The inaugural meeting of the body called consistory of the University of Debrecen was held this past Tuesday, where Rector Zoltán Szilvássy was elected to be the head of this new strategic consultation body.
, State Secretary for Higher Education, had announced at the end of January that, in compliance with the Law on National Higher Education, consistory panels would be formed in institutions of higher education as of February, 2016. Members of these consultation bodies would automatically include the rectors and the chancellors, whereas the other three representatives would be appointed by the Minister for Education, based on the nominations coming from the key organizations in the social and economic environment of the institutions of higher education, the given institutions of higher education themselves, and the student self-governing bodies of the given institutions of higher education. The mandates of the members would be valid for a five-year period. The consistory panel of the University of Debrecen was inaugurated at their first meeting held on February 9, and its current members are: Rector Zoltán Szilvássy, Chancellor Zoltán Bács, Lajos Fazekas, Zoltán Kotosmann and Miklós Szabó.
“At the inaugural session, we agreed on the order of business, elected a president and a secretary, and discussed the agenda which we would need to follow beyond the statutory minimum requirements at the sessions of the upcoming time period. One of the primary tasks we will need to tackle is looking at the institution development plan, which can be submitted to the Senate only with the approval of the consistory panel,” said Zoltán Szilvássy.
The Rector also added that the top management of the University of Debrecen had already passed a decision on setting up a consulting body of experts regardless and well before the statutory obligation, as the opinion of the actors on the economic scene would need to be considered on strategic issues regarding the university anyway. With the establishment of the consistory panel, this has now been taken care of.
Chancellor Zoltán Bács
said that he was happy that they could ask for the advice of experts who have a slightly different perspective on the activities of the university on strategically important issues, such as the institutional development plan, the annual budget, the annual report, and other similar matters.
“We believe that we are properly prepared within the university, with the appropriate structure and economic operation routines, although I also reckon that it is always advantageous for us to learn and accept others’ opinions, and this will definitely be beneficial for us,” said Zoltán Bács.
At the inaugural meeting of the consistory panel, the Chancellor gave a comprehensive overview of the tendencies of the past 15 years at the university concerning student numbers, magnitudes of economic operation, patient care, agricultural activities, organizational structure, and the amounts of state subsidy received.
According to Lajos Fazekas, Managing Director of Debreceni Gyógyfürdő Kft. [Thermal and Medicinal Bath Company, Ltd. Debrecen], the environment at the university is a “sterile” one, for which reason the responsibilities of the external members of the panel should make it possible for the institution to respond appropriately to the challenges represented by the dynamically changing environment and the movements on the real-life marketplace.
Zoltán Kotosmann, CEO of Heliker Invest Zrt. and Member of the Board of Directors of Debreceni Vagyonkezelő Zrt. [Debrecen Fund-Management Holding Ltd.], said that the objective of the legislators had been to include the economic expectations in the practice of running higher education, to which the right professionals with the required amount of expertise within the framework of consistory panels could greatly contribute. He added that the most interesting part of the inauguration session for him was when the Chancellor presented the structure and the economic operation of the institution. Although he had been aware of the remarkable achievements of the university so far, the details he had a chance to learn about this time provided him with a deeper understanding of the well-organized and responsible management practiced here.
Miklós Szabó, CEO of Tranzit-Ker Zrt., said he hoped that, through the activities of the strategic consulting body, the gap between theoretical instruction at the university and practical expectations of the industries could be effectively bridged, and the training of the work force required by major actors on the economic scene could also become more efficient.
The consistory panel is expected to have at least four or five sessions a year, which is well over the number of meetings prescribed by law.