Community Engagement Database

The University of Rijeka is a partner institution in the Erasmus+ project Towards a European Framework for Community Engagement in Higher Education (TEFCE) (2018-2021).

The project aims to develop innovative and feasible policy tools at the university and European levels for supporting, monitoring and assessing the community engagement of universities. It defines community engagement as a process whereby universities engage with external organisations to undertake joint activities that can be mutually beneficial even if each side benefits in a different way. In 2019, TEFCE piloted its Toolbox to test and develop its methodology, while providing the pilot universities with feedback about their community engagement. The University of Rijeka (UNIRi) was the third of four pilots.

The TEFCE Toolbox guided UNIRi piloting team to assess its level of community engagement according to seven thematic dimensions: (I) teaching and learning, (II) research, (III) service & knowledge exchange, (IV) students, (V) university-level engagement activities, (VI) institutional policies and (VII) supportive peers. The first step in applying the Toolbox was the collection of evidence of community engaged activities from across UNIRi and connecting these to the 21 sub-dimensions of the Toolbox. The result of this process is an interdisciplinary ‘mapping’ of community engagement at the UNIRi and these are presented below.

For more about the practices and piloting process using TEFCE Toolbox please see UNIRI comprehensive Institutional Piloting Report.

Practice 1: Magical Day

Case study provided by: Kristina Tolić, Program Associate, University of Rijeka, Student Cultural Centre (SKC)

A project called ‘Magical Day’ started in November 2018 and since the interest for its activities was high it was continued in 2019 and has been going on every academic year. It was initiated by the Creative Team Campus of the University of Rijeka, in cooperation with the local kindergarten ‘Đurđica’ (Vojak). The goal is to secure the continuity of projects and include other kindergartens in the city of Rijeka. The focus of the projects is the implementation of short, creative and innovative activities in the form of workshops in the field of science and art. These activities are specially designed and tailored for preschool children. All of the activities are created and conducted by professors and students of the University of Rijeka from different departments (Academy of Applied Arts; Department of Biotechnology; Department of Physics; Department of Informatics; Department of Mathematics; Faculty of Teacher Education; Faculty of Engineering; Centre for Micro and Nano Sciences and Technologies (CMNZT); The Society of Mathematicians and Physicists). Activities are dynamic, interactive and diverse: creating a ’sculpture’, solving mathematical puzzles, doing experiments with water, as well as doing experiments in the field of physics related to electricity and magnetism, using a microscope etc. Pre-schoolers also visit laboratories on the University Campus and learn how 3D printing is done, how to manage robots, and play with new didactic toys printed in the Department of Mathematics on 3D printers. Children learn by exploring and experiencing something new or something old, but in a new way. By exposing them to activities such as STEM workshops or musical instruments they have not seen before or to a new art technique, we encourage their development and creativity as well as their skill sets. These types of activities can also raise interest in science and art in pre-schoolers.

Practice 2: Digitization of Cultural Heritage

Case study provided by: Kristina Pandža, Expert Associate, Project Coordinator and Researcher, UNIRi Centre for Industrial Heritage

UNIRi has established its Centre for Industrial Heritage (CIB) within three main fields – research, education and reuse. Research is the basis for all other actions that the Centre is involved in. The core objective of the Centre is valorisation and appropriate presentation of cultural heritage in an interactive, innovative and multimedia-based way. Essentially, it covers several segments of action, among which scientific research, education and tourism are particularly emphasized. In collaboration with several cities and tourist boards in Primorje-Gorski kotar County, we have conducted projects of digitization of cultural heritage and creating web pages and mobile applications. By combining expert research and modern multimedia tools, we are making new tourist products that meet the market needs and the needs of modern tourists.

All CIB projects include scientific research, adjusting the content for target audience, professional photographs and good design and programming. UNIRi students of the Department of Informatics developed a mobile application. Students from the Faculty for Humanities and Social Sciences are usually engaged in research of cultural heritage and are part of the project team in every centre’s project. Collaboration with local municipalities and tourist boards is exceptional. They recognize the importance of digitalization and consider the centre as a true partner in responding to the market needs by developing innovative tourist products.

Practice 3: Project Humane Education – Responsible Society // New community-based course Gender, sexuality, identities – from oppression to equality

Case study provided by: Brigita Miloš, Senior Assistant, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Cultural Studies and Centre for Women’s Studies

Humane Education – Responsible Society is an EU funded project mutually conducted by Lesbian Organization Rijeka -LORI, Human rights and civic participation association „PaRiter“, SOS Rijeka – Centre for Nonviolence and Human Rights and Centre for Women’s Studies of Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Rijeka. The overall objective of the project is to improve the knowledge and skills of the students at the University of Rijeka for active civic participation in the area of gender equality and related human rights in the sense of building a more humane society. The course is based on service-learning pedagogy and it is an example of a true co-creation between actors and partners coming from different sectors (university professors and NGOs’ activists). Each of the participating NGO created a mentoring programme for students so students could engage in various activities (workshops, exhibitions, lectures, radio shows, advocacy etc.) that all support the synergy of theory and practice and allow them to better internalise curriculum concepts while being engaged in the field.

Practice 4: Case Study Competition “Realizator”

Case study provided by: Andrea Laurić, Finance and Development Projects Associate, University of Rijeka Foundation

In collaboration with the Science and Technology Park of the University of Rijeka – Step Ri, and with the support of the Primorje-Gorski kotar County, the University of Rijeka Foundation has launched the first Rijeka University Case Study competition – the Realizator in 2016. Case study competition is a format that contributes to the collaboration of the academic and the business community in an innovative way. By working on real business cases and developing the best solutions for enterprises, Rijeka’s students get the possibility of putting their knowledge into practice and developing specific skills for competing in the labour market. The project is an activity of the Foundation’s Students for the knowledge society fund designed with the purpose of promoting the employability of students and is active every academic year.

The three editions of the project gathered more than 200 participating students from 11 departments of the University of Rijeka, consisting of undergraduate and graduate level studies, divided into 84 teams. A total of 63 business solutions were created, out of which 41 won an award. Renown partners, companies and institutions also join the project. Starting from the 2017 edition, the three best business solutions are awarded with the amount of 3,000 HRK for the first place, 2,000 HRK for the second and 1,000 HRK for the third place. Besides the financial prizes, the official partner of the project – Step Ri – provides the winning teams with an official interview for a chance to secure free support for the innovative business ideas development. Economic community (partners, companies and institutions) supports the practice by providing business cases and representatives to participate in the competition activities and lead the communication with the Foundation. They participate in the expert jury which decides on the case study competition winners. Often, they invite winning students to present their solution to the Management Board. In 2017, the winner of the JGL d.d. business case was offered for the job in their enterprise.

Practice 5: University for the Third Age

Case study provided by: Jana Ažić, Head of Student Cultural Centre, UNIRi

The University for the Third Age is open to all citizens from the Primorje-Gorski kotar County over the age of 55, with prior secondary or tertiary education. As organized by the University of Rijeka, its educational programs offer an informal approach to learning that opens older generations to fresh insights and relates all new information to their rich personal experience. Founded in 2009 in cooperation with the City of Rijeka and the City of Opatija, the University of the Third Age aims to cultivate social inclusion, improve general levels of motivation and mental health, and foster the wellbeing of older generations. The University of Rijeka wants to take care of its citizens and make them feel included in the academic community. Up to this point, the University has realized over 30 programs, comprised of twenty 45-minute classes each, in the areas of horticulture, health studies, nutrition, physics, neuroscience, personal finance, psychology, emotional health, sculpting, drawing, painting, graphics, religion, creative writing, Rijeka’s history, art history, ethics, cultural studies, and biotechnology. All courses are held in two cycles, a spring and a fall semester, and last from ten to twenty 45-minute classes. On top of these two semesters, the University arranges individual thematic lectures throughout the year. We have, thus far, organized sixty such classes, which have welcomed a total of 905 participants over 55 years of age, 85% of whom were female (F), and 15% male (M). This practice helps UNIRI to open up to the community, while offering a part-time job to its retired professors as lecturers but also as attendees. To the target group of senior citizens, especially academically educated, UNIRI offers the possibility to spend their time better, be up-to-date with the latest scientific knowledge, and to get the education that may not have been available so far (especially through our art workshops) as well as social inclusion. Lectures and lecture cycles are organized by the University but based on the suggestions of the participants themselves. Each cycle is evaluated, and participants are asked for suggestions on how to improve the programme and examples of topics they want to learn more about. Participants pay symbolic enrolment fees for the spring and autumn Lectures Cycle. The short-term lectures on different topics, offered between cycles, are free of charge. In the past there was an advisory board (consisting of long-time interested participants) who influenced the outline of the program with their ideas. Also, the long-time participants usually volunteer with the administration and technical parts of the program.

