Establishment of Institution of PHE with Regional Mission
The College of Polytechnics Jihlava (VSPJ) was founded in 2004 as the first public college of a non-university type in the Czech Republic and as the only public HEI institution in Vysočina region. From the beginning VSPJ had clear mission in regionally and professionally oriented education. Establishment of such a institution was one of the main priorities of the regional authority in Jihlava. VSPJ arose on the basis of vocational college at Jihlava, which was one of the biggest within the Czech Republic (with more than 1 000 on-site students) and it was focused on three study programs: Finances and Management; Tourism and Computer Systems. The new HEI acquired real estate property and facilities of former vocational school that had to be approved by the regional authority; and it entered relatively complicated legislation process of establishing public HEI that includes not only Ministry of Education and regional authority, but also the Parliament of the Czech Republic. The then minister played a crucial role in promoting the establishment of this HEI. In the beginning the appointed rector was the only organisational body of the institution, later the academic senate and board were established. Different bodies followed according to the Czech law on higher education. Besides five departments (Business, Tourism, Engineering, Health Care, Social Care), several central administrative and supportive bodies were established, such as Financial and Administrative Units, Educational Services Units, Library and Publishing Unit, Center for Lifelong Learning and Development, Advisory Center for Students, Travel Agency etc.
The regional engagement takes mainly three forms of activities:
• The role for regional labor market. It should address the demand of regional firms for graduates (especially graduates of engineering), who are directly and immediately employable.
• The cooperation with regional partners is put into practice via a systematic model of trainee-ships in firms. All accredited degree programs include spending of one part of study (usually the last semester of BA study) as trainee-ship.
• Very important link to regional actors that is promoted by the HEI is involvement of practitioners in educational process. The leadership of the HEI continually makes efforts to have practitioners from business or public administration sphere as lecturers. However, this is limited by demands of national regulation for accreditation of study programmes that requires significant participation of academics with higher academic qualification (professors, associate professors).
The spectrum of activities that College in Jihlava provides for the region is even wider. This type of community services comprise course of the University of the 3rd Age, European Computer Driving Licence, preparatory courses for Cambridge English Exams, public courses in computer skills, Arts-Therapy, and last but not least, the college runs its own travel agency that offers services on demand for local public and private organisations, groups and individuals.