On 29 June, the Senate met for the last time in its current composition. Among other things, it voted to found the Institute of Anesthesia and Perioperative Patient Care, decided on the establishment of the Pro Educatione Prize, amended the Organizational and Operational Rules and decided to launch the new academic program of cognitive behavioral therapists.

In the framework of amending certain provisions of the Organizational and Operational Rules, the Senate has decided to establish the Cabinet for Strategy and Development as of 1 July 2023. The Cabinet for Strategy and Development is a central organizational unit under the supervision of the Rector, which is primarily responsible for the coordination and management of university-wide developmental and other projects of strategic importance, with the contribution of the Vice Rector for Strategy and Development. In parallel with the creation of the new organizational unit, the responsibilities of the Vice-Rector for Strategy and Development as well as that of the Office of the Vice-Rector for Strategy and Development will be specified.

The Board adopted the amendment of the organizational units of the Clinical Center, pursuant to which the Institute of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Patient Care will be created. As part of the motion, the senators heard a presentation by Rector Dr. Béla Merkely on the integration of the Merényi Gusztáv site of the South Pest Central Hospital National Institute of Hematology and Infectology into the University. The creation of the Institute for Anesthesia and Perioperative Care is justified by the increase in the number of cases resulting from the takeover of the Merényi Traumatology Unit and the plans to increase the volume of elective surgery and related intensive care. In order to achieve significantly higher performance, human resources need to be rationalized. So far, the Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care (AITK) has provided anesthesia services, organized the at-home ventilation program and central intensive care as an integral unit. Based on the decision, the anesthesiology and closely related perioperative patient care tasks will be organized and developed separately from the existing patient care activities of the AITK, within the framework of the Institute of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Patient Care, responsible for this area of patient care. The new facility will be based at the Institute for Anesthesia and Perioperative Care, where anesthesia and intensive care, education and research services are currently provided within a single institution. However, international experience has shown that it is reasonable to separate these two fields of patient care due to their distinctive medical attributes, so that staff and equipment are dedicated to and serve these specific interventional segments to their full capacity, respectively. The AITK will continue to apply its principles and practices in education and research following the profile specification. The newly established Institute of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Patient Care will further develop the methodology and practice of patient care in its own field of expertise to ensure the organization and implementation of education and research. The modification does not affect the integrity of the anesthesia and intensive care services already established at the Department of Surgery, Transplantation and Gastroenterology and the Városmajor Heart and Vascular Center. The restructuring aims at a more transparent and efficient anesthesia care.

According to Rector Dr. Béla Merkely, the infrastructure of the Merényi Traumatology Unit will be taken over by the University as of 1 August, with the handover completed by 1 November. Through this integration, the orthopedics and traumatology capacities will be mutually reinforced in the Outer Clinical Block.

The Board adopted the proposal for the amendment of the Book of Regulations. In addition to the amendments to the Radiation Protection Regulations and the Events Regulations, the Board approved the adoption of the Conflict-of-Interest Regulations as well.

The Senate discussed and accepted the proposal for the establishment of the Pro Educatione Prize. The Pro Educatione Prize is an extension of the career model for theoretical lecturers.  Pursuant to the resolution, from September on, the most outstanding practice supervisors (full-time, non-medical staff teaching an average of at least 7 classes of theoretical subjects per week in the first three years of the single-cycle training) will receive a Pro Educatione Prize and a supplementary allowance of 200,000 HUF gross per month for a period of 12 months.  The prize is open to the top 40 per cent of full-time practice supervisors who teach an average of at least 7 classes weekly, ranked in the order of the average marks obtained by the students in their group for their comprehensive examinations and examinations. The prize is awarded annually to the best lecturers at the Faculty of Medicine, the Faculty of Dentistry and the Faculty of Pharmacy based on the quality of their teaching in both Hungarian and international (English and German) languages.

The Senate decided to amend the model curricula of certain courses to align with the change in foreign language proficiency requirements. For the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Dentistry, both offering single-cycle training, the prerequisite for obtaining a diploma is an intermediate level (B2) complex language examination in English or an equivalent school-leaving certificate or diploma.

The Master’s degree at the Faculty of Pharmacy requires a state-recognized, comprehensive intermediate level (B2) oral and written language examination in English or an equivalent school-leaving certificate or diploma, which can be substituted with a comprehensive final language exam by the university.

For two-cycle trainings, the requirements may vary by faculty or specialization.

The Board decided to establish a specialized training course for cognitive behavioral therapists (CBT therapists). The new course enables Semmelweis University to offer state-of-the-art, evidence-based knowledge for mental health and psychiatric specialists and psychotherapists working in primary, secondary and higher education, meeting the demands of the 21st century. The entry requirement for the training is a qualification as a specialized psychologist, psychiatrist and/or psychotherapist with a medical qualification. The CBT therapist certification does not provide a new health professional qualification, however, it does provide the license to practice CBT therapy at a level appropriate to the practitioner’s level of qualification, for mild, moderate or severe mental disorders.

The Board voted to amend the rules on foreign-language, self-financed courses. Should a student enrolled or registered for an advanced semester in the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Dentistry in German language courses give a written notice of termination of their  studies within 30 days of the first day of the academic term, the University shall credit the full amount of the tuition fee paid for the given period of study as tuition fee for the student’s subsequent active semester. For outstanding academic performance, the outstanding academic performance scholarship may be awarded based on a public call for application, replacing a tuition fee reduction, which is abolished. The range of discounts available to students is extended, similarly to Hungarian-language courses. Exemption may only be granted from late fees, based on extraordinary social circumstances or other circumstances deserving special consideration, granted by the Rector.

The Senators have clarified the Study and Examination Regulations of the Student Standards within the Organizational and Operational Rules with regard to the teacher’s professional examination at the specialized further education in the field of teacher’s professional service at the András Pető Faculty.

A decision has been made to renew the membership of the University Equal Opportunities Committee, following the expiry of its mandate on 31 August 2023.

Senators received a briefing on organizational changes below directorate level.

The Senate has decided on the renewal of the student composition of the constant committees with university competence, established by the Board, i.e. that of the Committee for Students’ Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, the Committee for the Review of Students’ Judicial Remedy Appeals, the University Equal Opportunities Committee, the Quality Improvement and Assessment Committee, the University Ethics Committee and the External Research Assessment Committee, following the change in the student status of the committee members.

The Board has decided on the recipients of the Pro Universitate Prize and the Distinguished Lecturer of Semmelweis University Award, along with the proposals for the 2024 state and ministerial awards. Questions related to conferring titles of part-time lecturers and lecturers, as well as on current research proposals have been discussed and decided as well.

At the end of the last meeting of the Senate held with its current composition, the Rector recalled how over the past four years the Board has had to navigate wisely through daunting tasks as the Covid pandemic, the Legal Status Act coming into force or the change of the higher education model. Finally, emphasizing his appreciation, Dr. Béla Merkely thanked the Senators for their accomplishments.

Anita Szepesi
Translation: Judit Szabados-Dőtsch
Photo: Attila Kovács — Semmelweis University (illustration)