On the occasion of the upcoming academic year, we talked about higher education, students and scientific activity with the rector of the Pan-European University APEIRON, academician prof. Dr. Zoran Ž. Avramović

Rector Zoran Ž. Avramović

1. APEIRON Pan-European University enrolls the sixteenth generation of students. What kind of education can those who choose you count on?

APEIRON, with its 7 faculties and 21 study programs, is a modern institution of higher education that has aligned and continuously aligns its program with the requirements of the labor market, trends in science and the profession, recognizing the needs of society and building students into highly educated experts who are up to current and future challenges. in the areas for which it is accredited, according to the highest quality standards in the field of higher education. By studying at the Pan-European University, students have the opportunity to learn from competent teachers, scientists and experts in their fields and research with them in the fields of informatics, economics, law, health, languages, sports and transport, which guarantees the quality of education. Celebrating 16 years of the University's existence and work, I had the exceptional honor of promoting 8 professors emeritus, who earned that title during this period, working with students and raising younger scientific staff at our institution. The names that were found there impress and honor us. Most of them are academics, even in more than one academy of sciences, starting with the president of ANURS and the seventh president of Republika Srpska, and onward. Such an ensemble of professors is difficult to meet in a wider environment. Our students were and are fortunate to have such great professors teach them and the opportunity to continue cooperation with them at higher levels of education. Therefore, our students can count on the fact that, if they successfully master the subject materials, they will receive a high-quality diploma that is recognizable even beyond our borders.

2. How much does APEIRON invest in practical teaching?

Today, it is quite normal for an employer to require practical experience from a candidate in a job competition, in addition to the acquired educational knowledge. We thought about that too. APEIRON has concluded agreements with more than 50 companies from the Republic of Srpska, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Slovenia, Austria and Germany on the provision of practical training services. Senior students and seniors are present in public and private institutions where they acquire practical knowledge that is evaluated in the ESPB credit system. Practical teaching is the intention of the modern Bologna process of education and is one of the characteristic factors of the quality of our University. The modernly equipped offices of the Faculty of Health Care with all the necessary teaching aids, then the recently equipped Center for diagnostics in sports and cooperation with reputable sports institutions and schools, represent an excellent base for the advancement of students through practical exercises. Students of the Faculty of Sports Sciences have lessons on the field every year, which refines the acquired knowledge in the teaching process. Our Faculty of Health Sciences has concluded agreements for the implementation of student internships with relevant institutions in the Republic of Srpska and the Republic of Slovenia, namely: University Clinical Center of the RS, University Clinical Center Tuzla, Institute of Public Health of the RS, Terme Laktaši, Health Tourism Center Banja Vrućica, Institute for Protection and Ecology of RS, Rehabilitation Center "Dom 2" Topola Izola - Republic of Slovenia, Banja Kulaši. Our students go to practice in Germany, and after completing their studies, if they demonstrate motivation and practical knowledge, the path to permanent employment is open to them there. Our students of the Faculty of Information Technologies are not far behind them, and through practice they round off their knowledge, bringing it to enviable heights. Students of the Faculty of Philological Sciences are obliged to spend a year in Russia during their studies, where they study, take exams and acquire practical knowledge of the Russian language and literature at prestigious and renowned universities, with which we have many years of successful cooperation. Students of our Faculty of Traffic in our mobile laboratories and in the field acquire valuable practical knowledge that will be extremely useful to them in practice tomorrow. Therefore, we can say that the teaching base of the Pan-European University consists of renowned houses both in the Republic of Srpska and outside it. And it is expanding every day.

3. Where are your students after their studies?

With no small pleasure and great pride, I point out that our former students work in the largest scientific factory in the world - the European Institute for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva. Together with the greatest minds of today, they develop, program and research the most complex physical phenomena. Some of them moved to the USA and there developed complex software products that recommended them to continue and complete doctoral studies at New York University. We meet them as designers of robot software for car manufacturing. We attend and participate in the defense of their doctoral dissertations at the University of Belgrade. We are proud that the realization of the heart of the Uber system is directly related to APEIRON. The American international company Uber, with over 100 million users worldwide, allows users to find transportation and pay for it online. This, the most sensitive part of this system - billing, was implemented by our teachers, associates and former students. In general, former students of APEIRON are employed on the domestic and foreign labor market in public institutions and private companies, mainly in the Republic of Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the European Union. Specifically, the Faculty of Health Sciences educates students in five majors. FZN students are employed in the state and private sector, such as Institute of Public Health of the RS, University Clinical Center of the RS, hospitals: Doboj, Bijeljina, Prijedor, Trebinje, Foča, Health Centers in BiH, JZU Miroslav Zotović, Institute of Public Health of the RS, Terme Laktaši, Health Tourism Center Banja Vrućica Teslić, Center for rehabilitation "Dom 2" Topola Izola - Slovenia, Banja Kulaši, private clinics and clinics, ministries, municipal and republican bodies as well as health institutions in Germany, Serbia, Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Sudan, Australia, Italy, Norway, Denmark... I can state that our former students are primarily employed in the Republic of Srpska, but we can meet them almost on all the meridians of the world.

