History

Establishment and development of the Study of Electromechanical Engineering in Osijek 1978-1988

Higher education curriculum in electrical engineering was first established in Osijek in 1978 as the third study of the kind in the Republic of Croatia. The establishment of the Study of Electromechanical Engineering resulted from an initiative of the University of Osijek and took place in 1977 and 1978. It was supported by the economy of the city of Osijek and surrounding municipalities in the Slavonia and Baranja region. The Polytechnic was founded for the purpose of organising a two-year study and providing conditions for improving the qualifications of engineering staff within the economy and the public sector of this part of Croatia where there was an evident lack of experts in the field of electrical engineering. This was particularly important due to the fact that the territory of Slavonia and Baranja could not keep pace with the development of Croatia in terms of the following: growth rate, GDP per capita, structure of GDP by economic sectors and other indicators. Apart from the causes of such status (unfavourable economic structure, lack of consistent and scientifically-based policy of development), from the engineering point of view, it may be concluded that the poor development of the region had its roots in an inadequate number of experts within the total employment figures in the region.

The prime mover and promoter of activities related to the establishment of the Study of Electromechanical Engineering was Stjepan Lončar (the then headmaster of the former Osijek Technical School) who, together with Dr. Aurel Kostelić, Full Professor, Dr. Zvonko Fijan, Full Professor (from Zagreb) and Josip Ergotić, MSc, and other experts from Osijek drew up the curriculum and organised the Study of Electromechanical Engineering. Significant support to the activities was also provided by Dr. Petar Anić, Full Professor, Rector of the University of Osijek, Jozo Petović, MSc(Econ), head of the Study Council (the then Chairman of the “Saponija” Osijek Management Board) and the “Elektroslavonija” Osijek Management Board. 

The study started in the academic year 1978/79. The lectures were organised on an interfaculty basis due to a lack of classrooms and laboratories, so they had to be dislocated to the business premises of “OLT”, then to “Elektroslavonija” (Zeleno Polje plant) and finally to the Faculty of Law in Osijek. In addition to visiting lecturers from Zagreb and from other faculties in Osijek, the courses were run by lecturers – engineers from bigger Osijek companies, e.g., Josip Ergotić, Branimir Kovačić, Branko Križanić, Marijan Kalea, Slobodan Magjer and Branko Petrović. The head of that interfaculty study was Dr. Aurel Kovačić, Full Professor, from Zagreb.

In 1979, six teachers, i.e., Josip Ergotić, Branimir Kovačić, Slobodan Magjer, Tomislav Mrčela, Branko Petrović and Antun Pintarić, and a secretary Spomenka Beck, were employed full-time at the Polytechnic.

In 1980, Tihomir Rausnitz, MSc, took over the management of the Study. The following years were characterised by the purchase of laboratory equipment, lectures organised in a separate wing of Osijek Technical School building and employment of new research staff. In 1981, the Study was registered as an “OOUR (i.e., a basic organisation of joint labour)” within the framework of Osijek Technical School. In the same year, the Polytechnic acquired the status of an independent higher education institution.


 

After the adoption of the Vocational Education Act in Croatia (in 1982), the management of the Study of Electromechanical Engineering took measures to meet the criteria stipulated for scientific and educational institutions. In 1986, pursuant to the Vocational Education Act, the Study of Electromechanical Engineering fulfilled the conditions stipulated for a scientific and educational institution licensed for carrying out and organising a vocational education programme granting a professional qualification and a title of an electrical engineer (at a BEng level) in electromechanical engineering.

Although great interest was shown in studying electrical engineering in Osijek (160 students enrolled in the first year of study in the academic year 1987/88), there was no understanding in relation to adequate teaching space. It was also very difficult to hire PhD and MSc degree holders. But, still there were 6 PhD degree holders (Zlatko Delić, Radoslav Galić, Rusmir Mahmutčehajić, Vlado Ostović, Anais Smailagić, and Rudolf Scitovski), 13 MSc degree holders (Josip Ergotić, Darko Fischer, Željko Hocenski, Milan Ivanović, Branimir Kovačić, Ivica Lončar, Slobodan Magjer, Tomislav Mrčela, Branko Petrović, Antun Pintarić, Tihomil Rausnitz, Dragan Sobol, and Željko Štanfel) and 10 BScEE degree holders employed at the Polytechnic in 1988.