Practice 6: Step Ri Education Centre

Case study provided by: Boris Golob, CEO, Step Ri

The Step Ri Science and Technology Park of the University of Rijeka was established in 2008 by the University of Rijeka in order to become the premier science and technology hub, facilitating the commercialization of Research and Development and to foster cooperation between the scientific community and industry. Step Ri Education Centre is the overarching name for all Step Ri’s activities dealing with improving entrepreneurial and managerial competences of existing and wannabe entrepreneurs, targeting various groups like students, scientists, unemployed, managers and employees already working in companies. Lecturers are supposed to deliver state of the art and up to date knowledge with clear focus on practical application within Croatian “doing business” conditions. The core idea of Step Ri’s informal education was to enable lifelong education without the usual barriers, focused on knowledge, skills and competences and not on participants acquiring certifications and degrees. Overall, over the last five years, Step Ri organized 198 events – entrepreneurship and innovation related training and seminars with a total of 3,513 participants. The lecturers were senior consultants from Step Ri staff but also external consultants, scientists and businesspersons that had “some valuable knowledge and information to share”. All trainings and lecturers are evaluated by participants and future activities are planned based on the feedback of the participants. Step Ri Education Centre activities are important for overall Step Ri’s performance – it is important to establish a “buzz and fuzz” environment where things happen and people meet and exchange ideas, knowledge, network, etc.

Practice 7: Work Placements in Culture

Case study provided by: Sarah Czerny, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Cultural Studies

Work Placements in Culture is an elective course for undergraduate and postgraduate students offered by the Department of Cultural Studies, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. It can be taken by all year groups and by all students at all faculties at the University of Rijeka. Students undertake 86 hours of practice at a cultural institution in Rijeka. They have a mentor at these institutions, who guides them through the work placement and teaches them about various aspects of the work they are doing. There are four courses, Work Placements in Culture 1 – 4. Some students start a project at an institution and one semester is not enough for them to finish it. Since there are four courses, it means that students can continually follow the same project for two academic years if they want. At the end of the work placement, students must write a diary of the activities they have done, as well as a short seminar. The question they are expected to answer in the seminar is “how has your work placement in culture been helpful/not helpful to you?” This is with the aim of preparing an answer to a similar question they might be asked in a future job interview (whilst the experience is still fresh in their minds).


The cultural institutions where students can do their practice includes theatres, museums, NGO’s, libraries, art galleries, internet news portals and different departments at Rijeka 2020, the company that is preparing Rijeka for being the host for the European Capital of Culture in 2020. Rijeka 2020 is a partner in the running of this course and has helped set up the relations with the cultural institutions in the city of Rijeka. Activities that students carry out are wide-ranging and diverse, such as writing bids for EU projects, organizing music concerts, working as photographer’s assistants at theatres, helping to arrange art exhibitions, working as journalists for cultural events on the local television and radio, or writing articles for the city library magazine. The community benefits from this practice since it means the institutions where the work placement is carried out have a cohort of young people coming to work with them. It means that these institutions have more pairs of hands to help them in their daily work, and it is much more than this. Institutions often request students with a particular skill set, such as students from the Department of Education Science because they would like students’ expert input on a number of their projects. For instance, a museum might be developing a new program aimed at young people and children and want students from the Department of Education Science to help them develop it.

Practice 8: Students as Travelling Scientists

Case study provided by: Marko Rubinić, student, University of Rijeka, Department of Biotechnology

Travelling Scientists is a project of the Biotechnology Students Association of the University of Rijeka which aims at popularising science among younger pupils and preschool children. The project is performed by carrying out interactive workshops and experiments in elementary schools and kindergartens of the Primorje-Gorski kotar County. Encouraged by the fact that there is not enough practical work and experiments in elementary schools, the experiments are designed to capture the most important basic concepts in biology, chemistry and physics. Workshops are conducted by student volunteers of the Department of Biotechnology, previously instructed on aspects of young children education (pedagogical methods, conducting experiments). The project has been carried out for five years with constant positive feedback, from the side of pupils and children as well as teachers and student volunteers. Partners and other community collaborators on a regular basis invite the project participants to organize multiple events for children at public fairs, in schools, kindergartens etc.

Practice 9: BALTAZAR – Science Popularisation Radio Show

Case study provided by: Rajka Jurdana Šepić, Full professor, University of Rijeka, Department of Physics

Professors of physics and mathematics (recently also chemistry) from the UniRi and academics/researchers/scientists who are members of the Association Zlatni rez realize a weekly popular science show Baltazar in the official program of the Croatian Radio and Television – Radio Rijeka (the first one was broadcast on September 1, 2009). The show explains interesting facts from the world and history of science and briefly, and scientifically correct, explains the scientific principles of phenomena and devices from everyday life. The shows are on the programme of Radio Rijeka on Sundays at 9.30 am, lasting up to 5 minutes. About 40 shows are broadcast annually (because they are not broadcast in the summer program schedule). The initiator and editor of the show is Rajka Jurdana-Šepić. The show is very popular, has a wide coverage, and after the broadcast it remains available to the listeners via its website.

The shows aim at natural and mathematical literacy and scientific culture of the general population, especially children and youth, increase the interest of young people and the public in science and mathematics, demystify myths about natural sciences and mathematics being incomprehensible, difficult and unrelated to reality, inform the public about Croatian scientists with significant contributions in the fields of science and mathematics. The project directly contributes to the development of awareness of nature conservation and environmental protection and animal protection. The users are listeners of Radio Rijeka. Over the past ten years, production was launched and in cooperation with the Association Zlatni rez and HR Radio Rijeka, 10 CDs of Baltazar were released, each with 20 shows. Each of the 10 CDs was donated to all primary schools in Primorje-Gorski kotar county, with the aim of using them in science and mathematics teaching, i.e. availability in the school library. Physics students from the University of Rijeka also participate in the design of the shows as co-authors or authors. Radio Rijeka provides the studio and the technician. In addition to the UniRi academics, the biology teachers from the Natural History Museum also participate in co-authoring the shows. The project runs on a voluntary base of all engaged.

Practice 10: The UNIRi Rector’s Award for the Best Student Volunteer and Rector’s Award for the Best Student Activist Project/Engagement

Case study provided by: Snježana Prijić Samaržija, UNIRi rector

Each academic year, since 2010/2011, the Rector of the University of Rijeka awards students who have distinguished themselves through their volunteer work, as well as those who have been actively involved in the work of student associations/organizations. The Rector’s awards, which are awarded on the basis of a competition, consist of an award and a one-off cash amount of HRK 1,000.00. Each university constituent can appoint two students for the awards and there is a mixed committee (academic staff, students and community representatives) that works on the selection. The aim of the award is to raise awareness of the value and importance of volunteering and students’ engagement in general, particularly activism, and to encourage students to become more engaged in volunteering. Each year the awards are given to two students who have particularly distinguished themselves in volunteering engagement in the community (The UNIRi Rector’s Award for the Best Student Volunteer) and in the work of student associations / organizations (The UNIRi Rector’s Award for the Best Student Activist Project/Engagement) during the previous academic year.

Practice 11. Campus sightseeing (Razgled(nica))

Case study provided by: Kristina Tolić, Student Cultural Centre (SKC) and Rajka Jurdana Šepić, Department of Physics

Activities on the university Campus are reduced to isolated, individual activities on Constituents. The University is a community that is trying to build its identity through cultural content, which is connecting its population in their free time.
The population of the university Campus is made up of professors, associates and students, as well as the entire community within which it is located (local neighbourhoods). All of the population needs to interact with each other through the formation of social gatherings and meetings thus exchange of knowledge, community involvement, connecting with the campus, and neighborhood cooperation are the goals of the practice Kampus sightseeing (Razgled(nica)).
Through this practice all citizens get the opportunity to learn about the space and work of the university Campus Constituents. Guided tours through university Campus Constituents are a way to bring closer happenings on the Campus, to the local community and also a way that involves them in the implementation of joint projects.