4. Is there a large number of those who go abroad with a diploma?

The Pan-European University, through its own Center for Career Guidance ("Alumni" Center), keeps records of graduated students, and recently we have precise data on the applications of a large number of our graduates to work abroad or to continue their studies at higher levels of study (master's and doctoral studies) at higher education institutions. outside Bosnia and Herzegovina. We have already pointed out that this number is not negligible, especially from faculties that produce experts for Industry 4.0, i.e. the digital age. Unfortunately, that process is currently one-way, but as optimists we hope for their return. In that case, the gained international experience would be extremely important for our development. Some students with our diplomas got a job in the profession in Russia, France, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates, Spain, USA or continued their studies in Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, etc.

5. How much attention does the teaching staff of APEIRON University pay to writing scientific papers?

Unfortunately, my impression is that our joint scientific research work as a unique APEIRON research team has not yet been sufficiently utilized and is not producing the expected results for me. However, some members of our collective have, I wouldn't say impressive, but rather fascinating scientific research work behind them. This is supported by the claim that since the founding of the University, we have had 9 professors emeritus, who have earned this prestigious status thanks to exceptional results in science and research. In addition, our University employs researchers who are members of over twenty multinational, state and branch academies of science. Each of them gained this status thanks to their outstanding scientific achievements. At our University, we have professors who have published over 300 scientific and professional papers, participated in the work or managed the development of more than 150 scientific research and professional projects. In the list of journals in which APEIRON's researchers publish, quite a few are from the Web of Science (SCI) list, led by the distinguished family of IEEE journals. APEIRON Pan-European University is itself the founder of several scientific and professional gatherings and conferences and several scientific and professional magazines in which our teachers and associates are given the opportunity to publish the results of their research. Of course, our staff use them abundantly. I believe that there is certainly room for more, and that should be one of the key intentions in shaping the development of the University today. The conditions that need to be improved are more serious stimulation, both material and non-material, by the University and the departmental bodies that monitor this issue. Of course, we try to activate young scientific staff to do research, to participate in scientific conferences and to publish research in their field of interest.

6. APEIRON's scientific journal EMC Review is the first from BiH in Thomson Reuters? Why is that citation base so far away from magazines from Bosnia and Herzegovina?

Thomson Reuters (Thomson Reuters, operating under the name Clarivate Analytics since 2017) presented to the world scientific public a new citation index of scientific journals covering emerging scientific fields (ESCI - Emerging Sources Citation Index) in November 2015. On that occasion, EMC Review - Journal of Market Communications of the Pan-European University was included in this most respected global database. Our scientific public knows that this citation database covers all scientific research areas, through three citation indexes, SCI (Science Citation Index) which tracks natural, technical and biomedical sciences, SSCI (Social Science Citation Index) social sciences and A&HCI (Art and Humanities Citation Index) humanities and arts. Our University is greatly honored that the world's most prestigious and popular database of scientific journals, whose admission criteria are very high, has shown great respect to our journal by including it in its family of the world's most prestigious journals. Indexing of EMC Review journal and presentation of abstracts of its papers in Clarivate Analytics - Emerging Source Citation Index (ESCI) started from issue V.13(1)2017. It is necessary to state that this journal is included in the first category of ranked scientific journals in the Republic of Srpska and that it is published twice a year. It is available on the website http://www.emc‐, and is the first journal from Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the field of economic sciences, to be included in the Web of Science list. I believe that with this, our institution has taken a huge step forward in science, when it comes to the quality of published works and meeting international standards, thus fulfilling one of the prerequisites for the scientific advancement of the teaching staff.

7. The Pan-European University is the first in our region to introduce a distance learning system. What does this type of study include?

Yes, APEIRON for more than 10 years with its own distance learning system (DL system), provides all students with free access to lectures, video recordings of lectures, electronic textbooks, presentations as well as other electronic materials for studying and exam preparation at any time and from any location. points of the world. Practice has shown that this way of monitoring classes is extremely useful for students, as they can listen to a lecture that they failed to attend, repeat monitoring of a part of the lesson and better establish their knowledge. A significant number of students, especially those whose place of residence is far from the University headquarters, mostly use this system to acquire knowledge, and the results of the exams show that they are not far behind those who listen to classical classes in the classroom. The largest number of students supplement classical teaching with access to the distance learning system. This platform is dynamic, constantly updated by teachers with new teaching content and teaching materials. It is clear that this is an additional service that is independent of the classic system of contact teaching and that can complement it, but can also be used independently. Special international effects are achieved by the fact that our professors teach from Banja Luka through the DL system to students of Russian universities (ROSNOU - Russian New University Moscow, Moscow State Regional University, Tambov State University and others). APEIRON was the originator of this type of education, and today it strives to be and remain a leader in DL learning in our region!

