advisory board of the Academic Career Committee will be elected in February. 

A new master’s and postgraduate specialisation programme starts at Corvinus, which has also been approved by the Senate 

A master’s degree in economic behavior analysis is starting at Corvinus, the establishment of which was also approved by the Senate. The project will be coordinated by Dr. Judit Sass, Head of the Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences, with the participation of several institutes. Dr. Helga Habis, Dean for Master’s Degrees, said that the professional development has been going on since March and the curriculum will be completed soon. She added, “this is a good example of professional development work where we can work with many institutes to create interdisciplinary training”. The degree programme is expected to start in 2022 after the accreditation process. 

Corvinus is also planning a new postgraduate specialisation programme called “International Project Manager and International Project Manager Economist”, the development of which started in the spring under the leadership of Dr. Bálint Blaskovics. The English-language programme will also gather students at international level, according to Dr. Péter Fehér, Dean responsible for executive and postgraduate specialisation programmes and is already in the process of accreditation. The Project Management Institute (PMI) also participated in the development of the programme, and in addition to the professional contribution, it will also participate in the implementation of the training with practicing professionals. The decisions of the Senate are available on the website.

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GEN.:2024.05.27. - 15:59:22