On 14 October 2020: ‘HERAS Plus’ project team had an introductory meeting with the leadership of the University of Mitrovica “Isa Boletini” (UMIB). The Rector of UMIB, Mr. Alush Musaj, welcomed the Project Team and expressed his enthusiasm to cooperate with the Project. UMIB is a quickly developing University, which has recently moved to a brand-new University Campus with a modern infrastructure. The University leadership is seriously engaged in improving the quality of educational services, including the quality of programs offered, the quality of institutional management and the quality of research & innovation conducted within UMIB institution.
In his welcome remark, the Rector, in addition to providing an overview of the tangible progress made by UMIB, also addressed the challenges that University has faced during the last academic year, when the University was not accredited by KAA (i.e. the University was considered as not meeting the standards for institutional accreditation). The Rector, despite having some reservations with the current legal framework, and the actual practice of conducting institutional accreditation on the public HEIs, noted that UMIB has successfully overcome the challenge and even came out of it in a much better shape. Concerning this matter, the Rector encouraged the Project to work with Central institutions in redefining the policy regarding the institutional accreditation for public HEIs. UMIB representatives confirmed that they see an interest in cooperating with ‘HERAS Plus’ Project and welcomed that idea that this cooperation starts with conducting a Baseline Assessment. They further suggested that ‘HERAS Plus’ Team conducts an info session with all the academic staff of UMIB with the aim of further explaining the research grants, programmatic partnership and scholarships that are available (upon qualification) as part of the Project. Moreover, the UMIB representatives briefed the Project Team about the Committee that is appointed to oversee the implementation of the strategic plan and the idea that the University shall soon engage in the process of drafting a separate strategic plan for scientific research.
In the other side, Mr. Aqim Emurli, ‘HERAS Plus’ Team Leader, commended the Rector for his successful management of the issue faced by UMIB regarding institutional accreditation. The Team Leader, next offered a brief presentation of the Project by highlighting the fact that ‘HERAS Plus’ is a continuation of the previous project funded by ADA, and implemented by the three-party Consortium: WUS Austria (Lead), ZSI and OeAD. The Project will engage with all public universities, including UMIB, in development of capacities for conducting their own baseline assessments, providing support to internationalization and mobility, fostering Human Rights based Approach (HRBA) and Social Dimension, providing an opportunity to benefit from grants and programmatic partnership as foreseen in the approved Project Document.
HERAS+ Team was happy to hear that UMIB is monitoring the implementation of the strategic plan and that the University is planning to draft an additional strategy on Scientific Research. In this regard, the Project Team suggested that this strategic plan may be inserted as a separate heading into the main Strategic Plan of UMIB, if this will be the recommendation of the Committee that is overseeing the implementation of the strategic plan. ‘HERSA Plus’ pledged support to the drafting of the Strategic Plan heading on scientific research, if requested by UMIB, and offered to cooperate with UMIB in organizing an info session that may be open to everyone interested (academic staff or students), in which the Project Team can present and discuss the opportunities offered by the Project.