The Senate of the Ukrainian Catholic University has confirmed priorities for UCU’s activities in 2017. These tasks lie mainly in the development of annual plans for the activities of the University’s subdivisions and will be reflected in UCU’s budget planning work. Tasks regarding the University’s development are considered priorities. These are foreseen in UCU Strategy 2020 and respond to current challenges in the life of our academic community, and in separate questions which cause the University to reflect on UCU’s future even after 2020.
In the opinion of UCU Rector Fr. Bohdan Prach, the main task for the University in the immediate future will be catching up in various areas with UCU’s rapid academic development over the last two years. This has led to significant growth in the number of academic programs, students, and teachers. This involves UCU’s balancing a whole list of directions of activity and processes which should guarantee the integrated development of the institution and stabilize the University in order to prepare it for new tasks and challenges.
In regards to this, perhaps the main task is creating opportunities for the integrated development of young people in UCU’s environment. The University cannot consider its mission fulfilled if students only obtain within its walls a good academic education and professional preparation, if they only become prepared for a professional career in the job market. Any university should also prepare the young person for life in the areas of family, society, government, and in exchanges with other cultures and ways of viewing the world. As a Catholic university, UCU in addition offers students opportunities for spiritual enrichment and for deepening their acquaintance with the experience and riches of Christianity, and also with the life and faith of the Catholic Church. And so, among the priorities for next year, one can find the task of more actively developing students’ leadership skills, preparing them for more independent and adult life through the development of universal competencies necessary for interaction with other people, and also spreading in the student body a love of sports and a healthy lifestyle. And, last but not least, a significant priority is to stimulate the initiative of students in the matter of spiritual formation by creating clubs and associations, and also by looking for a new language and practice of spiritual and liturgical life.
The development of research at UCU needs special attention. The next year will be key for the University community to designate its main institutional areas of scholarly research. This will require a wide discussion within the academic community and also the preparedness of academic leaders and UCU’s subdivisions to assume responsibility for the search for people and resources to implement UCU’s strategy in this area.
One of the main priorities will be to raise the qualifications of the deans and directors of the educational programs in financial management and marketing. The long-term financial stability of the University will depend on this. And more of UCU’s attention next year will be dedicated to building processes, management, and making decisions based on data. Success in this area will depend on the introduction of automated processing at all levels of management and in various spheres of UCU’s life. Special attention and efforts are necessary to introduce an uncomplicated and understandable system of internal quality control, which would not discourage people’s initiatives through bureaucratic requirements but foster the deepening of a culture of quality at UCU.
Inasmuch as this academic year marks the end of UCU’s seven-year Comprehensive Campaign “A New Generation for a New Ukraine” and the completion of the first construction phase of the new university campus, the task of further planning the infrastructure development of the University also stands before us. To prepare for this, all our premises must be used more effectively, whether as classrooms, offices, or lodging. We should again attentively analyze our space needs, conduct a survey among as many people as possible who are involved in the development of the University regarding society’s requests for UCU’s development and determine what new buildings would best respond to those tasks and challenges that the Church, Ukrainian society, the international situation and today’s world set before the University.
Without a doubt, the highlight of next year will be the opening and start of activities of the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Center. The Center will become a key location at UCU for implementing the University’s educational mission. The figure and person of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky will determine the format, directions, and style of the Center’s activities. On the one hand, the Center will be a space for well-rounded intellectual development and the scholarly growth of the University’s community. On the other hand, it will offer educational propositions to various stakeholders of the University: schoolteachers, students of other universities, persons with special needs, families, those serving in the military, volunteers, businesspeople, priests, and ecclesiastical and religious organizations. In all ways (methods of teaching and study, use of technology, placement of furniture, and so on) the Center’s team will offer a new format for library work in the modern world. In particular it will propagate a community experience of education.
As we see, next year will be full of activities. And it is necessary to prepare well for this. Thanks to the determination of UCU’s priorities, our community will be able professionally and responsibly to conduct the University’s consolidation and, as a result, our institution will become more mature and prepared for a new stage of its development.