The Institute of Technology and Business in České Budějovice (ITB) is the youngest public university in the country. It has 4,000 students in 5 Bachelor programmes: Engineering, Technology Services and Transportation, Construction of Buildings, Construction Economics and Management. The strategy of the university reflects the needs of students and employers, it has designed practice-oriented branches, it takes care about feedback of graduates and about communication with all of the stakeholders.
The university has a special Center for Professional Preparation, cooperates with the world of work successfully for several years. There is an intensive communication among all stakeholders; students select their placement according to their specialization and preferences, professional content of the placement is clearly structured.
The second key factor of long-term university strategy is very narrow cooperation with world of work. The management decided to create a special department for it: Center for Professional Education which has two main tasks: Connect theoretical education with real practical projects by help of partner companies. Projects start by theoretic proposals of products, and students then construct them in cooperation with real firms, produce them, prepare distribution and promotion. The complete administration of placements is the second task of the Center. This process is lead by the ideas of our partner firms (about 500 firms) and by the wish of a concrete student. ITB tries to motivate its young employees and students to develop their creativity. A system of competitions and grants is in place to encourage both groups to regularly participate. Students benefit from going through the experience of working on a long-term project and subsequently defending it against tough competition. Tens of students participate annually in these competitions and innovative ideas, practical solutions, and unusual projects are often brought forward.
Placement procedure: students select a project according to their professional profile and their interest in the placement; they have a university tutor, who takes care about the content quality and formal arrangement of the placement (agreement, possibility of taxes reduction for the company). The company assigns a mentor responsible for the placement content – to be in touch with the tutor and to participate in the assessment of the student. Assessment process involves both students and their mentors. They fill in the forms and then lead a discussion concerning quality of student’s preparation, quality of the placement, needs of firm etc. The university reflects needs of employers and students and adjusts the curricula content by adding new modules or by study corrections. It is a regular process supporting all placements.
There are also other connections with the practical work at the university: all topics for final theses are selected according to students’ and firms’ interests. Together, both partners choose the best topic useful for both sides: the student and the firm. The new part of the university strategy is to listen to the voice of Alumni. ITB prepares various activities for its alumni and the new Academic Club for Alumni will be established very soon with the task to communicate with them systematically.