Long-term Plan of Educational, Scientific, Research, Development and Other Creative Activities for 2006 - 2010
Discussed at the Scientific Board of the Faculty of Law on 4 April 2006 and approved by the Academic Senate of the Faculty of Law on 18 April 2006.
The Long-term Plan of Educational, Scientific, Research, Development and Other Creative Activities of the Faculty of Law MU for 2006 - 2010 (hereinafter the “Plan”) stems from the Long-term Plan of Educational, Scientific, Research, Development, Artistic and Other Creative Activities of Masaryk University for 2006 - 2010 (hereinafter the "MU Plan").
The Plan draws on the priorities and long-term goals of Masaryk University and pursues the context of values of the university environment. Therefore, the Faculty of Law (hereinafter the “Faculty"):
- Strives to attain top quality within the implementation of accredited study programmes, research and support activities and does so through evaluation and other assessment procedures and quality (excellence) management,
- Continues to expand and enhance internationalisation in the domains of studies, lifelong learning, research and mobility of both students and teachers,
- Develops the nature of the MU as a research institution and enhances its influence upon the students, graduates’ professional career growth and their involvement in the academic framework,
- Contributes to the cooperation and mutual communication between individual parts of the MU. The Faculty’s long-term goals include:
- Perfecting the traditionally high standard and quality of education of future lawyers and other professionals,
- Strengthening the internationalisation and providing conditions for a European academic standard,
- Developing professional and other relations with institutions dealing with the protection of law, representative and executive bodies in the Czech Republic, European Union and world-wide.
- Creating personnel, organisation, material and technical conditions facilitating the school’s management, administration as well as other auxiliary activities.
The Faculty enhances and pronounces the structured and multi-dimensional nature of its study programmes which follow the European trends fulfilling the conclusions of the Bologna Declaration in the domain of university education for lawyers. The Faculty, therefore, focuses on several kinds of study programmes, i.e. especially
- Further structuring of the Master’s degree study programme within the Law field of study,
- Further development of the Bachelor’s degree study programme within the individual fields of study which are targeted not only at the traditional specialisation, but also at the creation of an environment suitable for the follow-up Master's degree study programmes within the Faculty, other parts of the MU as well as other domestic and foreign universities and colleges.
- Improvement of the quality of doctoral studies,
- Development and expansion of the LLM post-graduate studies.
2.1 Study Programme Development
The Faculty continues to update and develop the study plan in the Law field of study in order to emphasise the trends of linking the theoretical and methodical fundaments of the study with efforts to strengthen the emancipation and influence of the individual legal branches within the study plan as well as linking the studies with preparation of students for future practice. This trend should induce exceptionally suitable conditions for the education and development of students and graduates who will not be trained only in the positively legal framework of knowledge, but will also master the theoretical and methodical fundaments, knowledge in the domain of law and information environment (information society), which make the essential value and creative potential of a law school graduate. The Bachelor’s degree programmes are supposed to provide more specialised (and exclusive) knowledge at a renowned faculty, which will not only suit practical needs, but will augment the individual possibilities of application. The possibilities and trends can be defined at the level of the Faculty (e.g. as parts of potential study plans of the law, public administration or even legal and economic fields of study) as well as within relations between faculties (interdisciplinary, i.e. in the areas of administration, culture, political science, sociology and perhaps even information science). The Faculty should aspire to include more specialised courses for professionals and students of other specialisations (IT law). The Bachelor's degree study plans will also involve language education.
