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Mission Statement by the Faculty of Law

Mission Statement by the Faculty of Law

Preamble

Upper Austria is one of Austria’s most dynamic regions, progressing over the past three decades from the (former) College of Social and Business Administration in Linz to its transition to the Johannes Kepler University in 1974.

Reflecting the needs of the region, law studies were implemented at the college from the very beginning and with the transition to a university, the Faculty of Law was officially established.

Even today, the Faculty of Law feels particularly obligated in its duties and responsibilities as an academic institution with a specific purpose to apply the vested interests of education and research to the advantage of Upper Austria, despite that in these times and more than ever before, it is becoming increasingly essential to address inter-regional and international complexities of academics and direct our attention beyond regional borders.

The belief that law is not only shaped by people’s cultural convictions, but should also provide the necessary tools to shape individual and societal universal core values, obligates the Faculty of Law – particularly in these times of European integration – to take into account all elements of interculturalism which encounter the existence of a pluralistic society and should be applied in the transformation of societal concerns regarding in all legal areas.

The Faculty of Law focuses on people – educating students and legal seekers by providing education not only in traditional legal studies, but also making research achievements available in areas for which the Faculty of Law has specific core competencies.

In this way, as a public and publicly funded institution, the Faculty of Law serves society in the manner with which it is obligated and bears with it the responsibility to solve people’s problems as well contribute to the thriving development of society and its natural environment.

At the same time, the Faculty of Law is there for its employees to provide a professional place for faculty and staff to turn challenges into accomplishments and enjoy a level of professional satisfaction that is essential to a high working output and personal well-being.

The Faculty of Law - Our Mission

Our mission statement is aimed at providing a brief and comprehensible overview of areas – so-called strategic fields – that we consider particularly important for the law school and a brief summary of how we intend to best develop these areas. Our mission statement depicts and reflects these strategic fields and explores problems associated in each certain area as well as basic solutions and practical implementation.

These reflect the convictions of the Faculty of Law; the notion that science cannot be conducted in an ivory tower but, at the same time, should also not solely remedy the needs of daily politics. Theory and practice relate to one another dialectically and have been designed to not only inspire but also encourage the other, thus yielding mutual prosperous development.

Fields of Strategy

The Faculty of Law focuses on the following five strategic areas:

Education and Continual Education
Research
Internationalization and Interculturalism
Knowledge Transfer
Structure

On the one hand, these strategic fields (points 1 and 2) address more conventional responsibilities expected from a university of science but also engage in new tasks (point 4) that are becoming increasingly important today, creating situations for students to encounter and learn about scientific activities common within a pluralistic society of today (point 3), creating insight to convey that in order to implement these kinds of strategies, organizational structures and processes are of increasingly vital importance (point 5).

  • Education and Continual Education
  • Research
  • Internationalization and Interculturalism
  • Knowledge Transfer
  • Structure

On the one hand, these strategic fields (points 1 and 2) address more conventional responsibilities expected from a university of science but also engage in new tasks (point 4) that are becoming increasingly important today, creating situations for students to encounter and learn about scientific activities common within a pluralistic society of today (point 3), creating insight to convey that in order to implement these kinds of strategies, organizational structures and processes are of increasingly vital importance (point 5).

1. Education and Continual Education

From the earliest of times, societies of people have implemented core ideas regarding societal guidelines and ideas of rules and regulations to govern the community. The same applies towards the idea of a country as an (inter)personal political organizational form as well as for the international community as an organizational form of (inter)country society.

During earlier periods, the structure of regulations and country were much simpler and it was rather feasible for everyone to easily participate in legal matters. Today, society is more highly specialized and includes distinct divisions of labor in all areas and levels. It has become increasingly necessary to educate people in the areas of law, state and national regulations in order for society to have a sufficient number of legal experts available. The complexities of today’s living conditions have created a number of isolated legal cases and situations for which there appear to be insufficient resolutions, in turn demanding an interdisciplinary approach in order to regulate them

To address these and many other topics, the Faculty of Law offers a wide-range of base knowledge and in-depth specialization courses in many different areas to prepare students to understand interdisciplinary tasks and become generalists who will be in a position to understand the law as cultural manifestation in all of its historical depth and dogmatic dissimilarity as well as to understand societal preconditions and consequences and, in individual cases, find and procure solutions. On a national and international scale, we strongly believe that students of law studies should be provided with the highest level of education in regards to quality.

Above all, this extensive program ensures ample professional training and leaves the Austrian model of a scientific education at a university, including practical on-hands training, in tact. The Faculty of Law places great importance on life-long learning by providing numerous postgraduate programs.

The Faculty of Law is aware that the mere transfer of expert knowledge is not enough to manage the complex problems of society today and seeks to provide each individual with a way to address basic questions of human existence. The Faculty of Law is dedicated to the concept of education by science and believes this does not only ensure a relevant outlook and a distinct power of judgment, but can also combine intellectual probity with tolerance and a heightened, value oriented sense of responsibility towards society and the environment in particular.

In addition to education and continual education, the Faculty of Law supports continual and supplementary education for its faculty and staff at all levels, including professional mobility. The faculty highly values didactic instruction aimed at educating future managers and leaders as well as helping students to develop superior team skills.

2. Research

The Faculty of Law believes that all research studies should focus equally on both cognitive knowledge and applied uses. Applied uses of research in humanities and social sciences are certainly important compared to the mere, direct economic applications because the base knowledge of the study predetermines the course it will take as well as its societal effects, which can only be observed after a mid to longer period of time.

