University of Zagreb

ZAGREB, CROATIA

The Croatian capital is home to the largest university in the country and the longest-running in all of Southeastern Europe.

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The university

  • The University of Zagreb (UNiZG) is the oldest Croatian university and also the oldest university in South East Europe. The University was founded in 1669 by Emperor and King Leopold I Habsburg who issued a decree granting the status and privileges of university to the Jesuit Academy of the Royal Free City of Zagreb. In 1776 Empress and Queen Maria Theresa issued a decree founding the Royal Academy of Science consisting of three studies or faculties - Philosophy, Theology and Law. The previously established (in 1769) Political-cameral study was merged with the newly established Faculty of Law, and thus was integrated into the Academy. The modern UNiZG of Zagreb was established in 1874 (with 4 faculties: Law, Theology, and Humanities), while majority of faculties and academies of art were established during the 20th century. Since then, UNiZG has played role in industrialization as well as in post-industrial transitions of the city of Zagreb, offering studies which corresponds to those developments. Faculty of Law is one of the oldest institutions of the UNiZG. Its separate study centres for public administration and social work, along with its core law study, are very active in dealing with diversity issues characteristic for Zagreb as post-industrial and diverse city.
  • UNiZG traditionally welcomes many first-generation and non-traditional students, including children from generations of manual worker families or students with a migration-related background.
  • Being the largest Croatian university with 34 faculties, UNiZG offers various research and educational programs, clinics and laboratories for dealing with the problems of superdiversity. The Legal Clinic and Social Work Students Society of the Faculty of Law are but some of them.

The city

  • The first wave of industrialization of Zagreb was in the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. Industrialization resulted in significant immigration from other republics of former Yugoslavia) and rural-urban migrations within Croatia; bringing many different migrant communities with different backgrounds to the city. That immigration included a transfer of so-called peasant culture, which resulted in a fragmented social structure. During the 1990s immigration to Zagreb was mainly caused by war-related mass displacements within Croatia and the region. Today, Zagreb is a diverse city with most of its population from a migration background.
  • During the 1990s transition, industry went through the process of restructuring resulting in production shutdown as a result of post-socialist transition and privatization, decrease of production, relocation of production to other locations outside the city centre or to the other part of Croatia. Large number of closed industrial plants is situated in inner city of Zagreb and represent industrial heritage. Currently, most important branches of industry are production of electric machines, chemicals, pharmaceutical, textile and food and drink processing. Zagreb is now evolving into a post-industrial service and university city.
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University of Zagreb and UNIC

University of Zagreb has several aims and activities that are directly relevant to the further development of UNIC:

  • Generating development and promoting strong links with community – one of the important aims of UNiZG is to serve as a generator of technological, economic, social and cultural development in accordance with the strategic needs of the Republic of Croatia and City of Zagreb. UNiZG is committed to improving connection between scientific research and development, better intellectual property management, more efficient transfer of knowledge from academic community into the Croatian economy and society, and development of entrepreneurial spirit among researchers. UniZG is dedicated to developing social and community engagement skills among students and learning about inclusion and diversity challenges in post-industrial setting.
  • Excellence of research and scientific work – UNiZG encourages excellence in teaching and research, promoted also by its Human Resources Strategy. As a result of adopting this strategy, UNiZG was awarded the HR Excellence in Research logo by the European Commission. UNiZG has important role in promoting studies and researches that are socially relevant in order to enable students to take responsibility in the development of society. All educational programs have a clear link with research and research should be education-related, in order to foster students with the knowledge and 21st century skills. In its work, UNiZG promotes the values of ethics, inclusion and diversity in order to shape students as participants in a modern democratic and multicultural society, regardless of their background, social status and other characteristics.
  • Continuous innovation in teaching – University of Zagreb introduced service learning (S-L) in the academic year 2006/2007 at the Department of Information and Communication Sciences, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and in following years at other departments of UNIZG faculties. Service Learning is an innovative pedagogical approach that integrates meaningful community service or engagement into the curriculum and offers students’ academic credit for the learning that derives from active engagement within community and work on a real world problem. 18 faculties of UNiZG developed sustainable partnerships with NGOs through implementation of service learning programmes that was additionally facilitated by Operational Program Effective Human Resources 2014 – 2020, funded by European Social Fund. Expertise of UNiZG teachers is recognized at the EU level by active involvement in establishing EASLHE (European Association of Service-Learning in Higher Education) and S-L as a methodology clearly reflects UNIC approach:  begin (challenge-based learning), belong (research-oriented methods) and become (civic engagement).
  • Strong development of integrated e-learning system – within the E-Learning Centre at the University Computing Centre of the University of Zagreb (SRCE) an e-learning platform named Merlin was established in 2007 as a platform for UNiZG teachers and students. Over the years it has grown to be a virtual learning environment for all higher education institutions in Croatia. For academic year 2018/2019 on Merlin, as a national e-learning platform, there were 12,000 e-courses and around 67,000 users of which 60,000 students and 7,000 teachers. The E-Learning Centre Team supports users in the process of the implementation of e-learning technologies in the educational process i.e. supporting teachers in the preparation and maintenance of e-courses, organizes training for teaching staff in e-learning technologies and supports students in the virtual environment.
  • Internationalization – UNiZG aims to enhancing competitiveness Europe-wide, by stimulating the quality of research and productivity, and boosting participation in international projects. Preparing students for the globalized labour environment can be achieved by increasing outgoing and incoming mobility of students (courses and internships), teachers and researchers at the University, as well as by increasing the mobility of foreign students. Internationalization has been promoted also through the ‘Internationalization at Home’ initiative which aims to increase the number of courses and full study programmes taught in foreign languages. UNiZG also strongly encourages the launching of joint study programmes which facilitates direct international cooperation and mobility of students, as well as teachers. 
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Aims and Activities

University of Zagreb has the following aims and activities that are directly relevant to the further development of UNIC:

  • Generating development of society – one of the important aims of UNiZG is to engage in public activities as a generator of technological, economic, social and cultural development in accordance with the strategic needs of the Republic of Croatia and City of Zagreb. UNiZG is committed to improving connection between scientific research and development, better intellectual property management, more efficient transfer of knowledge from academic community into the Croatian economy and society, and development of entrepreneurial spirit among researchers. Within UNIC UniZG is dedicated to developing social and community engagement skills among students and learning about inclusion and diversity challenges in post-industrial settings.
  • Excellence in teaching and scientific work – UNiZG encourages excellence in teaching and research, promoted also by its Human Resources Strategy. As a result of adopting this strategy, UNiZG was awarded the HR Excellence in Research by the European Commission. UNiZG has an important role in promoting studies and researches that are socially relevant in order to enable students to take responsibility in the development of society. All educational programs should have a clear link with research and research should be education-related, in order to foster students with the knowledge and 21st century skills. In the UNIC Alliance, UNiZG promotes the values of ethics, inclusion and diversity in order to shape students as participants in a modern democratic and multicultural society, regardless of their background, social status and other characteristics.
  • Innovation in teaching methods. Together with Oulu, UNiZG aims to the further development and application of modern research-oriented teaching methods boosted by information and communication technology, as well as to supporting students in the educational process and creation of a motivating learning environment. New methods will enable students to gain qualifications relevant to the global labour market, competences that are important for the development of democratic society and their personal development, and skills that will enable students to successfully live and work in a diversified environments and societies.
  • Internationalization – UNiZG aims to enhancing competitiveness Europe-wide, by stimulating the quality of research and productivity, and boosting participation in international projects. Preparing students for the globalized labour environment can be achieved by increasing outgoing and incoming mobility of students (courses and internships), teachers and researchers at the University, as well as by increasing the mobility of foreign students. Internationalization has been promoted also through the ‘Internationalization at Home’ initiative which aims to increase the number of courses and full study programmes taught in foreign languages. Together with the other seven partners, UNiZG strongly encourages the launching of joint study programmes which facilitates direct international cooperation and mobility of students, as well as teachers. UNiZg therefore has a leading role in WP 3 Mobility.
  • UNiZg has a close relationship with the Croatian Science Foundation and is a member of UNICA, EUA and LERU and will use these excellent networks for the dissemination activities of UNIC.