Practice 12. Campus Creative Team

Case study provided by: Kristina Tolić, Student Cultural Centre (SKC) and Rajka Jurdana Šepić, Department of Physics

Within the European Capital of Culture Rijeka 2020 program, there are 27 flagship neighbourhoods and one of those 27 neighbourhoods is the University Campus! The Campus Neighbourhood (UNIRI) is a unique example of programmes which promote and advance the contemporary culture of the campus. The proposed activities of Campus Neighbourhood’s programme focus on topics such as the exchange of knowledge, community involvement, and also different departments of the University are being connected through specially designed programs, as are the Campus Neighbourhood with its neighbouring communities of Trsat, Vojak, Gornja Vežica, KBC Rijeka – Sušak. The connecting is also happening through the cooperation with other 26 neighbourhoods in the context of specific knowledge and support for the development of various topics in the scientific research segment. Considering that Trieste will be the European Capital of Science in 2020, a collaboration between the University of Rijeka and University of Trieste is also created and the exchange of knowledge is encouraged. In order to develop and execute The Campus Neighbourhood program and activities, in 2017 the University of Rijeka set up an informal broader working group called the Campus Creative Team (KKT). A large number of university professors from Rijeka, experts, assistants and students became members of this team (KKT). The Rector decided to create the operative team – ECOC2020 Campus Creative Team Executive Board (IO KKT). The appointed members of the IO KKT (Prof. Rajka Jurdana Šepić, Ph. D., Department of Physics, President of the Executive Board; Prof. Sandra Kraljević Pavelić, Ph. D., Department of Biotechnology; Prof. Nana Palinić, Ph. D., Faculty of Civil Engineering; Ana Ajduković, Program Associate, The University of Rijeka Kristina Tolić, Program Associate, 27 Neighbourhood Projects Administrator, Student Cultural Centre) organizes competitions for the Campus Neighbourhood Programs, monitors, coordinates the proposed ideas, projects and programmes that have been implemented in the following three years (2018-2020) in cooperation with the University, EPC 2020 and citizens. Currently there are 28 projects (activities) created by the University’s professors, students and the members of local community, NGOs etc. coordinated by the IO KKT! In addition to these 28 projects (activities), other main activities coordinated by the IO KKT are: “Campus sightseeing (Razgled(nica))”; “Magical day – cooperation with kindergarten”; “European Neighbours’ Day: Greetings from … – sending postcards”; “Instalment of the metal panels for outdoor exhibitions”; “Horticultural artistic intervention “I’m not a robot” by the artist Darko Fritz”.

Practice 13. European Neighbours Day

Case study provided by: Kristina Tolić, Student Cultural Centre (SKC) and Rajka Jurdana Šepić, Department of Physics

European Neighbours’ Day was launched in 1999 in Paris. The initiative was then created in 2005 by the European Federation of Local Solidarity (NGO based in Paris) and since then it continued to expand and is marked by 1450 partner cities (more than 30 million participants) every year at the end of May.
The aim of the initiative is, namely, to foster community cohesion, the spirit of solidarity, social ties, and mutual assistance among citizens, while promoting good relationships between neighbours, and intercultural dialogue in urban areas.
Throughout Europe, the day features various activities enriched by the local culture and creates networks for neighbourly and community practices. It is up to the community to choose which means of communication are they are going to use.
In order to reduce the consequences of quick living for at least one day and shift focus on the solidarity and adaptability of our neighbours, The Campus Neighbourhood chose to mark this day by sending specially designed postcards to various addresses all over Europe (different institutions and partners in European cities)!

Practice 14. Exhibition Panels

Case study provided by: Kristina Tolić, Student Cultural Centre (SKC) and Rajka Jurdana Šepić, Department of Physics

In October and November of 2017, University employees sent a list with program suggestions for Rijeka 2020 European Capital of Culture –27 flagship neighbourhoods –Campus neighbourhood.
One of the suggestions was placing panels for outdoors exhibitions on the university Campus. The goal is to permanently place 10 (two-sided) panels on the Campus for free outdoor exhibitions.
The panels would be the same size as those set in the city centre (Korzo), thus exhibitions could ‘travel’ and reach more people. There are already 3-5 exhibitions planned to be displayed on the panels.
The University greatly supports installing of panels for outdoor exhibitions, mostly by giving facility support – panels are to be set on the university Campus, but also funding and administrative support.

Practice 15. Making of the “Recommendations for Strategic Management of the Company Lokve DMK”

Case study provided by: Jelena Đurkin Badurina, Assistant Professor, Faculty of management in tourism and hospitality

During 2017 The Municipality of Lokve and Lokve Tourist Board were developing the idea of establishing a new enterprise (owned by the Municipality) for the purpose of developing the touristic offer and management of the public tourist infrastructure. Upon the development of the idea, the project of creating the Strategic Plan for developing Lokve DMK Ltd. became a part of a seminar class in the ‘Strategic management in tourism and hospitality’ course at the graduate programme of the Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality Management of the University of Rijeka. The project was conducted during the winter semester of the academic year 2017/2018 under the leadership of Assistant Professor Jelena Đurkin and supervised by Associate Professor Marko Perić. Around fifty graduate students participated in the project. Student groups were given the assignment to develop parts of strategic documents to establish a new tourist enterprise in the Lokve municipality. This was an opportunity for students to demonstrate their competencies in research, data collection and analysis, as well as interpretation and implementation of their theoretical knowledge. Through the development of the proposal for new tourist services, students also had the chance to develop creativity and get to know contemporary tourist and technological trends. The result was handed over to the municipality and the touristic Board of Lokve in the form of a Recommendations document for the strategic management of the future Lokve municipal enterprise. This project was a significant breakthrough in cooperation with the local community in the form of a knowledge and skills transfer into the real sector. The students gained an opportunity to show their knowledge through service learning, while the public sector received the groundwork for future planning of the tourist development, including a status quo analysis, examples of good practice, possible approaches to establishing a new enterprise together with proposals of innovative tourist products for long term sustainable tourism.

Practice 16. Techno-Past-Techno-Future: European Researchers’ Night (TPTF-ERN)

Case study provided by: Nikolina Ivanović, project manager, Centre for EU project

European Researchers’ Nights is a set of public events dedicated to bringing researchers closer to the public. They showcase the diversity of research and highlight the impact of research on our daily lives. The aim of the ERN is also to motivate young people to embark on research careers. The events promote the ways researchers contribute to our society by displaying their work in an interactive and engaging forum. After the success in 2018, this is the second time for UNIRI to participate in this type of action. European Researchers´ Night 2018 in Rijeka was organized in the Tower Centre Rijeka. The event was ‘designed’ to be creative and interactive so it was placed on three floors of the city shopping mall and divided into 12 research stations thus combining and balancing between entertainment and ‘education to science’ approach through researchers’ activities. In each of the activities the audience had the opportunity of a direct involvement. In 2018 there were 18 000 visitors registered at the event. In 2019 we expect even more visitors. Activities were performed by UNIRi faculties and departments (Faculty of Law, Faculty of engineering and the Centre for Micro and Nano technology, Department of Biotechnology, Department of Mathematics, Faculty of Civil Engineering) and this year (2019) Faculty of Maritime Studies, Faculty of Medicine and Department of Physics are joining the project as well. Our scientists are very happy to be involved in this project and are particularly pleased with the interaction with citizens at the main event. According to them, it is a great pleasure to see how children can enjoy the presented activities, experiments and presentations. That is exactly what the project itself aims to achieve – to enhance the interest of all citizens, and especially the youngest ones, in science and research. Project dissemination activities are also very important since they include visits to primary and secondary schools, kindergartens, participations at festivals etc. According to our scientists, they see that children enjoy ERN activities being different from their everyday (classic) methods of learning.
Besides the overall audience that participates in the main event, it is important to highlight the institutional cooperation with schools and kindergartens that are directly involved in project activities.

Practice 17. Promotion of Healthy Eating and Autochthonous Food

Case study provided by: Greta Krešić, Full Professor, Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality Management, Department of Food and Nutrition

Promotion of a healthy diet and autochthonous food was carried out through the following activities:

  • A brochure for the promotion of a healthy diet: Eat like me – How to teach children about healthy eating was published by the City of Rijeka, Department of Health and Social Welfare. The authors were: Greta Krešić, Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality Management, University of Rijeka, Kristina Dankić, City of Rijeka, Department of Health and Social Welfare and Igor Kardum, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Rijeka.
  • The aim of this brochure was to promote healthy eating habits among parents who could serve as role-models for their children. Guidelines for healthy eating for parents and for children were provided in the brochure. This brochure is useful not just for parents and their children but also for teachers since we have information that many of them use it as teaching material during education processes.

Promotion of autochthonous food from the Kvarner region was carried out thorough two workshops:

  • The workshop Pairing of autochthonous foods and wines from the Kvarner region aims to discuss and detect which autochthonous food products paired with wines of autochthonous grape varieties (Kastavska belica and Sansigot) best represent the Kvarner region.
  • Workshop: Food as souvenir aims to analyse the attributes of food souvenirs in the Kvarner region and provide some suggestions for the development of food souvenirs.

