DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY FOR THE FACULTY OF EARTH SCIENCES, UNIVERSITY OF SILESIA for 2013-2020
The Development Strategy for the Faculty of Earth Sciences of the University of Silesia was prepared in 2013 by a team appointed by the Dean of Faculty, composed of: Dr hab. Prof. Andrzej Witkowski – Team Leader Dr Damian Absalon Dr hab. Jerzy Cabała Dr hab. Paweł Filipiak Dr Iwona Jelonek Dr hab. Prof. UŚ Ireneusz Malik Dr hab. Prof. UŚ Leszek Marynowski Dr hab. Urszula Myga-Piątek Dr Michał Zatoń
The Faculty of Earth Sciences conducts research in those academic disciplines which are assigned to the category of Earth Sciences. This leads to the formation of strong interdisciplinary research teams who engage in research considered, both in Poland and worldwide, to be of the utmost importance for the development of the human civilisation. The Faculty’s strategic objective in terms of research is to support such teams and ensure that they have the best possible conditions for completing their projects. The strength of research teams depends primarily on their scientific potential, namely the knowledge and skills of individual researchers, as well as the availability of state-of-the-art research infrastructure. Therefore improving staff qualifications, the promotion of research leaders and the acquisition of new apparatus are the key operational objectives delivered in pursuit of the strategic goal.
OPERATIONAL OBJECTIVES AND TASKS 1. Developing priority research areas 1.1. Focusing research on solving problems which are crucial to the furthering of science and the socio-economic development of the region, the country and the world. 1.2. Identifying priority fields of research in line with the EU Framework Programmes, the European Research Area, the National Research Programme (National Science Centre, National Centre for Research and Development), the Regional Development Strategy for Silesia, and the Regional Innovation Strategy, as well as updating them on an ongoing basis. 2. Attaining top quality research and academic credentials 2.1. Conducting such academic and staff policy as to guarantee that the Faculty maintains and expands the academic qualifications of its staff, as well as attains and maintains top academic performance 3. Creating appropriate conditions for improving the academic qualifications of the staff and promoting research leadership 3.1. Supporting the publication of papers in reputable national and international journals 3.2. Adding flexibility to the teaching hours of staff engaged in large-scale research projects 3.3. Supporting the growth of young researchers and their participation in research projects 3.4. Determination of the necessary criteria of scientific achievement for candidates applying for research and teaching jobs at the Faculty of Earth Sciences 4. Developing the Faculty’s own research quality assessment system 4.1. Maintaining a ranking of achievements of the Faculty’s research staff and identifying and promoting research leaders 4.2. Promoting and rewarding creative and innovative attitudes on the part of Faculty members (implementation, patents) 5. Openness, creativity and innovation in the field of research 5.1. Enhancing the presence of the Faculty of Earth Sciences, University of Silesia in the European and global research area by establishing cooperation with renowned foreign research institutions 5.2. Forming international research teams and project consortia dedicated to key research programmes, including the EU’s Framework Programmes and other undertakings within the European Research Area 5.3. Increasing the scholarly mobility of research and teaching staff under international programmes and bilateral agreements 5.4. Raising the international importance of the scientific conferences organised by the Faculty 5.5. Promoting interdisciplinary research 6. Becoming more active in acquiring funds for research 6.1. Intensification of efforts to raise external funds from such sources as the Foundation for Polish Science, the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, the Polish Science and Technology Fund, the National Science Centre, the National Centre for Research and Development, as well as the EU’s Framework Programmes, the Union’s Structural Funds, etc. 6.2. Increasing the role of business-financed R&D projects vital to the economy of the region and the country. 7. Strengthening and building up the Faculty’s R&D potential 7.1. Expanding the Faculty’s state-of-the-art research facilities. 7.2. Creating and upgrading the Faculty’s equipment used for research on an ongoing basis. 7.3. Raising external funds for research investments (purchase of equipment, construction/upgrading of laboratories/facilities). 7.4. Creating the potential to accredit laboratories and set up environmental laboratories.
