Nataša Jovanović Lješković, Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy Novi Sad

The Future Belongs to the Educated

The Faculty of Pharmacy Novi Sad, Serbia’s oldest private pharmacy college, has the mission of being a leading institution in the educating of healthcare professionals for the 21st century

During the 12 years of its existence to date, FFNS has become recognisable for its professional and dedicated lecturers and associates, who transfer their vast knowledge and skills in an interesting and inspiring way, because it’s a must for educational institutions to be current, flexible and innovative in terms of the knowledge they impart and the methodology they use.

What are the challenges confronting modern education?

— The biggest challenge is perhaps monitoring and responding adequately to the momentous and rapid changes the 21st century is bringing.

Take a look at everything being done in the fields of pharmacy, medicine and molecular biology; today we’re all talking about gene therapy, immunotherapy, biopharmaceuticals, personalised medicine, digitalisation and the use of artificial intelligence in diagnosis, prediction, disease prevention and/or therapy selection. Educational institutions need to be relevant, flexible and innovative in knowledge and methodology in order to equip students for the actual needs of the profession and prepare them for new jobs that this accelerated development will bring us in the future.

What it is that makes you different and what are the advantages of studying at the Faculty of Pharmacy Novi Sad?

— I will cite a couple of basic facts that differentiate us, and firstly is a contemporary curriculum that’s harmonised with EU programmes. Through the modernisation of the curriculum, we’ve provided students with the knowledge and clinical skills required to provide modern healthcare that has its focus on the individual patient. We are the first health faculty in this part of Europe to have introduced subjects like Digital Pharmacy, Rare Diseases, Biopharmaceuticals, Oncology Pharmacy and Professional Development. We insist on maintaining a strong connection with the profession, because the success of our mission not only lies in theoretical knowledge, but also in insisting on practical teaching and keeping pace with the needs of the profession. That’s why we collaborate with more than 70 scientific research, educational and health establishments, institutions, economic and professional organisations.

We collaborate with more than 70 scientific research, educational and health establishments, institutions, economic and professional organisations

Considering that the FFNS is a regional faculty with more than 1,000 students and 550 graduates that brings together students from Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro and North Macedonia, as well as all parts of Serbia, and that – as of last year – we’ve also had students studying in English, we are characterised by both regionality and internationality, but I must also mention our leadership and good team. In today’s fast-changing society, it is important to have a clear vision and a good team. Academic leaders must, in addition to indubitable excellence in science, have managerial abilities.

What kind of vision do you have for the further development of the FFNS?

— Apart from everything else, the 21st century confirms that which is most important in doing business: the key resource has always been, and will always be, high-quality people. The rest can be replaced by AI and new technologies. I know from my own professional experience that it is good to be familiar with different sectors of business. That experience provides additional skills in terms of situational awareness, communication and the development of a good team. That’s why our team consists of motivated people, decisions are made efficiently and we are very open to cooperation, and therein lies our strength.

Ultimately, our vision and faith in the FFNS’s further development is also reflected in the investment in the new faculty building. With great expectations and enthusiasm, we are announcing that, from September 2024, we will be housed in new, excellently equipped premises, open to creating – together with students, partners and friends of the faculty – new values and collaborations.

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