The Conference on MANAGEMENT AND GOVERNANCE OF THE UNIVERSITY OF THE FUTURE (September 20-21, 2018), co-organized by the Jagiellonian University – Faculty of Management and Social Communication, Universite Grenoble Alpes and Reseau PGV, was a platform of international debate on the attributes of the university of the future and local debate on changes in Polish higher education sector implemented by Act 2.0. The first day of the conference was concluded with a seminar devoted to the analysis of trends in knowledge management and presentation of solutions supporting the digitization of knowledge. The presentation was conducted by Juan Alegret, RVP Europe Blackboard.

The first discussion panel entitled “New Academic Order in Poland” was led by Prof. Łukasz Sułkowski (Jagiellonian University & University of Social Sciences), President of PCG Academia and PCG Polska, an expert in the subject of university management. Excellent guests who participated in the discussion, were also involved in the reform process of higher education in Poland: Piotr Müller – Deputy Minister of Science and Higher Education, Prof. Jan Szmidt – Chairman of Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland and Rector of Warsaw University of Technology, Prof. Jarosław Górniak – Head of the Center for Education and Analysis of Public Policies of the Jagiellonian University, Prof. Marek Kwiek – Director of the Center for Public Policy Studies y at Adam Mickiewicz University and Prof. Katarzyna Chałasińska-Macukow – former president of CRASP and Rector of University of Warsaw in 2005-2012.

Of course, the panel on the topic of new academic order in Poland had to include the discussion on  the Act 2.0 and its strengths and weaknesses. Deputy Minister Piotr Müller admitted that the most powerful side of the new act is at the same time its weakest point. The new law, which comes into force on October 1, 2018, allows universities to independently decide on their organization. This is a great opportunity, but also a challenge that not every university can handle. The deputy minister also pointed out that due to the change in the financing model of universities, higher education institutions will have more possibilities as to how to use the funds.

The new academic order was also discussed in the context of the university landscape in Poland in a few years. Under the new law, the best universities will have the opportunity to acquire additional funds and develop as research centers. This topic provoked discussion on the role of the university and its staff. The voices were divided into supporters of the American model (a university producing high-class specialists, who should deal almost exclusively with conducting research) and skeptics of such an approach, who reminded about the basic role of the university which is the education of students.

The university, regardless of whether it intends to focus on education or research, will also have to face the implementation of broad changes in the area of management introduced by the Act 2.0. The topic of management in higher education was debated in the second discussion panel entitled “Strategic Management of Universities”, which was conducted by Prof. Krzysztof Leja – Associate Dean for Research, Faculty of Management and Economics, Gdańsk University of Technology. Panel participants included, among others: Prof. Jerzy Woźnicki – President of the Polish Rectors Foundation and former Chairman of the CRASP and General Council of Science and Higher Education, Prof. Krzysztof Diks – Chairman of the Polish Accreditation Committee and Prof. Dominik Antonowicz – an expert in the field of higher education management.

During the discussion the university was compared to an orchestra, where everyone play their own melody, while the conductor plays his own. Peof. Jerzy Woźnicki stressed that the problem in the management of universities is a low expenditure on higher education sector and that’s why it’s so important that the funds university posses are used in the best way. President of the Polish Rectors Foundation also reminded about the role of the university as an educational institution and its public responsibility.

During the second panel, the subject of opportunities and threats arising from the Act 2.0 has appeared again. As a positive aspect of the new law, the panelists indicated the establishment of the university council. On the other hand, the panelists consider the fact of reducing the role of the faculties as not as positive. The discussion also touched upon the topic of large and small universities and outlines the optimal career path in which the scientist gains knowledge in a large research institutions, after which returns to his regional university and organizes a new center there. Thanks to this approach, the researcher has the opportunity to do research where he feels the best, while supporting the local development.

The first day of the conference ended with the presentation of trends in knowledge management, which are resulting clearly from the needs of university stakeholders – the students. The naturally occurring changes in communication, resulting from the popularization of mobile technologies and social media, set the directions of teachning procesess development. Solutions such as LMS, systems for e-learning and remote collaboration, as well as analytical tools, enable effective knowledge management.