Last week, a series of online lectures began, detailing some of the areas of the Corvinus Renewal Projects. Vice-Rector for Education Lajos Szabó was the first to present the results and further steps of the university’s educational development process on Wednesday afternoon.
He first talked about how the project was based on Corvinus’ mission and vision in this area. According to one of the key points of the mission, Corvinus University wants to train professionals who are the intellectuals of the future, have international-level knowledge and experience, but who use this knowledge in Hungary as much as possible, for the benefit of the nation.
The second point of the vision is quality, i.e. that the university will continue to admit the best students for whom it provides a high level of education. “The third point is talent management, in the framework of which the university provides such outstanding support to outstanding students so that their talents can develop the most,” Lajos Szabó pointed out.
Innovation and risk-taking
In order for the university to realize the above vision, it requires innovations, and risk-taking is essential for the introduction of innovations. “We do not shy away from innovation, both in terms of program curricula and the content and methodology of the program,” Lajos Szabó emphasized, and then he turned to the specifics concerning the principles and structure of education and the specializations. As a first step in the education development project, the operation of education at the university was reviewed, with a special focus on the Bologna system. One of the most important realisations gained in doing so was that the bachelor programs were too diverse, versatile and specific.
According to the Vice-Rector, another important problem is that the bachelor and masters programs are not always connected to each other properly, and the transition is not always harmonious, redundancies also occur. Overall, it can be said that most of the programs were not created in a unified competence development system at that time, and today the definition and measurement of student competencies is an important expectation of the employers.
So this was the starting point, compared to which new goals were set in educational development. In the case of bachelor programs, the goal is to start fewer, more comprehensive bachelor programs, instead of the previous 13 bachelor programs – 6 of which are also available in English – the goal is 8 bachelor programs, with an even more prominent English focus. Our masters programs however will be real specialist programs, of which more and more will start in English as well or only in English. In addition, shorter one-year masters programs are started where it is justified. With regard to specialized program it is an important goal to strengthen the English programs, 5-8 programs are also planned to be launched in English, and in response to market needs, shorter programs can also play a greater role.
As mentioned above, professional development is grouped around four points: one is student competence development, and in connection with this, the definition of output competencies, i.e. what the labor market expects from a graduate student of the university. “The focus is on student activity and student learning, not on what the lecturer wants to teach,” Lajos Szabó said. Another important dilemma is in which language the program should be taught, this is adjusted to the content and orientation of the program.
After groundwork comes the accomplishment
The first results of the program development project have already been implemented in practice, and these include the renewed bachelor’s degree in applied economics, the masters degree in economic analysis, the bachelor’s degree in international management, and the Executive MBA. The former two focused on advanced theories and their practical application, both in English and Hungarian. From now on, the Bachelor of International Management course can only be studied in English, which makes the course internationally competitive and attractive, with that students will also study at least one semester abroad. As a result of the joint collaboration of Corvinus, the Maastricht School of Management and SEED, the Executive MBA has developed into an internationally relevant and leading leadership training.
As a specific example, he mentioned the PPE – philosophy, politics, economy – program, which is in the development phase and will be a unique interdisciplinary English language course in Hungary. He then turned to the transformation of the most important, also soon-to-be-renewed undergraduate degree, i.e. business and management, which will appear in the business area in the future as an integrative undergraduate program instead of a fragmented undergraduate degree. It will also combine the knowledge of previous human resources, trade and marketing, tourism and hospitality, as well as the rural development agricultural engineering bachelor programs.
However, they are not only are reducing the number of bachelor programs but are also launching new ones. One example of the bachelor programs is Data Science, which is responding to the important trend of the present, the strengthening of the role of data science. Of course, educational developments have also taken place in the field of masters degrees: masters programs in behavioural analysis, international development and political economy are expected to be launched in the future. These majors are all in different phases, there are some that are still awaiting ministerial approval, but there are also ones that have already been approved by the Senate and may even start next school year. Among the specialized further trainings, the Vice-Rector highlighted the in project management training, in connection with which the university would like to become an accredited project management examination center.
Lajos Szabó also mentioned the developments ahead, including the in intention to renew the finance and accounting, bachelor programs in business informatics, management and organization, business development and diplomacy masters programs, as well as the Full-time MBA, supply networks, energy management and the public procurement further trainings.
Fewer exams, more practical assignments
In his closing remarks the Vice-Rector also mentioned the transformation of the student assessment system. This area is also characterized by a general change of approach, in the future the role of exams may be smaller in programs suitable for this, and the curriculum will prefer continuous work in the spirit of problem-based thinking. The same will be true for theses, where according to the new approach, not only a final, finished product will be evaluated but the whole process as well, the mid-year project work will be evaluated as a whole. Incidentally, this structure has already been implemented in the case of the renewed applied economics bachelor program.
At the end of Vice-Rector Lajos Szabó’s lecture the audience could also ask questions. One of the questions from the audience was how exactly is Corvinus ’practice-oriented program different from that of other universities, as most universities today represent a similar perspective.
In addition, larger project works are appearing in more and more subjects, in which students have to offer a solution to a real practical problem. “This problem-based approach is a real Corvinus specialty,” said the Vice-Rector.
Also in response to a question from the audience, he said that about one-third of undergraduate students remain at Corvinus for the masters program, which they would like to improve on, and the processes discussed earlier in the lecture, i.e. innovation in teaching, decreasing the workload of the faculty members and strengthening the mentor role of the lecturers can all lead to this direction. “So far, faculty members have focused primarily on educating and teaching, and there has never been time or resource before for the kind of mentoring or counseling system we want to introduce,.
We want this to change and ensure a systemic discourse between the faculty and the students, where faculty members not only teach but also point the way, serve as a guiding light for young people.” Szabó is convinced that by following this path it is possible to really show students how much higher starting salary and more serious career opportunities can be expected for a person completing one of Corvinus’ masters programs – even compared to competing universities. In order to ensure that the foreign country is not such a brain-draining force in this field, they are actively working on the development of an extensive system of international relations. “While we offer students stability at home, we also provide opportunities to study abroad.”
The last two questions asked about the issue of support for faculty members, to which Lajos Szabó responded that lecturers also receive the appropriate support for the developments. An internal training system is being developed, with training and coaching in focus, which is planned to include not only the development of the use of English but also supports faculty members in gaining experience abroad.
The footage of project presentation is available at this link: https://bit.ly/2JIrQBu