Both workshops about the promotion of autochthonous food aim at promoting the acquisition of relevant skills and competences related to employability in higher education students, through their active involvement in community learning activities. This will allow them a) to learn in context; b) to establish links with enterprises and other stakeholders in the area to which the university belongs; c) to understand the economic strengths and opportunities of the territory in relation to agro-food and food tourism; d) to reflect on their own competences, motivations, and ambitions; e) to contribute to community development and job creation.

Practice 18. Education for Tourist Guides

Case study provided by: Kristina Pandža, UNIRi, Centre for Industrial Heritage

The University of Rijeka Centre for Industrial Heritage has three main work fields – research, education and reuse. Research is the basis for all other actions that the Centre is involved with. We offer our expertise in scientific research of cultural heritage. We implement our education activities tailoring the programme and methods to various target groups such as elderly people, elementary school children, business partners, visiting students etc. In our work, we use methods of formal and informal learning.
We organise education for local tourist guides and support them in their steady education. We present local history and themes connected with the industrial heritage of Rijeka, intangible and tangible, combining it with guiding on interesting locations in the area.
In this way we support their knowledge improvement and we share our knowledge and we also support improvement of touristic offers in the City of Rijeka and development of Rijeka as a cultural tourism location.

Practice 19. Expert Guided Tours in Industrial Heritage

Case study provided by: Kristina Pandža, UNIRi, Centre for Industrial Heritage

Centre for Industrial Heritage (CIB) is a constitutional unit of the University of Rijeka, the first centre for industrial heritage and the first step towards a systematic revision of industrial heritage in Croatia.
The Centre has three main work fields – research, education and reuse. Research is the basis for all other actions that the Centre is involved with, including expert guided tours on industrial heritage locations in Rijeka.
We organise expert guided tours and custom tours for adults and educational treasure hunts for children.
Covering stories about tangible and intangible industrial heritage in Rijeka and using modern interpretation skills, we present the history of Rijeka and our identity, highlighting the importance of industrial heritage for the future development of the city of Rijeka.

Practice 20. Tourism Valorisation of Representative Monuments of Rijeka’s Industrial Heritage

Case study provided by: Kristina Pandža, UNIRi, Centre for Industrial Heritage

The integrated program Tourism Valorisation of Representative Monuments of Rijeka’s Industrial Heritage is concerned with the renovation and putting into operation the two representative monuments of Rijeka’s industrial heritage. These are the motor vessel Galeb and the Sugar Refinery Palace, a part of the former industrial block Rikard Benčić. Both monuments are protected monuments of culture of the Republic of Croatia. The program focuses on a new cultural and tourist interpretation of the city’s history and its cultural heritage. It involves the creation of a new cultural and tourist route, as well as scientific, educational and promotional activities that promote the project and raise the interest of the public in the cultural heritage.
The University of Rijeka is a partner in the project, along with the City of Rijeka and Rijeka Tourist Board. University activities include research and education on the industrial heritage of Rijeka – research, workshops for children and volunteering.
The UNIRi Centre for Industrial Heritage is to conduct a systematic research of the industrial heritage of Rijeka, particularly its movable and intangible heritage, in order to create a full picture of Rijeka’s industrial past. Consequently, it will provide a basis for initiating various ways of interpretation, simultaneously conducting research of methods of educating the general public in the context of tourist exploitation of the heritage.

Practice 21. Local History Education

Case study provided by: Kristina Pandža, UNIRi, Centre for Industrial Heritage

The University Centre for Industrial Heritage has three main work fields – research, education and reuse. Research is the basis for all other actions that the Centre is involved with.
In collaboration with local elementary and high schools, we organize local history lectures and expert guides on interesting historical sites in Rijeka.
We complement school programs of history, geography and art history by giving different approaches in education and using noninstitutionalized methods (e.g. gaming in learning). We believe that the practice of combining school program and ex cathedra teaching with learning on the spot is a great way to gain understanding of the local history and the sense of local identity.
Our programs are a combination of interesting stories, workshops or handcrafts, individual and group tasks, possibilities to talk with interesting people together with learning to behave out of schools.

Practice 22. Science Popularisation – Physics in the Media

Case study provided by: Rajka Jurdana Šepić, Full Professor, UNIRi, Department of Physics

Every academic year, the Department of Physics devotes a lot of time and energy into popularisation activities that target lay citizens, especially children and young people. Students, assistants and professors engage on a regular basis as guests on various science radio shows, as lecturers in various events, and all of them as co-authors participate in popularising physics in local radio and TV media, as well as in local newspapers. Their engagement is widely recognised and usually during one year they have a coverage of about 15-20 radio and TV shows, 20-25 articles in local newspapers that contribute largely to the popularisation of science, 15-20 workshops in collaboration with kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, 20-30 open public lectures, and many other popularising activities.

Practice 23. UNIRI Engagement in YUFE Alliance (YUFE Volunteering and Citizen Portal)

Case study provided by: Aleksandar Šušnjar, UNIRi, Centre for Quality Assurance and Enhancement

The University of Rijeka is a part of a network of universities (as a part of the European Universities Networks initiative of the European Commission) called YUFE. One of the fundamental values of YUFE is its embeddedness in local communities and this is accordingly reflected in several YUFE work packages. Indeed, one specific work package is named YUFE in our cities. The most important elements and staples of community engagement of YUFE will be the YUFE Volunteering Programme and YUFE Citizen Portal. These two elements are supposed to work as a system for matching community challenges with those who can contribute to solving them – students.
YUFE Citizen Portal will be used to streamline the input that the local community can give to higher education institutions about what are the challenges the community is facing. YUFE Help Desk will also be established to promote direct contact with citizens that would serve as a reality check on all the actions being taken as a part of this initiative. While receiving input from local communities about present challenges, YUFE will simultaneously develop its own volunteering programme which will allow students from various YUFE universities to join their efforts and participate in volunteering programmes in all YUFE cities. Their joint actions will be aimed at solving, or at least contributing to solving, the challenges which were gathered through YUFE Citizen Portal.
The European dimension of this societal engagement will consist of students from different cities and universities working on local challenges all over Europe, and not only at their home university.
Another option that will be explored within this initiative is YUFE Co-Living Scheme which should be integrated with community services provided. The intention is that YUFE students and staff who are mobile between universities live integrated in the local communities while simultaneously providing benefits (either with their own expertise or generally) to these communities. In such a system, cities would offer subsidized accommodation to groups of people who live and work with local communities facing certain challenges.

Practice 24. PROMEHS: Promoting Mental Health at

Case study provided by: Sanja Tatalović Vorkapić, Associate Professor, Faculty of Teacher Education, Educational Sciences Department

Promoting Mental Health at Schools (606689 – EPP- 1- 2018- 2- IT- EPPKA3 -PI-POLICY) is a project co-funded by the Erasmus + program under Key Activity 3, Policy Reform Support. The project started on February 15, 2019 and will last until February 14, 2022 and has been awarded a total of EUR 1,509,640.00. The main objective of this three-year scientifically grounded project is the development, implementation and evaluation of Curricula for mental health of children and young people in kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, in order to strengthen the link between research-based school programs and educational institutions, or to strengthen the link between science, practices and policies. This should be the first mental health curriculum to be jointly created by scientists, practitioners and local community representatives, as well as legislation from 20 institutions from 7 countries involved in the project. The implementation of this curriculum is expected to significantly increase the level of well-being of children and young people, and of educators and teachers, and with its positive outcomes, will be able to be implemented in the kindergartens, primary and secondary schools of the countries involved. After creating Curriculum based on the previous knowledge in the field of socio-emotional learning, resilience and mental health that will be aimed for use by children, teachers, parents and policy makers, it will be evaluated directly in schools (kindergartens, primary and secondary schools) and modified according to the research-based input from the field. After the modification, the main aim of this project is to implement the curriculum into the schools. The project manager is the University of Milan – Universita ‘Degli Studi Di Milano-Bicocca, and the project collaborators are University of Malta, University of Latvia, University of Romania, Universitatea Stefan Cel Mare Din Suceava & Ministry of Education Of Romania, Inspectoratul Scolar al Judetului Suceava, University of Greece, Panepistimio Patron, University of Portugal, Faculdade de Motricidade Humana.

