On 1st October, an online meeting of students and doctoral candidates with Prof. Sławomir Żółtek, the UW Vice Rector for Students and Quality of Teaching was held. Prof. Żółtek answered the questions regarding the course of studies, financial support and other University’s activities. The recorded broadcast is available on the Vice-Rector’s YouTube channel.
On the occasion of the new academic year, Prof. Sławomir Żółtek met with students and doctoral candidates of the University of Warsaw. During the broadcast on the YouTube channel and Facebook, the Vice-Rector for Students and Quality of Teaching answered the questions of students and doctoral candidates.
Below we present selected answers to the questions, which had been sent before the meeting via a form, and those asked in chat during the event.
What is the situation with the reserve list when applying for a place in a UW hall of residence? Does every applicant on the list have the possibility of receiving a place? Why is the list not public?
We have been observing increased interest in halls of residence among UW students. It is a consequence of, among other things, an increase in the number of students admitted to the UW (by approximately 11% in comparison to last year).
Students and doctoral candidates have obtained a total of 2 300 places in halls of residence, after three rounds of allocation of places.
Currently, all UW students and doctoral candidates, who have not yet received a place in the UW halls of residence for the academic year 2023/2024, can sign up for the reserve list. The list is available on the website of the UW’s Student Welfare and Support Office. Students who are living in halls of residence at the moment have priority in receiving a place, provided their income does not exceed PLN 3 000 per person in their family.
Do you have a plan to improve the process of allocating places in halls of residence in the future?
We would like to manage the allocation of places in the halls of residence as efficiently as possible so that every student at the University of Warsaw who needs a place can obtain it. We intend to integrate the work in this area within one single office, as there are currently four different central units responsible for the halls of residence. In addition, every student hall of residence has a separate manager and its own administration. We are also discussing this topic with the UW Students’ Union Board. We are considering the need to implement a third round of enrolment for student halls of residence too. Perhaps, it would be a good idea to change the system of allocating places to a two-round system and leave the reserve list system instead of the September round of allocating places.
We are also building a new student hall of residence (no. 7th), and are seeking additional funding to renovate the existing halls of residence.
How does the University of Warsaw intend to help first-year students who have not been allocated a place in a student hall of residence and cannot afford to rent a flat in Warsaw?
We encourage students to sign up for the reserve list. Those who have a low income per person in the family should receive a place first. Please bear in mind that there is a possibility to receive a social scholarship or assistance grant, which I strongly encourage you to apply for.
Is it possible to live in a student hall of residence other than the one I have been offered a place in?
It is possible, but I would ask for a moment of patience. Combining an ongoing accommodation with migrations would introduce unnecessary organisational chaos. In order to change a hall of residence, one needs to exchange a place with another person. For more details, please contact the UW’s Student Welfare and Support Office or me directly.
Can people who have lived in a hall of residence based on a referral from the 2022/2023 academic year and did not receive a place the following year count on staying where they had lived before (in case of vacancies)?
I can say that these people will most likely be offered a place in a student hall of residence. The decisions on the allocation of places to students on the reserve list will be made by 4th October. Those who lived in the hall of residence in September will have priority to receive a place in the hall of residence as long as their income does not exceed PLN 3 000.
Will the “Scholarship to Start” programme continue in the 2023/2024 academic year?
The University of Warsaw has been offering “Scholarships to Start” within the Rector’s Scholarship Fund since the 2022/2023 academic year. The scholarships are awarded to the most talented newly admitted UW students and doctoral candidates. The programme has been very well received and one could say that it has become part of our University. We are planning to continue it and develop it further.
How much will the Rector’s scholarship and social scholarship be?
The amount of the Rector’s scholarship has not yet been set. The UW Students’ Union Board is our partner regarding this matter, with whom we consult the amount of social benefits for students. In the case of doctoral candidates, we consult the PhD Students’ Union Board. The amount depends on, among other things, the basis of a variable percentage of people who receive the benefit (the fewer people, the higher the scholarship).
The base amount of the social scholarship for the 2023/2024 academic year will be announced in the first half of October. Currently, the matter is being consulted with the UW Students’ Union Board (according to the regulations, the Rector determines the amount of the scholarships after obtaining the decision of the UW Students’ Union Board). What is known, however, is the amount of the income threshold that entitle to a social scholarship, which is PLN 1294.40. The amount is the same for all students in Poland due to the Act of 20 July 2018 The Law on Higher Education and Science.
When will doctoral scholarships at doctoral schools increase?
The minimum amount of the scholarship depends on the salary of the professor, which is set by regulation of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education. As announced in January 2024, it is expected to be PLN 8600, so the scholarship in doctoral schools will increase from PLN 2667 to PLN 3182 before the mid-term evaluation, and from PLN 4109 to PLN 4902 after the evaluation. We are aware that the expectations of doctoral candidates are more far-reaching. A certain difficulty is the large number of people studying at the UW. Together with the PhD Students’ Union, His Magnificence the Rector is preparing a new scholarship for those doctoral candidates who meet the scientific criterion. There are also Scholarships to Start for Doctoral Students, as well as scholarships from the IDUB programme. We are trying to build a comprehensive support system for doctoral candidates.
