University “St. Kliment Ohridski” – Bitola (UKLO) is proud to participate in the “More Than Our Rank” initiative led by the INORMS Research Evaluation Group. While we continue to value traditional metrics, we see in this important international initiative a perspective and consideration of equity, diversity, inclusiveness, responsiveness and responsibility to the community, as well as social impact. UKLO is an institution that inspires and empowers people.
UKLO IS A TRADITION
In line with the current global trends for the massification of higher education, UKLO continues the original mission of the Ohrid Literary School founded by St. Kliment Ohridski more than 1100 years ago – to provide a quality higher education and bright perspective for the youth of the Republic of North Macedonia, mostly from its southwestern part.
UKLO was formally founded 43 years ago as the second state university in the Republic of North Macedonia, but our tradition dates back almost 100 years. The first scientific institution on the territory of the today’s Republic of North Macedonia, the Tobacco Institute in Prilep, is part of UKLO and was founded in 1924. The first student society in Bitola was founded in 1934, and many of those students later played a vital role in creating the modern Macedonian state.
A university withsuch a tradition is expected to be a leader in initiating regional development plans. That’s why UKLO is trying and will try to replicate the mission of its patron St. Kliment Ohridski in the contemporary context.
UKLO – AN OPEN UNIVERSITY WITH A NOBLE MISSION
Locally and nationally, UKLO’s mission is far more significant than that of leading universities in the world. UKLO has faculties (units and departments) in six cities in the Republic of North Macedonia. We provide higher education for young people, primarily from the region and the country, thus opening the door for them and hoping for their prosperity. If it weren’t for universities like ours, many of our students today would certainly not have been able to afford higher education; hence their chances of success in life would be much lower. UKLO provides them affordable higher education not far away from their homes and traces a path to a better future. After all, several facts related to the recent boom in a number of industries in the region employing UKLO graduates – like ICT industry for instance, to the rather small number of unemployed highly educated people, to the large number of our students that are successful in the world and of course, that leading business people and politicians in the region are our alumni, all contribute to the confirmation of our noble mission. UKLO continuously strives to provide quality higher education to a wide range of young people in the country and the region to ensure social prosperity following modern global and European trends.
UKLO – A UNIVERSITY WITH THE STUDENTS AND THE COMMUNITY IN ITS FOCUS
UKLO feels responsible for engaging with and responding to the aspirations and challenges of the world and the communities which serve to the benefit of humanity and contribute to sustainability. Thus UKLO follows and fully adheres to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Moreover, UKLO continuously undertakes initiatives with the students at the centre of the activities. A fundamental motive is the continuous opening of UKLO to the community and the increasing involvement of experts from practice in the practical teaching of the faculties, enabling conditions for implementing dual education, clinical teaching etc. UKLO is dedicated to bringing about meaningful, long-lasting change that benefits the community and itself. To cultivate socially responsible students, faculty, alumni and partners, UKLO strives to incorporate sustainability into everything it does.
With joint efforts, UKLO continuously works on increasing its participation in internationally financed projects. The number of such projects at this moment is far from insignificant. In the past ten years, UKLO has brought to the country about 5,000,000 EUR, through international projects. Taken from this, it can be viewed as a foreign investor with high significance for the local, regional and national economy.
As а small, regional and dynamic university, our university performs well in the recently introduced categories of global rankings that aim to include institutions structurally unseen in conventional global rankings. Students, parents, employers, governments, businesses and funding organizations may rely on global rankings in ways that are occasionally not fully supported by the methodologies that support them. It is widely acknowledged that global university rankings tend to reward older, wealthier, larger, research-intensive institutions in rich countries.
Rankings do not reflect the recognition that UKLO staff, students and graduates acquire through various activities, including serving as leaders in scientific associations, receiving literary and artistic awards, being appointed to judicial positions and running for political office. They disregard the substantial influence and scope of our experts’ contributions to public policy.
The ranking of universities is important but not crucial. We believe that more hype is made in public without knowing the essence of the rankings. First of all, the rankings are made solely on the scientific component. There is no ranking that values the educational part. Second, the leading rankings, such as the Shanghai Ranking – with no Macedonian universities ranked among the top ranked ones – value, only top scientific achievements, like Nobel prize winners and published papers in leading scientific journals such as Science, Nature, etc. Third and most important, the ranking is done by absolute values, not relative ones. This means that the scientific achievements of a university with 30,000 teaching and research staff are collected and compared to those of a university with 300 teaching and research staff. UKLO’s relevant science rankings appear on Webometrics, which ranks 5101 out of 30,000 ranked universities, which means it is among the top 20 per cent in the world. But if relative values by the number of employees and investments in science are considered, they would indeed be ranked much higher.
Even a perfectly designed ranking system would be unable to properly identify all the highly valued contributions that global universities make to their graduates and their communities, let alone compare them fairly. As a university committed to equality, diversity, inclusion and responsible research assessment, we believe it is essential to acknowledge these limitations of global rankings.
UKLO – A PROACTIVE INTERNATIONAL ACTOR
The international cooperation of UKLO is realized through bilateral, multilateral, and project activity, centrally and at the level of units, within the framework of international projects and programs, such as the most prominent among them, ERASMUS+. The activities in this department are related to the teaching-educational activity through the projects for the improvement of the teaching process, but also with the research through international research and projects for the wider community. UKLO nurtures and develops partnerships and cooperation relations with educational institutions and organizations with partners from the immediate environment and beyond, in regional, European and world frameworks (through numerous signed agreements), and is also a member of associations and networks dealing with higher education issues such as the European University Association (EUA), the Balkan University Association (BUA) and the Agency of Francophone Universities (AUF). UKLO is a signatory to the Charter of Universal Academic Rights and Freedoms – Magna Charta Universitatum.
UKLO – A RESPONSIVE AND RESPONSIBLE UNIVERSITY
As a proud signatory of the Magna Charta Universitatum since 2013, UKLO is focused on a tendency to achieve the highest standards of intellectual integrity and scientific work in institutions and society, providing opportunities for people to access higher education and reinforcing trust in the relationship between universities and their communities. UKLO firmly adheres to and affirms Magna Charta Universitatum fundamental principles and embraces its duty to teach and undertake research ethically and with integrity, producing reliable, trustworthy and accessible results.
The “More Than Our Rank” initiative proudly gives us the ability to highlight the way our mission and work are making a difference – something which is not taken into consideration in traditional national or international rankings. By participating in the “More Than Our Rank” initiative, we are joining institutions committed to responsible assessment and measurement of how research helps to improve local, regional and national needs and the overall development of our communities.