University of Arts George Enescu

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The operational environment of higher education in Romania has experienced many changes in the recent years. The new education law, which came into force in 2011, granted universities more autonomy, whilst renewing the governance and organisational structures of universities. The leadership of all Romanian universities has changed since the new law. Additionally, all Romanian universities have been grouped into three categories as 1) advanced research and teaching-based universities, 2) teaching and scientific research-based universities or teaching and art-based universities and 3) teaching-based universities. All study programmes have been also evaluated and assigned into categories from A to E based on their resources and performance. In this categorisation of Romanian universities, The University of Arts George Enescu (UAGE) belongs to the second group – research, teaching and artistic creation universities. Two of its fields of study have received rating A, and one a rating B.

The University of Arts George Enescu (UAGE) is the only arts university in Romania that brings together music, drama and visual arts. UAGE traces its history back to the establishment of schools of music and arts in the 1860s. In its current form as a comprehensive arts university, UAGE has existed since the 1990s. Internally, the university has undergone several structural changes. The latest of these took place only in 2012, when the university reorganised its academic units into three faculties – the faculty of performance, composition and theoretical musical studies, the faculty of acting and the faculty of visual arts and design – as well as a series of pedagogical training and service units in the Pedagogical Institute. The deans of two of the new faculties were only selected in autumn 2012. The Rector, Atena Elena Simionescu, has been in her post since spring 2012.

The university is located in Iaşi, the second largest city in Romania, in the Moldova region in the north-eastern part of the country. The location gives a specific flair to this large student city, both to its cultural life as well as to the university, which considers the cooperation with institutes in Moldova an important strategic direction. The region has distinctive cultural features, as well as shared features with the rest of the country and, moreover, is part of a distinct transborder region also including Republic of Moldova and southern Ukraine.

The university’s mission, as defined in the Self-Evaluation Report, is as follows:

“The mission of the University of Arts “George Enescu” Iaşi, a university with lifelong tradition and prestige among vocational institutions, is to mould and cultivate talent, character and personalities, to train specialists (artists or theorists) able to offer people genuine culture, and to maintain a rich artistic and research activity that enables the progress of Romanian art and culture adapted to the international social and cultural context.”

The university operates in a challenging economic and political environment. Whilst the educational law of 2011 mandates university autonomy, it also describes the governance structures for the university and the financial regulations and numerous national quality assurance regulations that constrain the university scope for manoeuvre. The legislation has also continuously been changed and adapted in recent years. This, together with the financial and economic crisis, the resulting budget cuts imposed on the higher education sector in the recent past and the fluctuating political situation make the operational environment of the university extremely volatile. The future demographic challenges faced by Romania as well as the horizon of higher education changing from national to international, mandate the university to rethink its strategy and operations.

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