In addition to the aforementioned associate countries, Croatia is also involved with three representatives: the Faculty of Teacher Education, University of Rijeka, the Department of City Administration for Education of the City of Rijeka, and the Administrative Department for Education of Primorje-Gorski kotar County. This is the first ERASMUS K3 project at the University of Rijeka, and it is grounded on the collaboration between academics, practitioners and policy makers. Also, it is the type of Erasmus project that enables opening new working positions at the University of Rijeka, particularly the Faculty of Teacher Education. The Faculty of Teacher Education includes: Associate Professor PhD Sanja Tatalović Vorkapić, Full Professor PhD Lidija Vujičić and Akvilina Čamber Tambolaš, assistant and Tanja Đoić, project assistant (hired for the duration time of the project). The Administrative Department for Education of the County of Primorje-Gorski kotar was also delegated by Associate Professor PhD Sanja Tatalović Vorkapić as a project representative. From the Department of City Administration for Education of the City of Rijeka, Lana Golob, Program Advisor, is participating in the project.

Practice 25. Children’s Well-Being in Transition Periods

Case study provided by: Sanja Tatalović Vorkapić, Associate Professor, Faculty of Teacher Education, Educational Sciences Department

“Children’s well-being in transition periods: the empirical validation of ecological-dynamic model”, is a three-year scientific UNIRi project financed by the University of Rijeka. Transition is defined as an intense process of change and movement from one identity to another, determined by the various factors described in the contemporary ecological-dynamic transition model (Rimm-Kaufman & Pianta, 2000). Within transition, the various contexts in which and through which the child passes, and their interrelations over time, are crucial. So, the purpose of this project is to empirically test this model and to analyse significant correlates of transition from family to kindergarten, as well as of transition from kindergarten to primary school. This research will provide clear guidelines for ensuring the highest levels of children’s well-being during transition for children, parents, teachers and associates.

On the representative samples of early aged children (transition from family to kindergarten) and preschool children (transition from kindergarten to primary school), the following variables will be explored:

  1. intrapersonal factors of children (temperament, socio-emotional well-being, strength and difficulties, resilience), parents/caregivers (personality, sensitivity, subjective well-being, resilience) and teachers (personality, subjective well-being, resilience);
  2. and the interpersonal factors of child-parents-teachers-environment (attachment, adaptation, relationship with parents/teachers, teaching strategies, relationship between family-kindergarten-school-local community-environment, social values).

The quantitative methodology will be applied with reliable measures that will objectively present the perspective of children, parents, teachers and associates. This analysis will contribute to realization of short-term project goals by validating the theoretical model and postulating the practical guidelines for achieving optimal transition in the early and preschool period, as well as to realization of long-term goals by preventing the mental health problems among children with the aim of enhancing their lifelong psychological well-being. This scientific analysis, the first in Croatia, will enable us to define significant correlates of the transition from family to kindergarten, and from kindergarten to primary school. This will create scientific and practical implications for ensuring the highest level of well-being and support for children, parents and educators / teachers during the transition period. Two significant implications for practice and professional development: based on the significant predictors identified, it is expected to be able to provide guidance to support parents and teachers during the adjustment of children in kindergarten / school. It will also be possible to create the structure of a lifelong learning program for the purpose of acquiring the necessary competences of educators, teachers and professional assistants in supporting children in transition. In this regard, the project will organize formal (professional meeting in cooperation with the Agency for Education) and informal (interactive lectures in the framework of events such as the River of Psychology, i.e. Rijeka Psihologije) forms of cooperation with educators, teachers and professional associates. From the University of Rijeka, Faculty of Teacher Education, two professors are participating: Associate Professor, PhD. Dunja Anđić and Vesna Katić, higher lecturer. From the practice field, Ivana Pauletić, early childhood educator (Kindergarten „Matulji“, Matulji, Croatia) is working on this project. In addition, from Croatia, Doris Velan, (working at the University of Pula), doctoral student at the Department of Pedagogy, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Rijeka is participating in this project.

International partners in this project are:

  • Serbia: Associate Professor, PhD. Ivana Mihić (University of Novi Sad)
  • Slovenia: Assistant Professor, PhD. Marcela Batistič Zorec (University of Ljubljana)
  • Italy: PhD. Valeria Cavioni, psychotherapist (University of Milano)

SAD: Associate Professor, PhD. Jennifer LoCasale-Crouch (University of Virginia).

Practice 26. Support for Socio-Emotional Well-Being of Children During Transition and Adaptation

Case study provided by: Sanja Tatalović Vorkapić, Associate Professor, Faculty of Teacher Education, Educational Sciences Department

“How to go to kindergarten and primary school tear-free? – Support for socio-emotional well-being of children during transition and adaptation”, is a two-year project within 27 NEIGHBOURHOODS PROJECT based on the collaboration between the University of Rijeka and the City of Rijeka – European Capital of the Culture 2020. The early and pre-school period is a very dynamic and intense period in the development of children, given the significant number of changes that occur. Particularly significant is the socio-emotional development of children in which skills are developed that enable children to succeed in kindergarten, school and life in general, and relate to the ability to recognize and understand others’ feelings and emotional states, to manage strong feelings and the ways in which they express them, developing empathy and establishing and maintaining relationships, and developing attachment. Transition periods and the way in which children are adjusted during these periods are a challenge for the beginnings of socio-emotional development, with the role of adults (parents, families), and educators (educators, teachers, professional assistants) of utmost importance. In other words, when confronted with a new and unfamiliar situation, it is precisely the support of parents and caregivers that is crucial to ensuring the socio-emotional well-being of children in transition. Therefore, the goal of this project is to bring professional support to parents and children who have passed, who have passed and who are about to undergo a transition and adjustment period in kindergarten and primary school. At the same time, based on modern scientific and practical knowledge, the aim of the project is to strengthen the existing competences of teachers in working with children during transitions and adaptations, given that there are no similar professional development programs in our country. To this end, it is planned to hold lectures with workshops in each year (2019 and 2020) for teachers, parents and children. Through planned meetings with primary school teachers / kindergarten teachers, efforts will be made to convey contemporary insights into the well-being of early and pre-school children, with an emphasis on socio-emotional well-being and resilience, the specifics of transition and adjustment, the importance of early attachment development, and how to provide adequate support to the child during transition and adjustment. Through meeting with parents, the emphasis will be on supporting the challenges of contemporary parenting and parenting skills, highlighting the importance of parents ‘sensitivity to their children’s needs, sharing parents’ experiences during transition and adapting their children, and strategies for coping with stressful situations. Through encounters with children, activities will be carried out that underpin the socio-emotional development of children, with particular emphasis on new and unfamiliar situations (play, musical-visual, i.e. creative-creative games, etc.). Workshops with children are also planned prior to starting elementary school within the Preschool in DV Đurđice.

Associate partners in the project: DV Đurđice (Jasna Crnčić, director and Radmila Bajić, pedagogist) and Primary School Trsat (Sonja Lefler, director).

Collaborators on the project from the Faculty of Teacher Education: Associate professor PhD Mirna Marić, Ph.D. Anita Rončević, Senior Lecturer, and Vesna Katić, Senior Lecturer.

Practice 27. Science Popularisation – Elective Course

Case study provided by: Rajka Jurdana Šepić, Full Professor, UNIRI, Physics

Science popularisation is an elective course at the graduate study programmes of Physics department at UNIRi. The course has been running since the academic year 2010/2011. It is a 2 ECTS points course and is set up as a hybrid course, with a minimum of direct teaching and with a dynamic online platform for students – literature, forums for discussion, uploading coursework and practice in divulgation activities (Science festival, various science workshops activities for pupils etc.).
Community members/organisations/institutions are primarily a beneficiary of this particular practice. The feedback is quite positive and students, particularly of educational graduate study programmes, get the additional experience in working with schools and pupils.

Practice 28. 3, 4, LEARN NOW – Empowering Students for Successful Learning, Critical Thinking and Emotional Development

Case study provided by: Maja Opašić, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Teacher Education

The Project 3, 4, LEARN NOW has been created as an answer to the needs of the students so they could be able to achieve success in learning, to practice critical thinking and to develop emotional skills. The main goals of the project are:

  • To include up to 15 pupils from 4th to 8th grade of primary schools in the city of Rijeka, per week, in workshops such as “How to develop a strategy of successful learning, critical thinking and emotional growth
  • To encourage pupils for the learning on its own and how to take responsibility for their success in school

Other goals of the project are:

  • To create a model of strategy for developing successful learning, critical thinking skills and emotional growing for pupils and students
  • To include up to 10 students from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science and from the Faculty of Teacher Education of University of Rijeka so they could contribute in creating a new strategy and to be engaged in the implementation of the workshops with pupils.

