In the New Academic Year: Innovative Specialties and Digital Learning at Our University

Monday, 08 August 2022 13:35

Prof. Dr. Tsvetana Stoyanova, Vice Rector for Institutional and Business Cooperation and Student Policies of UNWE: "We teach our students not just to reproduce knowledge, but their knowledge to be the basis for adequate business and life decisions, to have the necessary "soft skills". And it leads to a very high percentage of professional realization of our graduates".

What are the new specialties at UNWE, Prof. Stoyanova?

From this year, along with our traditionally strong Master's degree programmes, we will also offer admission to the new ones: Management of Social Innovation, Economics and Law, Intellectual Property and Creative Industries as well as Smart Digital Energy. Each of these programmes is in compliance with both demand and societal and economic conditions.

The advantages of the University of National and World Economy are many. Education at the University is at a very high level. Our lecturers are extremely well prepared, very often they have experience in practice. We teach our students not just to reproduce knowledge, but to have knowledge as a basis for adequate business and life decisions, to have the necessary "soft skills". And it leads to a very high percentage of professional realization of our graduates.

How far does the UNWE look into the future?

UNWE has specialties and programmes to eduacate students in compliance with the modern and global requirements.

The University is actively works on the project Economic Education in Bulgaria 2030 funded under the Operational Programme Science and Education for Smart Growth 2014-2020 on the procedure Modernization of Higher Education Institutions. It is aimed at creating programmes similar to those of European universities and applicable in the modern business conditions. On this project the UNWE works in partnership with the D. А. Tsenov Academy of Economics - Svishtov, Burgas Free University, the National Sports Academy and the Confederation of Employers and Industrialists in Bulgaria /KRIB/. In relation to its implementation, digital classrooms have been opened at the UNWE, new content is to be developed, including a 360-degree 3D colour hologram as well as the use of the educational presentation software MozaBook which expands the teaching toolkit with a variety of illustrations, animations, interactive content, virtual laboratory applications, etc.

On the other hand, the UNWE is a partner in the European network of universities ENGAGE.EU which includes 9 universities. It provides an opportunity to test new models of education and research and to analyze their potential for further enhancement of the quality, international competitiveness and attractiveness of European higher education.

Do you have partners outside Europe?

Yes. We strive to establish and strengthen our relations with universities all around the world. I will give you two examples. A month ago, in the presence of the Chinese Ambassador to Bulgaria, H. E. Mr. Dong Xiaojun, we opened a Management Center for the Dual Bachelor's Programme in Economics with Tianjin Foreign Languages University /TFSU/. Then the Rector of the Chinese University Mr. Chen Fachun emphasized that it is an honour for his university to cooperate with the UNWE - the largest economic university in Bulgaria and Southeast Europe.

The objective of the Bachelor's Degree Programme in Economics taught in English is to prepare highly qualified specialists with a rich theoretical and applied knowledge in the field of economics at a global level.

And one more example. In June, jointly with the Northern Illinois University /NIU/ - USA, we opened the first of its kind in Bulgaria Dual Master's Degree Programme in Business Administration. The Programme will start in the new academic year and the training will be conducted in person at the UNWE by joint lecturing teams from both universities. It will be taught in English and it is opened to students from Bulgaria and around the world. Graduates will receive two diplomas - from the UNWE and from Northern Illinois University /NIU/. The Double Executive MBA covers disciplines such as leadership, digital transformation, entrepreneurship, environmental and social governance/(ESG/, sustainability, financial analysis and cost management, global supply management etc.

You also received support from the UN. It is very prestigious!

We are strong, not only in the educational process. The UN officially approved the UNWE as the coordinator of the National Sustainable Development Network SDSN Bulgaria. The UN support comes after a thorough assessment of the educational and scientific capacity of the UNWE in sustainable development issues, the opportunities for active participation in addressing national and regional sustainable development issues, the administrative capacity to manage initiatives under the auspices of SDSN as well as to mobilize resources to achieve the Global Goals.

How does the UNWE differ from other higher education institutions?

This question is a continuation of the previous one and there is also a lot to say, I will limit myself to a few examples. The UNWE is the Bulgarian university with the highest degree of digitalization of teaching, research and administrative activities. All processes at the University have been digitized - from the admission of documents, through the online announcement of rankings and online enrolment as well as online learning. The process of applying for student dormitories and issuing certificates has also been digitized. Students use 21 online services and have electronic student ID cards.

And what about the students' practice? What is their relation with the business?

We proud of having a direct relation with the business. Memorandums are constantly signed with various business organizations and government institutions for the purpose of cooperation in the preparation of joint projects and their subsequent implementation, exchange of information, holding joint events, participation of their representatives in presentations to students, in lectures, conferences or other events organized by the University.

And crucially, we provide our students with opportunities for internships and finding future employers before they even leave the student bench. What better option than to experience the real business environment.

It is no coincidence that for a consecutive year the UNWE has been awarded the prize for the most prestigious university in the professional field of Economics according to employers and lecturers in higher education institutions in Bulgaria.

How do you stimulate students in their innovative pursuits?

A University Start-up Hub has been established at the UNWE where every creative student with innovative ideas can get support for transforming the ideas into a real market product. Young people will be able to learn about the opportunities for funding startups, get training on how to prepare business plans and how to present their ideas to investors, to receive legal information. To support the work of the University Startup Hub memoranda have been signed with the Financial Instruments Manager Fund in Bulgaria /FMFIB/ and ExEl AR, a subsidiary company of Innovations Capital AD, which will financially support students' ideas. Our good partnership with the Bulgarian Startup Association /BESCO/ continues and for a consecutive year our students took part in solving practical cases that they provided to us.

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