Singidunum University is ever better positioned on the the domestic and international markets of higher education thanks to its modern curriculum, top lecturers and excellent study conditions
Milovan Stanišić, Ph.D., Singidunum University President speaks exclusively for CorD magazine about the modern approach to education, importance of work placement, bilingual studies and strategic partnerships with universities from the U.S. and Europe.
Interest in studying at Singidunum is growing from year to year. Are students aware of the importance of the practical knowledge that they need to acquire and apply even during their studies?
Due to the easy access to information nowadays, students know exactly what is important and necessary for a successful career, and that determines their choice of university. They highly value practical knowledge and skills, which they see as the most important criterion for employment. This is precisely one of the reasons for the constant growth of interest in our programmes, as Singidunum is recognised as a university that prepares students to be competitive on both the domestic and international labour markets, in accordance with modern business trends.
Practical sections are inherent in all our courses and study programmes. This kind of modern approach to education allows our students to be directly involved in modern business flows without additional professional training.
The world’s most developed countries have economies based on knowledge and innovation. Is that why your study programmes have been designed to cater to the needs of the economy and contemporary conditions for doing business?
Singidunum University has outstanding collaboration with the business community. The information we receive from companies operating in different areas of business contributes to the fact that our study programmes and teaching methods meet the needs of the labour market. All of our programmes have been carefully created to educate professionals who will – with their knowledge, creative ideas, innovative solutions and entrepreneurial spirit – be able to contribute to the economic and technological development of our country.
Never has it been that difficult to educate young professionals, especially given the fact that the popularity of a number of professions we are familiar with is beginning to wane, as well as the rapid emergence of new ones. In order for us to overcome this problem, we have adapted our study programmes to the actual needs of the labour market; we opt for using the most up-to-date textbooks, with the latest case studies, and contemporary theories, while teaching staff members are constantly improving their interactive methods of teaching and working with students.
Doing an internship is a built-in part of the University study programmes – why is that the case?
There is no high-quality education without the synthesis of theory and practise. That’s precisely why student internships are a mandatory part of studies at all the faculties of Singidunum University, and at present we have more than 500 agreements on the implementation of student internships signed with companies from various economic sectors. These are companies operating in the fields of marketing, finance, information technology, tourism and hospitality and education. There is also a possibility for students to organise internships on their own, which is confirmed by a certificate issued and signed by the employer.
This provides them with an opportunity to acquire their first work experience relevant to the study programme they are undertaking, which is certainly their entrance ticket to the business world. A large number of our students take advantage of this opportunity in the best possible way.
Singidunum responded to the challenges brought by the pandemic in record time and enabled the smooth running of teaching activities online
One of the main indicators of quality of higher education worldwide is the ability of graduates to navigate the labour market and their level of employability. How does Singidunum rate in this respect?
The real competences and skills of job candidates is what present-day employers look for and highly value. It no longer matters whether students come from public or private colleges, foreign or domestic, what matters is the extent to which they will contribute to the successful operations of a company. It is because of this that many students – especially in the fields of computer science, information technology and software and information engineering – secure a job already during their studies. There is no better proof of our effort than when a member of our alumni makes a successful career and achieves enviable business results. As you said, many of them have exceptional business results and numerous awards, occupying key positions in large companies, state institutions and international organisations, and for us that’s the best sign that we do our job well.
Is there still great interest in studies in English at Singidunum University and the programmes organised in partnership with Franklin University?
Interest in our English-taugh study programmes is growing significantly among foreign candidates, who recognise Serbia as a safe and attractive destination for studying. Thanks to a modern curriculum and programmes, teachers with international experience and excellent study conditions, Singidunum has positioned itself well on the international market of higher education. What also contributes to the position are our strategic partnerships with universities from the U.S. and numerous European countries, which enable our students to spend their final years of study at one of these institutions and obtain their degree.
Our Business Economics, Tourism and Hospitality, IT and Software and Information Engineering programmes also attract an ever increasing number of students from Serbia who want to study in English. This is just an additional argument supporting the claim that young people understand the surrounding needs and want to become bilingual professionals, thus gaining better employment opportunities, especially in foreign companies, while studying in their own city/country together with peers from all over the world. The possibility of studying in English and then transferring to foreign universities is especially attractive to young people from Serbia and the region, who – due to circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic – have been prevented from starting their studies abroad.
COVID-19 pandemic has led to a sudden and radical transformation, i.e. digitalisation, which has also affected the field of education. How do your colleagues and students rate the quality of online teaching?
We are witnessing one of the most significant turning points in the history of the educational system, with an awareness that things will never be the same again. Thanks to excellent technical equipment and the digital competencies of its lecturers, Singidunum University managed to respond to the challenges brought by the pandemic in record time and enable the smooth running of teaching activities online. We use the Microsoft Teams platform, which enables the effective implementation of teaching processes by utilising numerous innovative learning tools. Students have access to learning materials, including video recordings of lectures, and communication with lecturers is extremely effective. The quality of teaching has been rated very highly among students, while it has been noticed that they attend lectures more than they did under regular conditions, because they can follow lectures from a location that best suits them.
The most important thing for us is that students are satisfied with the way we implement online teaching and that many of them are even suggesting that the same model, or a blend of a traditional and an online one, should be preserved in the period following the pandemic.