8. How do you solve the problem of copied (plagiarized) works?

APEIRON noticed the problem of plagiarism in its environment, and on that occasion, appropriate acts were adopted, prescribing measures for violating the code of university ethics. We are aware that plagiarism in science (academic plagiarism) is a more complex issue than plagiarism in copyright law, especially in the part of mosaic plagiarism, which occurs when parts are taken from several other people's works, and often paraphrased, so their detection is usually more difficult. Determining the originality of university work (seminar, final, graduate, specialist, master's thesis, doctoral dissertation) has been carried out with us since 2013 through electronic verification with the help of specialized software "Ephorus", provided by the Pan-European University, to determine the scope and the contents of the text match with the texts available to that software for comparison. The verification procedure is a mandatory phase and precedes the preparation of a report on the suitability of the university work for acceptance and defense. All papers submitted to ten of our scientific conferences and professional gatherings or submitted for publication in one of APEIRON's seven scientific-professional journals are also subject to this electronic verification procedure. Upon completion of the check, our software creates two electronic documents: • a full report – which forms the university work with marked matches, as well as the sources from which the matches came and • a summary report – containing the scope of the matches and basic data on the results of the check. The report on the verification of the university work is only an indication of its originality, because the data on the percentage of matching of the text, by itself, is not enough to prove doubts about the originality of the work. A certain amount of text matching is necessary, as a result of citations, personal names, bibliographic data on the literature used, so-called. general places and data, as well as previously published results of the author's research. The mentor's evaluation of the report on the verification of the originality of the work must be based on the totality of relevant criteria, such as the amount of matching, the meaning and significance of the parts of the text where the matching was determined, and in particular, the scientific and professional value of the author's original contributions presented in the work. A negative grade stops the procedure for acceptance of the work until the identified shortcomings are eliminated in cooperation with the mentor and until the mentor, based on the repeated process of checking the work, makes a positive grade. Parallel to the mentioned activities, APERON works intensively on developing awareness among students about the phenomenon of plagiarism and in general about academic honor, which is an integral part of everyday university work and life. With this approach, APEIRON strives to establish itself in this area as the most serious educational institution that can serve as an example to the closer and wider academic community, how to fight against plagiarism.

9. What activities is APEIRON University working on in the coming period?

There is a wide field of activities ahead of us in the coming period. The agile management of the Pan-European University does not stop, but goes full steam ahead, without stopping. In addition to the two doctoral studies, which are successfully functioning at the Faculty of Information Technologies and the Faculty of Business Economics, we are nearing completion of the same studies at the Faculty of Philological Sciences. Within the academic studies of the Faculty of Information Technologies, we have introduced two new study programs: Computer Multimedia and Graphics, as well as Information Technology Engineering (with specializations: Programming and Software Engineering and Computer Security and Information Protection). The programs have been well received by students, who opt for them in large numbers. We continue the intensive and active improvement of all seven of our faculties, and we especially take care of the IT sector, where we are planning major innovations in professional training in promising fields, thinking also about the upcoming Industry 4.0. APEIRON is an important link in the field of education for the needs of the health system of Republika Srpska, as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina in general. A large number of our former students are employed in hospitals, health centers and clinical centers, where they provide care and rehabilitation services for the injured and sick. Aware of this responsibility and need, we are planning improvements at the Faculty of Health Sciences as well. The field of scientific research was not neglected either. Preparations and implementation of our conferences and scientific-professional gatherings continue. We are planning to expand international scientific and professional cooperation with several countries of the world, especially expansion with Russian universities.

In the coming period, APEIRON will work on:

  • raising the level of theoretical and practical teaching, improving existing and introducing new methods of learning and acquiring knowledge adapted to the labor market,
  • intensifying the academic exchange of students and teaching staff within the international ERASMUS+ program, as well as other international and domestic partnerships and contracts,
  • the introduction of project-oriented activities in order to connect and cooperate with the economy through the Office for Project Management,
  • participation and preparation of projects for the domestic and international market,
  • activating the potential of the Scientific Research Institute i
  • harmonization of existing and introduction of new study programs in accordance with the needs of the labor market and the economy.