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Creating a responsible future: Educating and instilling values

16.03.2018Comments are closed.

Dr Metka Tekavčič, Full Professor, Dean, Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana (FELU)

Employees, students, Alumni, strategic partners and other stakeholders are all FELU ambassadors. They are responsible for fulfilling its mission, vision and values. Throughout the FELU’s 70-year existence, they have been helping to create the FELU brand and carry it into the future.

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The FELU is a well-regarded educational institution known for the high quality of its research, education and business connections. From your perspective, is responsibility a significant driver of the FELU’s development?

Responsibility is and has always been embedded in the FELU’s activities, not only now when it is widely discussed globally and becoming almost a must in companies’ written statements. The values inseparably linked with responsibility – ethics and integrity – were strong drivers for generations of FELU teachers and students who over the years have built our academic community together with business partners within the country and abroad. The forthright posture of key FELU professors at some critical moments in our development, also during former Yugoslavia, enabled the school to protect the freedom of mind and cohabitation of different theoretical schools. The FELU’s environment has always stimulated creativity that has fully utilised our human potential and led to excellent research and study results.

Educational institutions are some of those most responsible for developing young people. In which ways does the FELU shape its students so as to become responsible world citizens?

The most important thing is that we ‘walk the walk’. Teachers are and should be an example for students’ reactions and behaviour. The FELU has topics on social responsibility built into all courses. We widely and openly discuss them among ourselves and do not steer around unpleasant topics. We are aware that our great social impact also means the FELU is very exposed to public scrutiny. It is sometimes extremely tough to combat the stereotypes and biased public opinion resulting from shallow knowledge and understanding of complex phenomena. However, if we act fairly, the truth will sooner or later be revealed. We want our students to be aware of this. We stress the importance of learning, deep knowledge, ethics, integrity, transparency and consistency in people’s behaviour. These are inevitable elements of a responsible society. It is us who enable it. This is an important moto underpinning our activities.

Is the social responsibility of business and economics schools a matter of competition or does it call for inter-school collaboration? What is a good approach in your opinion?

A matter of competition? No, not at all. We make joint efforts to introduce the principles of responsible education in all educational programmes, not only business ones. World society is coping with huge environmental problems and a crisis of values. Hypocrisy is spreading to all pores of social life. We must face the facts. We have to discuss this. We need to look for common and sustainable solutions for building a resilient society.

10 years from now, what will the social responsibility of business schools stand for?

Educating conscious individuals with high ethical standards who can successfully work in teams and co-create sustainable business solutions for the needs of a resilient global society.

What is your highlight of the 2016/2017 academic year?

It is the first academic year in which the FELU acted as a triple-accredited business school. We celebrated 70 years of our activity. I was proud to feel the FELU’s spirit in different periods in the school’s development. Today’s FELU community has shown high respect for the school’s past achievements and a dedication to its future development facilitated by our shared values. Despite considerable pressure from the environment, the FELU remains a strong school with a powerful social impact.

Read more in the FELU’s Yearly Review 2016/2017.

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