Do you have any plans to financially support doctoral candidates in their final year of doctoral studies, who by law have been given the opportunity to extend their education until the end of 2024?
Doctoral candidates in the so-called “old mode” can benefit, as before, from a doctoral scholarship, an increase in the doctoral scholarship for the top 30% of doctoral candidates and a Rector’s scholarship for the top 10% of doctoral candidates in a given year.
Is there an opportunity for scientific involvement in the life of the University (research, conferences, etc.)? Who can be approached in this regard?
The scientific life of students at the UW mainly revolves around student associations in faculties and other units organising student education. They offer activities within all scientific disciplines. Students can also approach their lecturers directly, who are keen to involve ambitious young scientists in their projects.
Does a language certificate at C1/C2 level exempt me from university examinations?
Such a certificate exempts you from taking the compulsory certification examination (for first-cycle and second-cycle programmes). The decision on exemption is made by the head of the teaching unit (Vice-Dean for Student Affairs or Head of Studies).
Where can I collect my student card?
You can collect your Electronic Student Card (ELS) from the appropriate Dean’s office or the students’ affairs office.
How do I register for classes?
Is it possible to remove the “first-come, first-served” rule, which currently applies to token registration for classes and in essence gives a benefit to those with good equipment and fast Internet connection?
Technically such a possibility exists, although this system was the result of a compromise preceded by intensive discussions. There is no perfect solution, but we are open to introduce changes if the need arises and the direction is widely accepted. A good Internet connection, increasing the chance of faster enrolment for classes, is available in the University’s buildings. For example, in the University of Warsaw Library, which is now open 24 hours a day, you will additionally find computers which can be used for this purpose.
Is it possible to change from full-time to part-time studies and are there any fees involved?
It is possible. You will need to file an application to the head of the teaching unit (Vice-Dean for Student Affairs) in the faculty concerned. The recognition of the application itself is free of charge, but please note that part-time studies are generally subject to a fee.
What is the situation with the University’s Microsoft Office license?
We have discussed this topic with students, who pointed out that an online version of MS Office is sufficient and can be used freely by every student. However, if such a solution will not be satisfactory in the future, then we are open for further discussions.
The University acts on improving the inclusiveness of transgender people. What is the current situation?
We have established a team consisting of Prof. Julia Kubisa, the Rector’s Plenipotentiary for Policies Against Discrimination and Sexual Harassment, Dr Anna Cybulko, the UW Ombudsman, and Klaudia Pożarycka, the coordinator of information systems supporting the education process from the Office of Academic and Student Affairs. The team prepared a system of introducing and implementing an identity overlay in the USOS system, which could be used by all universities in Poland. The project was sent to the Inter-University System of Informatisation (MUCI), which is responsible for the development of the USOS system. We continue our cooperation to introduce the overlay as quickly as possible. Prof. Kubisa is discussing the issue with vice-deans for student affairs. None of them opposed the proposal.
Some international students do not receive their visas on time. Will the University support them in case of problems with course attendance?
Unfortunately, we have not prepared solutions for such cases. In case of such problems, I recommend to contact the heads of didactic units or the heads of studies. Perhaps it would be possible to make up classes at a later date.
Will online courses be held in the upcoming academic year?
The courses at the University take place on site. The majority of our academic community supports this decision. However, we use digital tools in our teaching activities. We do not rule out completely online or hybrid classes. Nevertheless, it must derive from the syllabus. The organisation of online classes is described in the Ordinance No. 111 of the Rector of the University of Warsaw.
Can marks received by students at other universities be recognised at the UW?
There is such a possibility. The decision is made by vice-deans for students affairs or heads of studies. To recognise passed courses from other universities, one needs to file an application.
Will the University of Warsaw allow the usage of AI tools, such as ChatGPT, during classes or while preparing thesis?
I am in favour of the wide, but rational usage of AI tools in research and teaching. We have analysed this topic for some time now. This is not about writing your master thesis or final assignment in ChatGPT, but structuring and searching for information. AI tools can be helpful for both students and academic teachers. One might say that they resemble books, only they represent their extended version.
There are lecturers who never take part in any workshops and do not change anything in their manner of conducting courses. The same applies to their attitude towards students. Is there a place for improvement?
Students’ surveys offer a great chance to react to any of these issues. The information collected from students helps the heads of didactic units to improve the quality of teaching in various programmes of studies. The surveys are also used for the purpose of periodic evaluation of academic employees.
Can private sport classes, e.g. dance courses, be accepted as a way of passing the semester of physical education?
Yes, it is possible. A documented application must be submitted to the head of didactic unit (Vice-Dean for Students Affairs), who, in accordance with the Rules of Study, can accept such a course as part of the student’s study programme.