Dr Sandra Tinaj, General Manager, And Dr Milica Vukotić, Dean Of The Faculty Of Information Systems And Technologies, University Of Donja Gorica

Partnership For The Future

Founded in 2007, the University of Donja Gorica (UDG) has evolved to become a unique entrepreneurial university with a strong vision of increasing access to high-quality education. Today, UDG offers a range of undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programmes, serving over 3,000 students

By maximising students’ exposure to a wide range of learning experiences, UDG is becoming a transformational leader in the region. The biggest new addition for the new generation will be access to the repository of Arizona State University (ASU), a leader in innovative teaching concepts.

Is the development of an innovative study model the right and best response to the crisis confronting classical university education?

– Yes, of course. We created our innovative study model as a response to the crisis facing classical university education. First of all, UDG is dedicated to its students and to training them for both their professional advancement and to be responsible citizens of the globalised world. The strictest professor at our university is the professor called life, which means that we don’t teach our students about life, but rather put them in a position to learn from life, to learn by living. Unlike classical universities, which mostly function according to the A = K model (Ability = Knowledge), we are developing our A = K x i² model, where the i variable refers to the intensity of learning by living, equating to the student’s intensity of life during their studies. One knows only what one has experienced and felt. We prepare students for rapid changes and the uncertainties that we mentioned, and we invest a lot to develop the confidence of our students and encourage their passion for learning. Furthermore, with life expectancy having extended for these generations, a question arises as to what should be instilled in the foundations of students’ character, their knowledge and skills, their value system, to ensure that these foundations endure that longevity.

The date of 30th March represents an important landmark for you, because it was then that you organised the major launch of a partnership by signing a memorandum of cooperation. What can you tell us about that memorandum?

– The University of Donja Gorica announced a 20-year strategic partnership with Arizona State University, which has been ranked the most innovative university in America by U.S. News and World Report for the last seven years consecutively and proclaimed one of the world’s most prestigious universities by The Times Higher Education publication; and with the Cintana Alliance, a global network of ambitious universities that work together to develop and scaleup high-quality academic programmes.

We are so proud that our university’s delegation – comprising UDG Rector Veselin Vukotić Ph.D., UDG General Manager Dr Sandra Tinaj and UDG Dean Dr Milica Vukotić – attended the ASU-Cintana Presidents’ Summit in Tempe, Arizona, from 11th to 13th May. This partnership improves the quality of higher education significantly, as well as the opportunities that will be open to young people from across the region. Thanks to this partnership, UDG’s academic environment will welcome the world leader in innovation to the region, which will bring with it its global influence in scientific research and the best online programme for undergraduate business degrees.

In the future, UDG and the Cintana Alliance will work collaboratively to expand UDG’s resources beyond Montenegro, via online degree programmes and regional learning centres throughout the region. UDG is the exclusive partner of ASU for Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia- Herzegovina and Montenegro.

UDG is the exclusive partner of Arizona State University for Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro

Through this partnership, UDG will offer a unique educational model providing a wide range of new academic opportunities to students, such as access to the ASU curriculum and the unique opportunity to participate in dual degree programmes, student mobility programmes, co-teaching and research exchanges.

UDG is among the few universities to invest heavily in general education, culture, entertainment and student travel. Is that “breadth” as important as a diploma?

– All of this belongs to, and is derived from, our equation (inensity of life), without which knowledge has no value. The intensity of life aspect encompasses all study visits, seminars, training courses, projects, research, excursions, social events, sporting activities etc., generating cultural capital that is built among young people through the various elements of activity mentioned. Based on these principles, and the essence of the A = K x i² model, one can see that the emphasis of our studies is on the essential being of the student; how they can acquire as many skills as possible during their studies, develop a better sense of responsibility and speed of decision-making, and acquire qualities that are important for thriving in the globalised world.

Demand for our graduates is growing, but many of them start working independently thanks to having developed their entrepreneurial spirit. During their studies, students engage in a significant number of team projects and are encouraged to develop their entrepreneurial ideas, thinking in a global context. As already noted, we develop students’ awareness to be responsible citizens of a globalised world.

Most of your students have opportunities to work and study abroad, and many of them manage to secure employment prior to graduating. How did you achieve that?

– UDG is known for the constant modernisation of its teaching approach and the introduction of new programmes. We achieve this through UDG’s great openness and great commitment to its own internationalisation. We achieve that through partnerships with a large number of universities and companies from around the world, as well as through international projects that also involve students, in addition to professors and associates.

UDG’s programmes are oriented towards each individual student, while still providing fundamental technical knowhow in core areas, including IT, research, entrepreneurial and communication skills, as well as a focus on learning multiple languages. By maximising the students’ exposure to a wide range of learning experiences, UDG is becoming a transformational leader in the region. The biggest novelty for the new generation will be access to the repository of Arizona State University, a leader in innovative teaching concepts. Students will benefit from career-oriented curricula, practical experience in real-world projects and opportunities to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges while increasing their own competitiveness on their future career paths.

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