The Faculty stands out also thanks to its offer of post-graduate study meeting international standards, i.e. Master of Laws studies, which the Faculty has validated as a part of a broader field of corporate law (LL.M in Corporate Law) at Nottingham Trent University. The Faculty is the Czech Republic’s only school of law to offer the LL.M studies. This study represents a challenge as it definitely prefers new requirements for the methods and forms of teaching (use of e-learning and Power Point presentations), working with students (distance tutorials), testing the students’ knowledge and monitoring the quality. The Faculty has taken this challenge and is ready to continue fulfilling its specific demands, even with regard to the possibility of acquiring validation in another field. However, gaining experience in e-learning and other electronic presentations is by no means limited to the LL.M studies, but is becoming commonplace in all other study programmes offered by the Faculty. The nature and requirements for the teachers' work of the re-certified Bachelor’s degree study programmes are designed for the use of the electronic environment and multimedia teaching aids (textbooks, CD-ROMs etc.) which are already a standard at the Bachelor’s degree level and will gradually become a routine in the Master’s degree study programmes.
Therefore; one can expect that the period 2006 - 2010 will witness an intensification of the educational process (i.e. enhancement of the use of electronic teaching forms) at the Faculty, which is relatively well prepared for this. These forms will enable improving the quality of combined modes of study; contact teaching may thus focus on problem solving with the teacher's assistance and continuous use of feedback in order to test the knowledge and skills being developed.
2.2 Study Internationalisation
The Faculty will continue (in accordance with the MU Internationalisation Strategy) to focus on the preparation of study programmes and individual subjects taught in foreign languages.
So far, a gradual implementation of teaching in foreign language in the accredited Master's degree study programme as a whole seems to be the only realistic option. However, the Faculty is successful in maintaining the trend of enlarging the offer of individual courses taught in foreign languages, not only for foreign students, but also for the Faculty’s students. The offer of these subjects is, especially with regard to the Socrates/Erasmus programme, at present relatively wide; all departments offer subjects taught in a foreign language, but the support of the introduction of new subjects in a foreign language must still be one of the priorities, for the more extensive selection will exert a positive influence on foreign students' interest in studying at the Faculty as well as the Faculty's domestic and foreign students' linguistic competences. Projects like Austrian Law School, with which the Faculty (and mainly its students) have had very good experience, certainly enjoy excellent prospects. The Faculty, therefore, strives to acquire grant support for the introduction of this mode of study. The creation of international joint study programmes targeted at a joint degree (or similar forms, see the validated LL.M study mentioned above) in cooperation with partner universities within international programmes (such as Erasmus Mundus) will remain in the centre of the Faculty’s interest. At the same time, this requires that the issues of the structured study be solved, for many potential partners offer these possibilities mainly in the form of a follow-up study programme; besides, this might open up new spaces even in the domain of doctoral studies (doctoral students instructed by two tutors). The Faculty’s priorities also include:
- Support for the development of students' linguistic competences as a part of a standard professional skill at MU,
- Potential introduction of summer schools for foreign students, obtaining grant support for these activities in cooperation with the Faculty’s foreign partners,
- Inviting external teachers to join in the teaching,
- Support for the Faculty’s students’ mobility (including a reasonable scholarship policy),
- Considering and, as the case may be, actually providing scholarships to foreign students.
2.3 Doctoral Studies
The Faculty’s new conception of the doctoral studies (hereinafter the “DSP”) was approved in 2005 and involves a number of objectives which correspond with the MU Plan. These include especially the requirements for Study Part 3 of the DSP, which should represent the support for doctoral students’ independent scholarly effort, participation in conferences, seminars and publishing activities.
An important role may be played by involvement of, in particular, internal doctoral students in projects; this activity may bring and, at the same time, create further room for the expansion of academic workers' grant activities.
Regarding the period in question another significant function will be represented by the DSP internationalisation: the Faculty plans to provide support to enhance the mobility of (especially internal) DSP students and will do so by supporting their participation in scientific conferences, seminars and colloquia. The goal to provide cooperation in the area of DSP at the level of co-tutor agreements (agreements on the grounds of which doctoral students will have two tutors) within the current and newly concluded cooperation agreements will be the key priority.
In the previous period the Faculty attained a high standard in the certification of DSP courses taught in English and other languages in all DSP fields of study. Therefore, it must be our goal to maintain this standard at the potential re-accreditation.
