RECTOR PROF. PRZEMYSŁAW WISZEWSKI’s SPEECH
In a short speech, Professor Przemysłam Wiszewski, who has taken the office as a new Rector of the University of Wrocław, shared the plan of work for the coming months. The speech was transmitted on our Facebook page. You can also listen to it on YouTube.
“When a new rector takes over the office, it might be connected with some dismay, especially when he begins with implementing changes. The truth is that our University needs an upheaval in our teaching and research. What we need is support and composure. The latter is a result of the feeling that the world surrounding us is heading towards a known direction and goal. I want you to view the measures undertaken by me and my associates exactly in that way.
We are starting off with structural changes in the central administration. From 1 September 2020, the post of Chancellor and Bursar, together with their Deputies, cease to exist. I would like to thank all those who, throughout years, supported our University in these posts. They will be replaced by people from among our existing employees as well as from our business community. The new Director General of the University of Wrocław is Barbara Starnawska, former Deputy Chancellor for Administration and Economics. Director General is a new post in our institution established by the Senate, that was given a broad range of competencies in terms of managing the whole of administration of the University. That will enable implementing the same management policies for all employees. I will elaborate on the importance of it in a moment.
The second new position in our structure is Chief Financial Officer. The post is taken by Aneta Kędzierska-Nowicka, who has extensive experience in modern forms of financial management. Her role will be managing the whole sector of the University’s finances and controlling realisation of financial plans. A Chief Accountant, who will report directly to her, will be responsible for formal and legal correctness of financial operations, as well as their documentation. The person chosen for this position is Dr Anna Wieczorkowska, an economist with an educational background in IT. Mainly, she worked as a Financial Director and Chief Accountant in the private sector but working for a higher education institution is not new to her (Wrocław University of Science and Technology). Combining these two elements in the financial structure of the University will eliminate shortcomings in this area that we have observed in recent years. But first and foremost, its main aim is to create transparent mechanisms that support us on our way to fulfilling University’s strategic goals. And last but not least, it will precipitate the flow of information about our budget so that both, project managers, deans and rector, have real-time access into the finances of their projects and units.
Furthermore, we are converting our Promotion Office into Communication Office. The pandemic period explicitly proved that the communication, or more precisely – lack of it, was an Achilles’ heel of our University. For many years, we have been observing problems connected with the flow of information within the institution and with creating an image of our community in order to strengthen our position. As it turns out, information is a key element for coherently working body of a university, for popularising its achievements and for taking opportunities when they appear. Therefore, we need a professional approach to information related tasks. Tomasz Sikora has been chosen for the position of a new Director of the Communication Office. He has many years of experience as a journalist, director of PR departments and a lecturer in our Institute of Journalism. Within the realms of this office, we are going to create a new press team led by Dr Katarzyna Uczkiewicz, a bohemist and PR specialist who has long been connected with our University. I do hope that, together with the other employees from the former Promotion Office and with the support from other units, they will help us with the endeavour to improve information circulation and shape a new image of our University.
The above-mentioned changes are just a tip of the iceberg of what needs to be changed in our administration. I am consciously dissolving many of the pillars in our structure. Administration should not consist of hierarchically and separately functioning units working for their immediate supervisors. It is rather a flexible and consistent frame that the whole University should be built on. Its sole role is to support the development of the University. Nothing more. Therefore, it will be subordinate directly to the Director General. She will be responsible for the right level of employment, support improvement of the staff and have the custody of the administrative budget.
We are walking away from a rigid and hierarchical management and unclear ways of making decisions. We are heading towards flexible, modern forms of taking responsibility for development of our University by the administration. We reinforce our foundations through processes but we help the institution grow through engagement in projects together and with the future in mind.
Changes in administration are just one element in the wide program of modernising our University. Vice-rectors have taken up a great deal of work. Ms. Patrycja Matusz is working on opening Project Management Office and developing contacts with the local society. Ms. Gabriela Bugla-Płoskońska is going to discuss issues concerning quality of education with vice-rector. Mr Dariusz Adamski is preparing a new regulation on remuneration that needs to be accepted by our trade unions. Mr Eugeniusz Zych is responsible for preparing us for the evaluation so that we have insight into our results with regard to publications. And finally, Mr Tomasz Kalisz is going to establish a Centre for Student Activity.
There is a lot of work ahead of us. First and foremost, we have to prepare for the start of the academic year in a difficult pandemic reality. My new regulation on functioning of the University leaves room for deans to decide in detail the form of studies. I ask them for an insightful analysis and deciding which classes will be conducted remotely, in class and which ones will by hybrid, as well as for rapid preparation of the course schedule – by 15 September. The aim is to make such a plan that students of different years will be able to have face-to-face and hybrid classes during one or two days. Then, they will not have the necessity to live in Wrocław during the pandemic period. It is important considering limited number of places in halls of residence that are able to accommodate only one person in each room.
Now, action is more important than words. Therefore, I am coming back to work. Thank you for taking part in this meeting. But most importantly, I ask you to engage in our endeavour in regenerating and modernising our University.
See you soon!”
Prof. Przemysław Wiszewski, Rector