The project started in February 2019 and will last until the end of 2020. The partners in the project are the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science and the Faculty of Teacher Education of University of Rijeka. Throughout the project, students from these two Faculties will have an opportunity to be engaged in our community as volunteers or through service learning. They can achieve that through some of the courses and get the accreditation for their engagement. That way students have a great opportunity to be involved in the work with pupils as well as acquire new skills, knowledge and experience which are very important for their future jobs in educational institutions. Our partners in the project have an important role and they are providing the location for the implementation of workshops as well as contributing to the promotion of the project.

Practice 29. Diversity Mixer

Case study provided by: Sanja Bojanić, Assistant Professor, University of Rijeka Academy of Applied Art

Diversity mixer – policies and practices in cultural and creative industries – is a project that focuses on diversity within the economic sector of cultural and creative industries (CCI). The project is financed through the Program on rights, equality and citizenship of the European Union (2014-2020) and is being implemented in the period of two years (fall 2018 – fall 2020). It is conducted jointly by RIJEKA 2020 d.o.o. and the Academy of Applied Arts of the University of Rijeka, in cooperation with the Croatian Business Council for Sustainable Development as partners. The overall program of RIJEKA 2020 – European Capital of Culture is taking place under the heading “Port of Diversity”. The moto depicts Rijeka as a port city with a rich, multicultural and multi confessional history, weaving today’s colourful and patchwork tapestry of communities, cultures and subcultures, held together in a city whose main characteristic is its radical openness. In the programmatic and organisational sense, RIJEKA 2020 is dedicated to preserving and promoting this very openness and diversity – through its organisational structure and its socio-cultural program. With its program, Diversity mixer, RIJEKA 2020, along with its strategic partner, the Academy of Applied Arts of the University of Rijeka, seeks to further embed this diversity and openness in the relevant field: creative and cultural industries. This is conducted by examining the existing policies and practices, as well as suggesting new ones, which will allow diversity to take further root in the workplace, through both the employment structure and the content produced. The CCI sector is one in which the principle of diversity must be built in every aspect of the organisation process as well as the final product, whether good, service or entertainment provided. Therefore, it is important to pay special attention to the implementation of diversity in the sector’s development. The project aims to explore the existing practices of diversity management in the public and private sector of cultural and creative industries, on the level of the county all the way up to Europe, identifying transferable examples of these models. Policies and principles of managing diversity are based on the collected best practices and estimated needs of the organisations in the CCI sector. Particular focus is given to the adaptation of practices (including possible differences in implementation measures between the public and private sector) and inter-sector measures. In order to ensure the implementation of policies and practices of diversity in CCI, the second portion of the project will conduct activities for building capacities for the administrations and employees of organisations and companies. The emphasis is also placed on disseminating the results and raising awareness of the utility of diversity management, with particular focus on CCI. Ultimately, these activities should result in the increase of organisations from both the public and private sector within CCI, connected to the Croatian “Diversity Charter”.

Practice 30. European Bioethics in Action – EuroBioAct

Case study provided by: Robert Doričić, PhD, Faculty of Medicine

The European Bioethics in Action project represents an innovative way of applying theoretical knowledge and intellectual platform to existing issues in local communities, the economy and environmental risks. The significance of the project lies in the fact that the research group was one of the first in the world to recognise the importance of Fritz Jahr’s work in deepening and spreading out the bioethical thought. Three local self-government units in the northern Adriatic region have been chosen as pilot communities for the implementation of project activities which, based on Jahr’s bioethical imperative, are directed at the attitudes of people towards their health, animals, plants and the entire ecosystem. The abovementioned communities represent models for compiling a list of bioethical standards. The Town of Bakar, the Municipality of Kršan, and the Town of Mali Lošinj are examples of vulnerable communities in the northern Adriatic. Bakar and Kršan are environmentally very sensitive areas: Bakar because it was exposed for many years to the effects of a coke plant, which is today closed, and Kršan due to the presence of a thermal power plant. On the other hand, Mali Lošinj is an example of a vulnerable community which, due to its well-preserved ecosystem and specific climate, represents an important ‘island pocket’ in the northern Adriatic. The general goal of the project is to prove that the theoretical and methodological approach of ‘European bioethics’, i.e. integrative bioethics, can result in a platform for solving practical problems in preserving and improving the environment. Consequently, this method of solving problems in a community can have a positive impact on the development of the economy and the promotion of tourism.

First phase: Deepening the theoretical basis. In the first project phase, a comparative analytical research method was used, which was applied in the analysis of archive material and literature, primarily on the life and work of Fritz Jahr. Second phase: Analysis of the situation in local communities. In the second project phase, an analysis of the situation in local communities was conducted in order to determine the specific geographical, ecological, economic and social features of the local communities included in the project. Third phase: Workshops. In the third project phase, workshops were organised with experts in individual areas related to the categories of the standards list in order to discuss the collected data (plants, animals, people and the environment, and public health parameters). Fourth phase: Creation of a bioethical standards list. In the fourth phase of the project, a list of specific ‘bioethical standards’ was created, which is divided into three sections related to animals, plants, and people and the environment.

Practice 31. Good Night Storytelling Programme

Case study provided by: Maja Opašić, Assistant Professor, The Faculty of Teacher Education, and NGO “Portić”

The program has been implemented continuously since 2009 at the Clinic for Pediatrics, Clinical Hospital Centre Rijeka. Every evening, regardless of whether it is a working or non-working day, for 10 months (January – June, September – December), volunteers visit hospitalized children to read and tell them stories and interact in similar activities. Telling and reading stories has a therapeutic effect and can help the child accept their situation, unpleasant experience or feeling on a deeper level, without the need to understand what is important for seriously ill children, who should be offered the opportunity and ways to accept their current condition. In a hospitalization situation, especially a long one, telling carefully selected stories and fairy tales helps children to release emotions repressed and / or unaccepted in everyday life, especially in the conditions of their hospitalization. In addition, problem picture books help solve smaller problems because by listening to and watching situations in which imaginary heroes have managed to overcome life’s problems, children learn how to deal with their own problems.

The “Goodnight Storyteller” program is one of the forms of variance from the standard hospital treatment in which children are active collaborators in their treatment. Namely, children, according to their own choice, wishes and needs, choose whether they want to spend time with their aunt or uncle the storyteller, how they will spend it, i.e. with which stories and activities.

The goals of the program are to empower the hospitalized child using creative techniques (stories) and to shift the focus from the disease to the story and the game, thus reducing the negative effects of hospitalization; to contribute to a sense of community and family support from the community; increasing the contribution of the volunteer share as a new force in the community that can improve the quality of life of its members. This is where the benefits that the community receives from this program can be seen.

Volunteers in the program are citizens of different ages and professions, but for the most part they are students, mostly students of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and Faculty of Teacher Education, who in such direct work with children gain experience and develop competencies needed for future work in educational institutions. Students can also earn ECTS credits. Each volunteer must complete a three-day seminar during which they are introduced to all important aspects of volunteering in the program. An important role in the organization of the seminar is played by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and Faculty of Teacher Education, since they provide space for the seminar and participate in the promotion of the seminar for new volunteers.

Practice 32. Public Health Course – Dental Medicine Study Programme

Case study provided by: Gordana Šimunković, Assistant, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Social Medicine and Epidemiology

The Public Health Course is the obligatory course of the 4th year of integrated undergraduate and graduate university study of Dental Medicine, which lasts for 5 years. This course is placed into the 7th semester and it consists of 15 hours of lectures and 15 hours of exercise, so in total of 30 hours (1 ECTS point). The main aim of the course is to adopt the basics, knowledge and skills, in the field of public health. The most important part is the training the students to be able to identify health needs and to estimate health conditions as well as they can be able to create public health policies, manage public health interventions and evaluate the quality of public health protection.

As a part of Exercise 1, through the programme named Promotion of oral health of children and youth in Primorje-Gorski kotar County, we are cooperating with the Institute of Public Health. Our students, with their mentors, are going to the preschool institutions of the City of Rijeka and there they are implementing some activities through the workshops, such as education for children on how to take care of their teeth and keep them healthy. Before students start with the workshops, they need to be introduced with the main program.

At the annual level, 30 students in total go to the pre-school institutions. It is the process of developing skills for the students and also, the process of learning for the children. In accordance with all this, the benefit for the Faculty of Medicine is connected with the development of the competences of the students: (I) to recognize a dental health indicators, (II) to distinguish needs and priorities, (III) to connect needs and interventions, (IV) to analyse the environment, and (V) to identify key stakeholders and the main elements of the health promotion.

Practice 33. Volunteers Network of the University of Rijeka

Case study provided by: Marko-Luka Zubčić, Expert associate, Center for Advanced Studies – South East

Volunteers Network (VN) aims at systemising the documents for the volunteering activities organized by University of Rijeka and at communicating a variety of volunteering possibilities (provided both by the University and by external parties) to students.