OPERATIONAL OBJECTIVES AND TASKS 1. IMPLEMENTING MODERN PRINCIPLES OF EDUCATION CONSISTENT WITH THE NATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS FRAMEWORK 1.1. Gradual enrichment of the offer of educational programmes by introducing new specialisms and fields of study, primarily interdisciplinary ones. 1.2. Bringing existing courses up to date. 1.3. Extending the Faculty’s educational offer by including an engineer’s degree. 1.4. Aligning educational forms and methods with modern trends 1.5. Responding to global research and teaching trends. 2. ORGANISATION OF CLASSES AND INCREASING THE NUMBER OF STUDENTS 2.1. Conducting joint recruitment for the first year of undergraduate studies and offering joint educational modules at the Faculty. 2.2. Developing the e-learning and blend-learning programmes offered as a complementary form of studies. 2.3. Supporting school contests for secondary school pupils. 2.4. Cooperation between students’ scientific clubs and secondary school clubs focused on the natural sciences and socio-economic studies. 3. INTERNATIONALISATION AND MOBILITY OF STUDENTS 3.1. Promotion of student exchanges under international programmes and bilateral agreements with partner universities. 3.2. Developing programmes taught in foreign languages, especially in English. 3.3. Orienting foreign-language courses to teaching more specialist language. 3.4. Creating opportunities for foreigners to study at the Faculty. 3.5. Ensuring more training opportunities abroad. 3.6. Exchange of teaching staff with renowned national and foreign institutions so that they gain new teaching experience and skills. 4. INNOVATION AND LINKING EDUCATION WITH THE REGION 4.1. Increasing the online accessibility of databases, libraries, scientific journals. 4.2. Digitisation of the library and cartographic resources. 4.3. Making potential employers more aware of the competences of Faculty graduates. 4.4. Increasing the share of guest lectures given by specialists working in the region’s economy and inviting potential employers to participate in designing and improving study programmes. 4.5. Interaction between research and teaching – incorporating the staff’s research achievements into the courses – greater involvement of staff in the preparation and publication of textbooks. 4.6. Organisation of field student training and internships in the region. 4.7. Enriching the educational programme with entrepreneurial classes to make it easier for graduates to find their way on the labour market. 4.8. Intensifying cooperation with secondary schools, introducing vocational training courses. 4.9. Entering into partnership agreements with enterprises and business operators regarding student internships. 4.10. Consulting employers of Faculty graduates when creating and refreshing specialist study programmes 4.11. Surveying employers for opinions about the preparation of Faculty graduates for the challenges of today’s labour market. 5. IMPROVEMENT OF THE QUALITY OF TEACHING 5.1. Regular supervision of the teaching process by the Teaching Quality Assurance Teams at the Faculty and Field of Study levels. 5.2. Improving the quality of teaching by ensuring the Faculty’s academic teachers participate in courses regarding modern teaching methods, tools and forms. 5.3. Ensuring that doctoral students have proper teaching skills. 6. INDIVIDUALISATION OF EDUCATION 6.1. Personalisation of the educational process for students who are particularly talented and interested in Earth sciences, engaging them in team research projects. 6.2. Adding a block of teacher education classes to the set of optional courses available to Faculty students. 6.3. Tracking the evolution of students’ interests – aligning education to their interests in a flexible manner. 7. MONITORING THE RELEVANCE OF SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS’ INTERESTS FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF EARTH SCIENCE STUDIES 7.1. Analysis of the demand for Earth science education. 7.2. Ensuring academic teachers are familiar with the core secondary school curriculum. 7.3. Putting in place a system for surveying those who choose studies at the Faculty to gain a better understanding of what motivates candidates. 7.4. Making arrangements with the region’s secondary schools whereby some of their classes will be taught by academics from the Faculty and model lessons for their students will be organised at the Faculty; supporting the mission of the Museum of Natural Sciences through the Faculty’s educational activities. 8. PROMOTION AND ADVERTISING OF THE FACULTY’S EDUCATIONAL OFFER 8.1. Development of promotional and information activities – direct advertising. 8.2. Addressing an information campaign to the region’s secondary school pupils about the educational offer, study profiles and specialisations available at the Faculty of Earth Sciences and about future career opportunities for graduates. 8.3. Intensifying the participation of Faculty staff in the promotion and direct advertising of the earth sciences among the general public in the region. 8.4. Organisation of a Geographer’s Day and Geologist’s Day on an annual basis and ensuring that scientific and educational events are covered by the media. 9. BUILDING AND OFFERING A PROGRAMME OF LIFELONG LEARNING 9.1. As required, extending the range of postgraduate studies and offering courses and training to raise the qualifications of company employees so that they can pursue environmental priorities, European agreements, EU legislation and international conventions. 9.2. Active cooperation of academic teachers with Children and Youth programmes and the University of the Third Age. 10. PROMOTING THE UNIVERSITY’S CULTURE 10.1. Popularisation of the academic ethos by promoting behaviour embodying the University’s culture and demonstrative of respect for intellectual property. 10.2. Cultivation of the academic tradition. 10.3. Encouraging the activity and creativity of students and involving them in the organisation of conferences, workshops, open door days, student festivals, charity events, volunteering, etc. 10.4. Working consistently towards strengthening students’ discipline, their morals, and academic integrity, as well as showing zero tolerance for antisocial and discriminatory behaviour contrary to what is expected from a student.
III. STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE: “ACTIVE CO-ACTION BETWEEN THE FACULTY AND THE ENVIRONMENT AS PART OF THE OPEN UNIVERSITY” In addition to pursuing its cognitive and educational purposes, as well as those related to the popularisation of Earth sciences, a modern university unit, such as the Faculty of Earth Sciences, also feels responsible for the development of the city and region where it is based. The Faculty’s research potential is not only focused on basic research but also on the provision of R&D and expert services supporting the activities of local government and stimulating the region’s economic growth. Given the broad range of Earth science research they pursue, the Faculty’s staff can dedicate itself to research in the fields of mineral resource geology, environmental geology and geophysics, hydrology and water management, climatology, land development, and landscape protection, as well as socio-economic geography. Cooperation with the environment also includes working with other universities and research institutions in the region and the country with a view to creating research consortia, joint applications for research funds, and the completion of R&D projects. Working closely with schools and other educational institutions in the region is crucially important for developing the Faculty’s teaching capacities.
OPERATIONAL OBJECTIVES AND TASKS 1. Promoting the Faculty 1.1. Promoting the teaching and research infrastructure of the Faculty and the potential for using it. 1.2. Promotion of the Faculty’s R&D potential and using it for the provision of specialist consultancy services, preparation of expert analyses, designs, documentation, maps, and environmental studies. 1.3. Online promotion and dissemination of the Faculty’s scientific and academic achievements. 1.4. Getting more Faculty staff to join domestic and international organisations, professional associations, advisory bodies, and other opinion-forming organisations. 2. Collaboration with the environment 2.1. Tightening cooperation with other Silesian universities, research institutes and institutions having an environmental profile. 2.2. Monitoring the expectations of the public and business environment towards the Faculty’s academic and teaching staff and its graduates. 2.3. Entering into new forms of cooperation with central and local government bodies and with enterprises dealing directly or indirectly with the Earth sciences. 2.4. Cooperation between the Faculty and employers with a view to their joint utilisation of the scientific and research potential. 2.5. Involvement in initiatives benefiting the region and Poland as a whole (including the creation of geoparks and other forms of nature conservation, which mainly concern inanimate nature). 2.6. Setting up research teams together with companies and forming research consortia to conduct joint research and commission research projects. Applying jointly for EU funding and financing from other sources. 2.7. Intensifying cooperation with schools and educational institutions in the region with a view to exchanging experiences, improving school curricula, as well as furthering and updating teachers’ and students’ knowledge of the Earth sciences. 3. Graduates 3.1. Creation of an active database of the Faculty’s alumni. 3.2. Promoting graduates on the Polish and international labour markets by issuing letters of recommendation to the best of them. 3.3 Creating and updating the “Graduates” bookmark and publishing information about the careers of alumni in different institutions in the region, Poland, and Europe.
The use of systems management is required to adapt the Faculty to external developments, such as legislative amendments, the changing expectations of users of educational and research services, as well as the general development of the earth sciences. Such an approach requires the organisational structure, use of premises, and employment policy to be rationalised, and the equipment and apparatus upgraded. At present, systems management efforts must focus on continuous upgrading of the Faculty’s computer infrastructure with a view to ensuring efficient circulation of information and improving remote service provision to candidates, students, doctoral students, and staff. Systems management must work towards integrating activities across the areas relevant to the Faculty’s work.
OPERATIONAL OBJECTIVES AND TASKS 1. Efficient management of the Faculty 1.1. Effective monitoring of the Faculty’s various areas of activity. 1.2. Adaptation of the organisational structure to ongoing teaching and research objectives. 1.3. Supporting students’ and doctoral students’ government. 1.4. Planning human capital development and its rational management. 1.5. Collecting information about the teaching and research activities of the Faculty’s organisational units in an efficient manner. 1.6. Continuous monitoring of the hazards to the Faculty’s effective activity, risk analysis and taking preventive action. 2. Systems management of the Faculty’s finances 2.1. Improving the Faculty’s budgeting and financial planning. 2.2. Continuous cost and budget implementation monitoring. 2.3. Conducting analyses of potential sources of funding for the Faculty’s activities. 2.4. Acquiring additional funds (subsidies, grants, etc.) to expand the Faculty’s activity. 3. Modernisation of IT infrastructure 3.1. Developing computer infrastructure and electronic information systems. 3.2. Making greater use of computerised tools to handle candidates’, students’, PhD students’, and staff issues. 3.3. Building up an easily accessible Wi-Fi network so that students and staff can use the services available online in a convenient manner.
All contents prepared by: Prof. Dr hab. Adam Idziak Dean of the Faculty of Earth Sciences of the University of Silesia