3 Lifelong Learning
Attractive as legal studies are, we may see the interest in them ebb in the period 2006 - 2010 (in connection with the demographic trends). Therefore, it is desirable to prepare and create conditions and motivate secondary school graduates and students to study within the so-called second chance programme. The Faculty already gives this chance and develops lifelong learning within certified study programmes, i.e. within the Law study programme and in the Bachelor's degree studies in fields Legal Relations to Real Estates and Public Administration. The Faculty is currently preparing an expansion into the field of Law and Business and potentially others (International Trade Law). Those interested – mainly those applying for the second chance – recruit not only from the ranks of secondary school students, but the Faculty should “entrap” also university graduates who seek to acquire or broaden knowledge and skills in legal disciplines. This purpose may also be fulfilled by a suitable form of combined distance study following successful lifelong learning students’ transfer to regular study programmes.
At the same time, the Faculty is aware that the lifelong learning cannot be satiated merely through the provision of accredited programmes, but also through long-term and short-term courses, i.e. the so-called “tailored” programmes and courses to suit the needs of various professional groups. It will be further possible to increase the opportunities because the Faculty has gained sufficient experience in long-term educational forms (tax advisors, auditors, patent agents); these forms contribute to the development of long-term relations which also include the sale of the Faculty’s publications.
University expert consulting, i.e. articulation of expert opinions, performing consultancy and instruction in particular fields and on the occasion of the release of a new legal regulation, is a specific and successful area where the Faculty has earned excellent reputation.
The Faculty’s science and research priorities include:
- Solution to the current research plan which entirely corresponds with the conception of the MU as a research institution preferring team and project nature of research,
- Focus on other topics of participation in the competition for research plans with the use of the capacities of the academic staff not involved in the research plan,
- Further development of applied research through cooperation with public administration bodies, local governments, top judicial bodies as well as international authorities on expert and legislative activities, comments on proposals of legal acts and judicature, engagement in the offices of consultants and assistants at the Constitutional Court, Supreme Court and Supreme Administrative Court. Despite not having the nature of grants or projects, these activities represent the crucial forms of the research at the Faculty and are the Faculty’s specific feature within the MU,
- Increasing the academic staff’s grant activity; this applies mainly to those who seem to be idle in the long run. The Faculty will motivate them financially, both positively and negatively, and by appealing to individual academic workers who deal with topics suitable for research projects,
- The Faculty’s priorities also involve the development of cooperation with foreign partners and participation in joint projects (new potentials of cooperation – Trnava University, Nottingham Trent University, Bond University – Gold Coach, Australia, Moscow State Law Academy, Fordham University),
- Support for national and international mobility of teachers,
- Essential support for the inclusion of doctoral and other students in the research framework.
5 Faculty and Relations with Legal Practice and Public
The Faculty’s genius loci stems from the fact that the city of Brno is the seat of supreme national and regional judicial authorities, the Office for the Protection of Competition, the Office of the Public Defender of Rights, the Regional Office and Brno Municipal Government, which represent good preconditions for a continuing cooperation with professional practice. The variety of this cooperation is further extended by long-term relations with the Parliament of the Czech Republic, the Government and its legislative board as well as a number of ministries and central public administration authorities. This status represents another fundament thanks to which the Faculty earns the reputation of an institution which through many ways of active engagement participates in the decision making and standard creating activities of the state's public administration as well as municipal governments.
The shared environment and cooperation can also be identified in the area of private law, where the Faculty’s standard and excellence is generally acknowledged. Profiting from these facts therefore concerns a wide range of the Faculty's activities involving expert, assessment, training and other educational activities which enable broadening the spectrum of practical knowledge and skills and their use not only in professional practice, but also in the teaching of individual fields of study.