In this regard, our faculty and staff unanimously agree on the importance of conducting research studies at a high international level; research studies that are not merely self-serving but rather research that is dedicated to overall perspectives in society. In addition to the topic, there should be an indispensable opportunity to satisfy a dedicated researcher’s scientific curiosity. The research topic should always address ethical and societal conditions, thereby producing results that will be beneficial to society.

Research conducted at the Faculty of Law is committed to serving the public by addressing and focusing on specific regional matters and issues. The highest level of expert knowledge, as well as arbitrating competence, are available at the disposal of the community to address legal concerns that regularly confront not only the individual, but also society in aspects of personal, professional and public life.

This includes leading topics in key socio-political areas of public discourse and ensuring that the latest research results from studies conducted by members of the Faculty of Law are quickly made public and accessible to individuals as well as to public officials, business managers and officials in other areas of society. In today’s ever changing society, the Faculty of Law tries to remain one step ahead in the area of research and education and publish the latest results of legal research as quickly and efficiently as possible. In regards to key common areas of law, we want to ensure that students educated today - and who will eventually encounter questions of tomorrow - do not respond with answers from yesterday.

To maintain our obligation to the public, the Faculty of Law is committed to a priority of research which solely combines research and education in order to guarantee high academic standards.

3. Internationalism and Interculturalism

The Faculty of Law is aware and responsive to the fact that as a modern manifestation of a pluralistic society, it is important for law to be a forerunner of internationalism and interculturalism. The Faculty willingly accepts a great amount responsibility in regards to developing fitting solutions for multicultural conflicts that occur nationally as well as internationally.

The Faculty of Law understands and values the importance of mutual international cooperation. In collaboration with the global scientific community, the faculty embraces efforts to find approaches to problems that, in these times of globalization, can no longer be solved on a national level alone. Together with institutions of higher learning located in and outside of Europe, the Faculty of Law strongly supports an active exchange program of faculty and students in order to competently cultivate ways to find solutions to international legal matters.

The Faculty of Law supports and encourages faculty and students to spend longer periods of exchange at national and international institutions of research and education. We strongly believe that academic exchange is not only beneficial for expanding one’s own professional horizons, but also for personal growth and development. Insight and understanding are acquired by means of life experiences and encounters within cultures sporting lifestyles and attitudes that are different from one’s own country. Those who have international experience create cultural communities that allow for progressive European integration and the growth of peaceful, international communities of free and prosperous peoples.

Likewise the Faculty of Law encourages and supports academic exchange programs abroad. Academic exchange programs not only provide students with important life experiences and additional qualifications, but also allow students to compare and contrast educational systems as well as improve career opportunities.

4. Knowledge Transfer

The Faculty of Law is very influential in regards to the societal and economic development of Upper Austria. The faculty conducts and publishes important research studies as well as educates future regional leaders who go on to work in local business and government.

Moreover, individual institutes at the Faculty of Law are supported by institutions on a national and international level and are not only involved in successful relationship and cooperation networks, but also in competition.

In the interest of supporting high quality and advanced education and research, the Faculty of Law makes a conscious effort to encourage the exchange of experiences and create important strategic alliances.

5. Structure

The law serves as the legal parameters which define not only the life of an individual, but within a society as well. The country and the community of states, as well as public and intergovernmental laws focus towards one goal: our common welfare – safety, freedom and social services for all. The complexity of our world is comparable to a complex microstructure of institutions in which the republic of Austria is a part of larger organizational structures, such as the universal UNO and the regional European Union as well as being a federal entity that is simultaneously structured within the local authorities – provinces and municipals – spanning corporate entities all the way to the professionally focused chambers of Commerce and Labor.

The complexities of these institutions are equivalent to the complexities of law. Should the law provide individuals with a fitting instrument in order to solve one’s problems – which in turn, introduces an additional scope of applications ranging from the family, to (autonomous and dependent) occupations, to leisure time, from culture to politics – which is why the law must be clearly defined and competently applied. Those familiar with only the wording of the law, but possessing little or no comprehension of how courts and administrative agencies apply and interpret the law, do not truly comprehend the law in all of its functional reality.

The distinct and, to a large extent, one dimensional management structure defined in the University Organizational Law 1993 was designed to allow the depiction of decision and responsibility guidelines by implicitly defined competency ordinances. The Faculty of Law strives to go beyond these legal parameters to create a flat organization with a purposeful span of control.

Small but highly efficient service providers fulfil their tasks in full awareness of their supporting functions opposite science.

Concluding Remarks

To sustain future-oriented tasks in areas of research and education, the Faculty of Law ensures and upholds the concept of individual academic freedom for its researchers and educators. In order to guarantee efficiency and the transparency of resource management, as well as ensure swift implementation of specific goals and strategies, it is imperative that academic freedom be maintained at institutions that support academic autonomy.

By creating ample academic freedom and assigning areas of responsibility and competency to the departments where the greatest resources of expert knowledge is available, the faculty and staff at the Faculty of Law is able to create and implement new ideas and initiatives aimed at best attaining the faculty’s overall objectives.

The Faculty of Law is aware that legal regulations alone, as indispensable as they are, are still not enough to implement the objectives presented in our mission statement. It is more important to have a faculty that is focused on - and characterized by - professional ethics of sole individual responsibility. There is a general consensus within the Faculty of Law that a sense of community, open-mindedness, quality consciousness, and motivation, as well the true equal opportunity between men and women and social equal opportunities, are indispensable elements within a university faculty.