MRU will seek leadership in social siences in Europe

21 January, 2021
MRU Will Seek Leadership in Social Sciences in the European Higher Education Area

Global market - driven studies, advanced science creating social innovation, sustainable internationalization development and the promotion of lifelong learning are part of the University’s strategy. In this way, Mykolas Romeris University (MRU) will strive to compete in the international higher education space and earn the title of the best university in the field of social sciences not only in Lithuania, but also in Europe. Such is the vision for the future of the university by the MRU academic community, which developed a three-year strategy plan with a U.S. organizational leadership expert.

Rector Prof. Inga Žalėnienė, at the helm of MRU for almost two years, admits that aspirations to become a leader in Europe may sound ambitious at first glance. “Assessing the potential accumulated at the university over many years of operation, international partnerships and scientific work, we believe that our community is able to turn the vision outlined in the strategy into reality. We are taking very clear and measurable steps that will bring us to the ranks of European leaders in social sciences.

We are consistently improving the quality of studies, investing in research, innovations, IT systems development, digitization processes, developing a sustainable environment, constantly monitoring the best practices of the world's leading universities and striving to apply them creatively in our community. I think that this is the key to achieving ambitious goals,” the Rector emphasized.

Strengthening Internationalization and MRU Reputation

MRU has already been recognized as the most international higher education institution in the country by the magazine "Reitingai". In order to improve its international position, the University will cooperate with more and more advanced foreign universities and research centers, increase the number of effective international partnerships, and become more involved in global professional networks. This, we hope, will allow us to attract more researchers, postdoctoral fellows, doctoral students to the current successful MRU research teams.

There are also plans to attract twice as many international lecturer visits to MRU. “Even short visits of experienced professors from abroad provide a lot of valuable knowledge, broadening the horizons of both students and lecturers. This allows us not only to feel and respond to global market trends, but also to strengthen the position of the university and the entire Lithuanian academic community in the international higher education sphere. Our internationality is highly valued by students. Thereby, great efforts are made to attract specialists of international stature, which creates added value,” the Rector said.

One of the strategic goals of the university is to strengthen the reputation of the university. Last year, for the first time, the opinion of different target audiences and public groups was surveyed. MRU plans to conduct such a survey annually.

"We are an exception to the rule - universities often avoid asking the general public about the organization. However, the university community is a significant part of society as a whole and in order to respond to its needs, it must also pay attention to how they are valued. We are determined to continue to strengthen and publicize the expertise of the university, because the lecturers and researchers working here have and can give a lot to society, science and the state,” noted the Rector.

Promoting Lifelong Learning

The University strategy, planned for a year, provides for more active promotion of lifelong learning activities. MRU lecturers are already actively conducting professional training for the business and the public sector. There are plans to increase the number of graduates of such short-term programs by 40 percent this year alone. The MRU Rector notes that there is a growing need for business and the public sector to provide employees with the flexibility to acquire the competencies and skills needed for the job market.

"The pandemic highlighted the importance of being able to retrain quickly, acquire the necessary knowledge, and adapt to the global market. As a result, business and the public sector are increasingly looking for ways to equip employees with the necessary competencies quickly rather than waiting long after they complete their undergraduate or graduate studies. This is far from diminishing the importance of university studies, but complements them and provides even wider opportunities for learning. I am proud that we have excellent professional teachers and researchers in the field of social sciences, and by responding to changes in the market, we can significantly contribute to the implementation of the needs of business and public sector communities," said Rector Žalėnienė.

An Expert from the U.S. Contributed to the Strategy

U.S. Organisational Leadership expert Ray Smith, PhD, who teaches at U.S. and Czech universities and leads the MRU Master of Business Administration programme, contributed significantly to the new university strategy for 2021-2023.

"This expert was used to assess the University's potential globally. We had the opportunity to use a professional approach from the outside. We appreciate that an expert of this level has contributed to the new strategy of the University and provided valuable insights," said Rector Žalėnienė.