Its main activities are: 1) collecting and communicating the volunteering possibilities to students via Facebook page and mailing list, 2) documenting volunteering activities organized by University of Rijeka. Its target group are students.

The University benefits from VN through the development of a culture of practice-based and community-based learning, which develops a variety of skills and capacities of its students. Community benefits through the engagement of students in a variety of tasks valuable to the community.

Practice 34. Student Cultural Center (SKC)

Case study provided by: Jana Ažić, Head of Student Cultural Centre, University of Rijeka 

The Student Cultural Centre was established in 2013/2014 as an integral part of the University of Rijeka. The strategic activity of the Centre is increasing the visibility of the University of Rijeka, especially in the field of student standards in culture. An increase of visibility has been accomplished through qualitative and quantitative empowerment of students’ cultural productions for both students and wider community. Through financing student projects for students, as well as for the broader community, the Centre assures community integration and development. In cooperation with NGO Distone, the Centre produces and organizes Impulse Music Festival which includes activities such as: workshops, public forums, concerts for the wider community, etc. Moreover, in cooperation with another NGO called Filmakativ, the Centre organizes The Student International Film Festival. STIFF is dedicated to student and debutante films from all over the world and their connection to the broader audience since it is held in the local Art-kino Rijeka. The Centre organizes the Review of the Academies of Dramatic Art together with the Academy of Applied Arts. Students from various acting academies (from Croatia, but the neighbouring countries, as well) perform for a wider audience. Through SKC Gallery, the Centre gives an opportunity for students to present/exhibit their artworks to a wider audience. Often there are collaborations with the City of Rijeka, different community stakeholders, the Croatian National Theatre Ivan pl. Zajc, and as of lately with The Agency RIJEKA 2020-European Capital of Culture. The main goals of the Centre are financing cultural projects for students as well as the production of student projects and raising the cultural standard and offer of the city. The target groups are students, professors and the staff of the University of Rijeka and the citizens of the city of Rijeka. These practices bring the University the benefit of collaboration with the community, as well as visibility. Furthermore, it also increases the student standard and cultural production in the community.

Practice 35. Step Ri BootcampIT

Case study provided by: Boris Golob, CEO, Step Ri, University of Rijeka

The Step Ri Science and Technology Park of the University of Rijeka was established in 2008 by the University of Rijeka in order to become the premier science and technology hub, facilitating the commercialization of Research and Development and to foster cooperation between the scientific community and industry.

Step Ri also supports the internationalization and cooperation of Croatian and foreign companies/scientific institutions. During soft landing support of foreign companies while establishing their operations in Croatia/Rijeka, a huge lack of employable junior developers for the IT industry was identified.

In order to improve the attractiveness of the Rijeka region for tech/ICT companies, Step Ri envisioned BootcampIT – a three-month program for transformation of unemployed individuals with solid knowledge of English and Mathematics to junior IT developers.

BootcampIT is kind of a lifelong learning program where interested companies actively participate and are in close contact with participants. Participants learn basic programming logic and languages for two months and during the third month work in teams on real-life project assignments from one company, guided by mentors from another company.

The first generation was funded by the US embassy in Zagreb, the second and third generations were funded by EU funds.

Results: a total of 60 participants selected, over 65% employment rate within six months after the course, very often by the mentoring companies.

Practice 36. Step Ri Playpark – Incubation & Coworking

Case study provided by: Boris Golob, CEO, Step Ri, University of Rijeka

The Step Ri Science and Technology Park of the University of Rijeka was established in 2008 by the University of Rijeka in order to become the premier science and technology hub, facilitating the commercialization of Research and Development and to foster cooperation between the scientific community and industry. Step Ri Playpark six-month program for incubation and development of early stage entrepreneurial ideas. The programme consists of a series of workshops during the first two months followed by 1-on-1 mentorship with professional mentors. Participants also get 24/7 access to co-working space at Step Ri premises (at the UNIRi campus). The programme is free and open to everyone, it is not exclusive to students and UNIRi employees, and the participants are selected after an open call. The direct aim is to support individuals and teams with innovative entrepreneurial ideas, helping them to better formulate, test and implement ideas in practice. Participants learn in practice about the mainstream and state-of-the-art entrepreneurial concepts, thus improving their capabilities, competences and increasing their overall employability, regardless of the outcome of their idea that was incubated. Since an important part of the work is in groups with extensive exchange of experience and lessons learnt, networking and cooperation between teams occur, too. For some teams co-working space was the ideal initial step when starting their business.

The playpark was created during implementation of the Central Europe Interreg project but will be continued in the future, now in cooperation with the corporate sector – INA. Until now, three cohorts (a total of 32 teams/start-ups) have finished the Playpark incubation program, and the fourth will start in October 2019 in cooperation with the largest Croatian company INA (oil industry).

Practice 37. Student Health Care – University of Rijeka and the Teaching Institute of Public Health Partnership

Case study provided by: Nataša Dragaš Zubalj, Head of the Department of School and University Medicine, Teaching Institute of Public Health in Primorje-Gorski kotar County

Students’ health care is anchored in a long-term partnership between the University of Rijeka and the Department of School and University Medicine within the Teaching Institute of Public Health in Primorje-Gorski kotar County. The health care of university students in Croatia includes the care of a selected general practitioner, a relevant school/university doctor, a dentist, and for female students a gynaecologist as well.

The Department of School and University Medicine within the Teaching Institute of Public Health is responsible for the preventive and educational part of health care at higher education institutions, which is a unique case worldwide. The Department consists of a school/university doctor who specializes in adolescent medicine and a nurse. Both members of this specialized team receive continuous training. In addition to conducting planned general medical examinations, school/university medicine also carries out additional examinations related to physical health, vaccinations, health education and counselling. School/university doctors have an especially important role in the work of the Office for Students with Disabilities of the University Counselling Centre in Rijeka (SD Office). The SD Office offers various types of support for students with disabilities who need help to successfully complete their study programmes. According to the University of Rijeka Protocol on Care and Monitoring of Students with Disabilities and Chronic Illnesses (2017), the school doctor also determines the psychophysical conditions of students and their needs for special academic adjustments and support. The purpose of the Protocol was to establish a model of good practice which would enable students with health problems, chronic illnesses and/or disabilities to have equal access to higher education. The Office for Students with Disabilities and the Department of School and University Medicine of the Teaching Institute of Public Health participated in the preparation of the document. The cooperation of the University and the Institute intensified in turn, and all for the benefit of the students at University of Rijeka. In the event that students need special academic support during their studies or to suspend their studies due to illness, students visit a school/university doctor responsible for their Faculty or Department. The doctor then examines the student and takes into account all the circumstances of the specific student request and confirms or denies it. The academic adjustments cannot lead to a reduction in student competences or academic achievements or jeopardize their health. This Protocol is particularly relevant in cases of specific health problems when there is a need to further consider all the circumstances of the student request. In those cases, the SD Office organizes a committee consisting of a representative of the Faculty/Department, the coordinator for students with disabilities with the Faculty/Department, the representative of the SD Office and the school/university doctor. Furthermore, with the intention to comply with this kind of specific and student-oriented health care, the University of Rijeka opened a campus clinic in 2019.

Practice 38. Interpretation Centre “Dr. Andrija Mohorovičić” in Volosko

Case study provided by: Rajka Jurdana Šepić, Full Professor, University of Rijeka, Department of Physics

The preliminary museological design for the Interpretation Centre ‘Dr. Andrija Mohorovičić’ was requested by the City of Opatija. It is set to be located in the Liburnia House and aims to present to the public valuable content related to the life and work of the ‘father of modern seismology’, Dr. Andrija Mohorovičić. The main idea behind the project is the collaboration between tourism, scientific and cultural entities, organizations and associations, and children and young people, visitors, tourists, and bystanders, immersed in the context of historically interesting facts about Volosko and Volosko-born scientist Andrija Mohorovičić (born there in 1857). Using digital technologies and interactive installation, the Interpretation Centre project innovatively approaches museum and cultural activities with the aim of engaging users, creating new forms of collaboration and creativity, with its main goal of popularizing science and culture through life and work of a world-renowned scientist, Dr. Andrija Mohorovičić. A multidisciplinary team of experts of different profiles (physicists, professors, artists, designers, architects) combined their knowledge and skills in a unique mission to create a space that will, in an experiential way, familiarize the visitor with the interactive interpretation of life and scientific work of Dr. Andrija Mohorovičić. Following the invitation issued by the City of Opatija, associates participating in the project are Assist. Prof. Darija Žmak Kunić, Ph.D., UNIRI Academy of Applied Arts, “Srce za Volosko” Association, Prof. Rajka Jurdana-Šepić, Ph.D., UNIRI Department of Physics, and the “Zlatni Rez” Association. A written proposal for the preliminary museological design was created (first phase launched in August 2019).

