The reform of the institutional structure of Corvinus University should have come 10-20 years ago, according to Előd Takáts. The longer the university postpones these steps, the more it limits its own competitiveness.
Why was it decided that the institutions needed to be reorganised?
The current institutional structure is outdated. The last time a similar reform took place was 33 years ago at the legal predecessor of Corvinus University, led by Csaba Csáki and Ernő Zalai, which put into practice a forward-looking concept at the time.
Ever since, however, this structure is outdated. On the one hand, unnecessary elements were added to the system: for example, two organisational units with similar functions were created due to a conflict between two professors. Although none of the colleagues have worked here since then, the redundant structure has remained with us.
On the other hand, and perhaps more importantly, we can use a disciplinary structure to guide lecturers and researchers towards their discipline. This makes it easier for them to cooperate, directs them towards their spiritual counterparts and exploits the opportunity for common thinking.
Why is the reorganisation taking place now?
Honestly, I would say that this should have happened 10 or 20 years ago. Since the early 2000s, it has become increasingly clear that good universities are characterized by outstanding research performance and their organisations are organised according to disciplines. Looking back now, this reform would have been appropriate at the time, as strong disciplinary workshops are able to engage in interdisciplinary research that is bound to disciplines by their community and is increasingly important today.
However, I understand any opinion that fears change and would slow down the process. At the same time, the uncertainty associated with the slow transition would place enormous stress on all of us. The longer we postpone this, the more pressure it lays on the university as an entity, while this stress distracts us from our daily operation and development.
The reality is that we want to compete in the global market for colleagues, publications and research money, yet in our current structure we are not competitive enough. The longer we postpone the change, the later we will catch up with the western universities operating under a modern institutional structure.
How was the new structure developed, what international examples were used in the design of the organization?
The aim was to create communities, workshops and organisational frameworks that are forward-looking both in education and research, can be interpreted well on the international stage, eliminate existing duplications, build on the existing strengths of the university, and at the same time enable the exploitation of new synergies.
As one of our main strategic goals is internationalization, including participation in international research and the recruitment of international researchers, we also strived to gain international experience. In order to develop the institutional structure, we analyzed the top 100 universities of QS World University Rankings, which lists the ranking of universities around the world, that have a similar operating profile. Of course, we have taken into account that the history, number and research-education profile of Corvinus University differs from these examples to some extent – however, the institutional framework has been well established along the disciplines.
The university has announced 11 positions as head of institutes. What skills do you look for in future heads of institutions?
The first criterion is that teaching and research activities are performed in their own discipline. Secondly, by bringing the Institute together as an excellent organiser, they create opportunity to exploit synergies. This includes not only management or performance evaluation, but also the development and mentoring of the institute’s teachers and researchers. The third is the proactive attitude: the future heads of institutes will help the rector and the academic leadership with new ideas – not only about the operation of their own institute, but about the operation of the entire university.
How will the process of establishing the final structure take place?
As a first step, we need to find the right heads of institutes. After the processing of the written applications, the applicants will be heard by a committee of six members, including the rector, Lajos Szabó, Vice-rector general, Zsuzsanna Csenterics, Head of HR and three members of the Board of Professors.
It is important that the Senate approves the concept of the institutional structure. Thus, in the applications for the head of institute positions there is still room for fine-tuning the structure. In the applications for the head of institute, there may be a situation where there will be overlaps in the concepts, so the structure will be developed jointly with the future heads of institutes, in consultation with them. This final institutional structure and the heads of the institute will be brought before the Senate together.
The exact timetable will, of course, be shared with applicants and the university community.
In your experience, how much does this call for applications excite the community at the university?
Plenty of people are interested. Discussions and consultations are already taking place.
This means a huge cultural innovation in Corvinus’ life, as typically a colleague applies for such positions. Since I started my job at the university as Rector last August, there have been more applicants for Vice-rector and Dean positions supervising the doctoral schools. Because of the strong, competitive concepts, it was a true challenge for the boards of referees. At the same time, we have found not only good candidates, but our operations got closer to international standards.
At this point I would like to emphasise that these calls are open. I would like to encourage everyone to apply and introduce their professional concept. Every good application strengthens the academic visibility of the applicant: it also opens the door to new professional opportunities. In addition, every good application enhances the reputation of the university. Each application is a step towards a modern, open and performance-oriented university.
The call for proposals for the head of institute position is available on this link.