These sufficiently known relations also enhance and strengthen the future influence and importance enjoyed by the Faculty’s graduates in the professional lawyers' circles. They also help to make the Masaryk University more popular as a cultural institution, a reliable partner and guarantor of serious education of future lawyers.
The Legal Studies and Practice Journal, which is published by the Faculty and which enables the public to become familiar with the Faculty's professional environment and background, also contributes to raising the awareness of the environment of the university and Faculty, in addition to the University's journal (muni.cz) and revue (Universitas). The Journal, at the same time, represents a platform where both legal and non-legal professionals may publish their contributions and is one of the forms of presentation and popularisation of the legal research and science.
And finally, the Faculty is preparing to enhance its public relations by making the science and research department deal with the issues and policy of public relations with a targeted focus on more active provision of information about the Faculty's own and mediated activities including information about cooperating foreign faculties and workplaces. One can also find and expect important relations in the area of cooperation with institutions where the Faculty’s graduates and teachers operate (European courts, European administration bodies, their professional units as well as professional institutions and associations).
6 Staff’s Qualifications and Career Development
The Faculty asserts and will continue to emphasise its teachers’ professional growth, for they represent its qualification, certification, education as well as science and research potential. The achievement of this goal rests upon the conception of career growth mentioned below which pursues a direct link between an employee's level of qualification, his/her particular study (educational and working) results and outputs and the duration of his/her employment.
The Faculty will conclude an employment for a fixed period of time equal to 1 year with any newly recruited staff for the positions of assistants or assistant professors without any previous teaching experience. After the expiry of this period, the Faculty will stipulate an employment for a fixed period of time of 4 years with these staff, if they are successful in a selective procedure. The Faculty will conclude an employment for a fixed period of time equal to 5 years with any newly recruited academic staff for the positions of assistant professors with at least 5 years of previous teaching experience. It is only possible to renew the employment for another 5-year period with those academic staff who hold the position of an assistant professor or associate professor prior to habilitation. The employment of an academic employee who does not become an assistant professor or habilitated associate professor shall be terminated upon the expiry of this period. Only in exceptional cases which are well justified by the department head can an employment be arranged with such an employee who will become a lecturer for a fixed period of time. It is possible to conclude an employment for an indefinite period of time with habilitated associate professors and professors who are employed full time at the Faculty. Other than full-time employments of academic staff may only be concluded for a fixed period of time and in the scope of 0.5 and lower. Such employments may only be concluded on condition that the academic employee means a significant contribution to the pedagogical and scientific development of the field of study as well as to the spreading of the Faculty’s respect and renown.
In the following period the Faculty will broaden the possibilities of academic staff’s mobility and will increase the frequency of their participation in international conferences. This will also be facilitated by the gradually growing range of partnerships and newly established contacts.
7 Auxiliary Processes
The Plan also expects that the Faculty will continue increasing the quality of the organisation and administration. The target condition is an efficient functionality of the Faculty’s administration, facility management and maintenance, which is based on:
- Providing for the performance of individual activities and process groups through staff who are qualified, linguistically competent and familiar with the work with computing, information and communication technologies,
- Sufficient equipment with adequate technologies and software,
- Comprehensive, publicly known and clearly structured solutions to individual issues, budget indicators and data which are regularly checked by the Faculty’s internal as well as University’s audit systems,
- Purposeful and economical management of the infrastructure and its protection.
Regarding the period in question, the Faculty considers the extension of the services and service environment of the Library and the Computing Technologies Laboratory depending on their areal extension to be the key task. Its bases include:
- Areal solution – unification and preservation of purposeful layout,
- Extension of the Library’s fund – maximum number of books available on shelf, logically laid out and adequate classification system,
- Librarian services and their efficient centralisation,
- Extension of study and working places, attaining the maximum possible number and variety,
- Computer equipment – attaining the maximum possible number and suitable locations of PCs as well as optimum composition,
- Additional services – optimum composition and suitable location,
- Personnel backup,
- Use of a self-service loan system.