Practice 39. Students & Community: Community-Based Teaching and Learning

Case study provided by: Bojana Ćulum Ilić, Associate Professor, UNIRi, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Students & Community is an elective course at the university level (at UNIRi known as communis course), meaning that every undergraduate and graduate level student can enrol. The course runs every semester since the academic year 2015/2016. The course was introduced as part of the University of Zagreb and University of Rijeka joint hosting of the European Universities Games in 2016 (EUG). The course was developed in collaboration with the University of Rijeka EUG organising committee and with the support of the vice-rector for teaching and student affairs at the time. This 3 ECTS points course serves as a platform for students who are engaging in various community-based projects. The course is set up as a hybrid course, with a minimum of direct teaching and with a dynamic online platform for students – literature, videos, animations, forums for discussion, uploading coursework. Students are responsible for finding their own placement, but matchmaking can be organised, particularly for those students who are not from Rijeka, meaning not familiar with the local ‘scene’. There are several students’ and their mentors’ obligations:

(I) In collaboration with the chosen organisation/mentor, they must develop they own engagement plan

(II) Writing and essay – leaning on the literature provided (e.g. on the engaged university) as well as 20-30 videos of various students’ community-based projects worldwide, students must write an essay, reflecting their own position on the topic

(III) Reflective diary – leaning on their personal experience, as well as on the literature provided, students need to write/draw/audio or video record their reflective diaries, connecting theory and practice (personal experience).

(IV) Organisation/mentor certificate/letter of recommendation – as a way to confirm students’ engagement, their mentors are asked to provide a letter of recommendation, as a reflection on their recent experience of ‘hosting’ our students in their organisations.

Every semester around 40-60 students enrol in the course. Students are coming from various disciplines/faculties, and therefore engage in various organisations/projects and fields (e.g. sports, culture, vulnerable groups, elderly people, schools, shelters for homeless people etc.). Students’ evaluations reflect their satisfaction. This course allows students to get 3 ECTS points not for the engagement itself, but for the learning experience and outcomes, as it provides students with a platform for connecting theory and practice.

Practice 40. Department of Education – Study Programme

Case study provided by: Nena Rončević, UNIRi, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Education

The Department of Education is trying to be attentive to current trends, challenges and needs in the educational sector, as well as innovative with its various study programmes (undergraduate, graduate, postgraduate, part-time, lifelong learning programmes). Therefore, academic staff are encouraged to propose new courses, to redesign (old) courses, to introduce various teaching, learning and evaluation methods, including technology (e.g. online courses and/or hybrid ones), as well as to engage with various stakeholders and collaborators in the community. There are, of course, different practices among academic staff, but some of them engage non-academic/professional communities in planning, delivering and evaluating teaching and learning (mostly pedagogues working in public institutions and NGOs). More general internal/departmental ‘monitoring and evaluation’ usually takes place every second year, while more specific (detailed) one is usually aligned with the process of (re)accreditation (every five years). The Department of Pedagogy is therefore trying to keep up with recognised trends and challenges in the field, offering courses aligned with current trends and needs (e.g. Pedagogue in the Community, Pedagogy of Youth Work, Pedagogue in a Time of Crisis, Emotional pedagogy, Education for Sustainable Development, etc.). Usually, the department has a certain evidence-based platform to build new courses on. There are consultations with main stakeholders (e.g. pedagogues, school principals) that take place every two or three years. Conclusions and recommendations that come out of such consultations are recognised as relevant (and sometimes even alarming) starting points for rethinking and introducing changes in study programme.

The study programme makes it possible for students to gain 5-10% of the overall ECTS credit points per semester (different percentages on different levels of study programme) for community-based learning. Internal procedures for recognition of competences gained through community-engaged practices (that are strongly related to their field of study and practice) have been set up around ten years ago and have been improving over time.

Practice 41. Evaluation Research (ER) – Community-Based Research

Case study provided by: Bojana Ćulum Ilić (Associate Professor), Nena Rončević (Associate Professor), UNIRi, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

ER is a mandatory course for the second-year students at the Department of Education/Pedagogy (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences). It was introduced into the study programme beginning the academic year 2007/2008 with the idea to be organised and implemented as a community-based research course. Each year there is an agreement signed with one or more community organisations (NGOs, schools, kindergartens, museums, local authorities), whose project(s) is/are then evaluated over the next three months (one semester) of the course length. The course combines theoretical background with extensive field work. Every step of the course is both planned and delivered in close collaboration with the partners from the community and therefore shaped to meet their particular needs. Students are organised in small research teams, focused on various aspects of planned evaluation research. Both partners (as mentors) and students work together on setting the research agenda, research questions, proper research methods, instruments, data collection, analysis (SPSS for quantitative and MAXQDA or Dedoose for qualitative research) and public presentation of research results. Usually both quantitative and qualitative approaches are used, for students to get better acquainted with multi-method approaches and their importance in evaluation research. Since 2007/2008 we have collaborated with more than 30 different community organisations who have benefited a lot from such community-based research engagement. Both students’ and collaborators’ feedback point to mutual satisfaction – students usually point they have learnt much more by doing than just by ‘listening’, while our partners regularly use research results to inform the development of their own future practices, policies, actually any kind of decisions.

Practice 42. University Senate Charter on Formal Recognition of Students’ Competences Gained Through Community-Based Engagement

Case study provided by: Snježana Prijić Samaržija, UNIRi, rector

This Charter (2015) creates a platform for redesigning university study programmes for students to be able to gain 5-10% of (regular) ECTS credits of the study programme for their community engagement. The Charter ordains the university constituents to redesign their study programmes in a way to secure that students’ competences gained through various community engagement activities can be valued by 9-18 ECTS points at the bachelor level (5-10% of regular 180 ECTS credits for the bachelor degree), and 6-12 ECTS credits at the master level (5-10% of the regular 120 ECTS credits for the master degree). The community engagement of the students can be organised through mandatory and/or elective courses. Following this charter, the university has so far collaborated with approximately 40 to 50 civil society organisations, around 20 different local governments, and around 50 private companies.
Following this charter, the university has so far collaborated with approximately 40 to 50 civil society organisations, around 20 different local governments, and around 50 private companies. The forms and levels of their engagement vary in the context of institutions and disciplinary areas.

Practice 43. Students’ Project on Prevention of Cardiovascular Diseases and Diabetes

Case study provided by: Lara Kuzmanović, student, UNIRi, Faculty of Medicine

Prevention of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes is a project aimed at raising the awareness of the importance of timely control of some of the most prevalent diseases today – cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Students, through volunteering and using their own practical skills and knowledge, contribute to the aims of the project, while simultaneously learning about treating patients and interpersonal relations skills, important for their future medical positions. By organizing voluntary blood donations, we raise awareness of its importance, emphasizing the humane aspect of blood donations, as a message not only to students but to all citizens. This project involves citizens through different actions of measuring blood pressure and glucose levels in the blood at various locations in Rijeka and its surroundings. In this way we encourage students’ practical work and contribute to a higher level of understanding and acceptance of responsibility for our own health, as well as for the health of others.

Practice 44. RiStart

Case study provided by: Petra Maričić, student, UNIRi, Faculty of Medicine

RI START is a course of basic life support with a use of Automated External Defibrillation, AED which was implemented as a part of a bigger public health action called Health Days. The aim of the Health days was to raise awareness about the prevention of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. RI START is organized with the support of the Student Council of The University of Rijeka and is held for the last three years.

The course unites students from the University of Rijeka with the cause of citizen education through interactive workshops conducted by the University of Rijeka, Faculty of Medicine students. The course aims for the participants to acquire the skills and knowledge needed to save a life. Early intervention at the site of an accident is important, especially when an ambulance is awaited at the scene. At that time, knowledge of BLS is crucial for the possibility of the patient’s survival.

Practice 45. Student Day Festival

Case study provided by: Tea Dimnjašević, student, Vice president of the Students’ Council of the University of Rijeka

This Festival is planned as an educational and social activity of all the students at the University of Rijeka and the region.
Various cultural, sports and entertainment events take place during the week, and culminate in the last two days with concerts. The Students’ Council of the University of Rijeka is the main organiser.
Students of individual faculties organise a programme for other students and the public. Student organizations represent their activities in public spaces. Young demo bands have an opportunity to present their work for free, just like artists from other areas (painters, handmade presents etc.).

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