Interdisciplinary Education with a Modern Pedagogical Approach: An Interview with Dr Matej Avbelj, Rector of the New University and Professor of European Law

The New University includes three faculties – the Faculty of European Law, the Faculty of National and European Studies, and the Faculty of Slovenian and International Studies, as well as several structural units. In addition to the main premises in Nova Gorica, the university faculties are also located in Kranj, Maribor, and in the centre of Ljubljana. Study programmes are implemented in collaboration with the universities in Kosovo, Croatia, the USA, and Israel.

We bring to your attention an interview with Dr Matej Avbelj, Rector of the New University and Professor of European Law.

Photo: Dr Matej Avbelj, Rector of the New University and Professor of European Law

– What are the main features of the New University?

– The New University is a young, flexible, and active educational and research institution that quickly responds to the challenges of modernity. The university focuses on understanding national issues within the European and international contexts. We specialise in the legal, administrative, sociological, and human sciences, implement a pronounced multidisciplinary approach, and search for direct solutions to the challenges of modernity. At the level of structural units, our students also study Healthcare, Physiotherapy, Civil Engineering, and Economics.

At the New University, theory is closely connected with practice, while practice, in turn, is thoroughly studied on the basis of theory. Such approach is successfully achieved due to the excellent faculty staff.

The New University operates in different regions of the country. We are present in four cities – Nova Gorica, Kranj, Maribor, and of course Ljubljana, in the very heart of the capital.

– What are the strengths of the New University?

– First of all, it is our academic and teaching staff. The New University is proud of a unique combination of extensive experience and youthful enthusiasm – from the founding fathers of the state, chairmen of the Constitutional Court to young teachers and well-known scholars with international reputation.

Secondly, it is our attitude towards students. The New university is cultivating a student-centered approach.We strive to help students make the most of their potential and talents.

With that in mind, I would also highlight our approach to teaching, which is always in line with current trends. We teach using our favourite Socratic method. During classes, students and teachers have a dialogue. We also apply new pedagogical technologies. In particular, I would like to highlight our online learning platform at a virtual university.

The last but not the least – also from the perspective of student life – our location is first class, right in the heart of Slovenia’s capital.

– What is your strategy for attracting international students?

– Foreign students are already studying at the New University under the Erasmus exchange programme, on the basis of bilateral international agreements and university franchises.

We strive to attract students, first of all, due to the quality of our study programmes; excellent faculty staff, which I have already mentioned; interesting research projects and intellectual social events; as well as an abundance of opportunities for quality time spending available for students in Ljubljana and in other cities, in which we have our structural units.

– What are the perspectives, ambitions and development goals of the New University?

– Within the academic areas of our highest priority, the New University seeks to become a leading pedagogical, research and intellectual community centre, closely integrated into European and global spaces. In the coming years, we intend to strengthen the stability of our work, to improve the quality of the university, as well as to enhance its inclusion in the international environment with the help of new employees and research projects.

That is why we are interested in attracting more foreign students who, assisted by their Slovenian colleagues, will get acquainted with this beautiful land of Central Europe, make new friends, develop new ideas and, thus, work for our common better future!

Interview by Špela Zupan Štampohar

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