In 1987, the Study was entered in the Register of Scientific Organisations. The head of the Study Council in the period 1980-1988 was Tihomil Rausnitz, MSc. After Mr. Rausnitz had left the office, his duty was performed for eight months by Milan Ivanović, MSc, acting head.

Poor financial conditions and problems referring to the status of the study jeopardised the survival of the Polytechnic in 1987. The appointment of Dr. Radoslav Galić (who transferred from the Faculty of Civil Engineering of Osijek) for the new president of the Study Council in 1988 marked the beginning of a new cycle at this higher education institution. In the same year, the Study of Electromechanical Engineering changed its name into the Study of Electrical Engineering, and started to educate electrical and electronics engineers, hence abandoning gradually the electromechanical engineering study programme.

In the period 1988-1990, there was a significant increase in the number of scientists in the field of electrical engineering (Salih Čaršimamović, Ivan Flegar, Rasim Gaćanović, Franjo Jović, Lajos Jozsa, Nedjeljko Perić, Stjepan Štefanko, and Tomislav Švedek) at the Study of Electrical Engineering. At the same time, a lot of young assistants and junior researchers were also employed at the Study. This laid the foundations for the organisation of the study programme granting a BScEE degree.

In 1989, Croatia adopted a joint curriculum in the field of electrical engineering designed for the professional qualification and a title of electrical engineer at the BEng level with two branches, i.e., Electrical Engineering and Electronics, which was also carried out in Osijek until the academic year 2002/03. At the same time, due to the importance of and the need for electrical engineers in this part of Croatia, and supported by the University and regional economy, the management started to undertake activities aimed at preparing for the transformation of the Study of Electrical Engineering into a four-year degree-granting faculty.

Transformation of the Study of Electrical Engineering into the Faculty of Electrical Engineering 1998-1990

In the 1980s, in the Slavonia and Baranja region there were only 5.0% of employees in the economic sector with a degree. The Croatian average was 7.3% at the time. When it comes to BScEE degree holders, the region had as little as 0.16% of such engineers in relation to the total number of employed people, whereas the Croatian average was 0.41, i.e., the Zagreb, Rijeka and Split regions with 0.9%, 0.24% and 0.4%, respectively.

In the period 1988-1990, after a series of discussions, analyses and surveys, and with the assistance of prominent scientists, experts and officials, several important decisions were made:

November 1988

The Scientific and Teaching Council of the Study of Electrical Engineering launched an initiative to organise a study programme granting a BScEE degree offering specialisation in power engineering.

March 1989

The Assembly of the Self-governing interest community of vocational education in the fields of metallurgy, power engineering, metal and electroindustry Slavonski Brod adopted a decision on the assessment of the existence of a permanent social need for education of BScEE degree holders in the Slavonia and Baranja region.

May 1989

The Self-governing interest community in the fields of electrical and mechanical engineering of the Socialist Republic of Croatia adopted a resolution on the curriculum of the study programme at the Study of Electrical Engineering granting a BScEE degree.

December 1989

The Council of the Study of Electrical Engineering launched an initiative to organise a study programme granting a BScEE degree and to enrol 50 students in the academic year 1990/91.

March 1990

Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek Assembly adopted a decision on the enrolment of 50 students in the study programme at the Study of Electrical Engineering in Osijek granting a BScEE degree.

April 1990

The Republic Committee on Science and Higher Education of the Socialist Republic of Croatia issued a decision on the registration of the Study of Electrical Engineering in the Register of scientific organisations. The Association of Croatian universities accepted the proposal to suggest to the Republic Committee on Science and Higher Education of the Socialist Republic of Croatia that the Study of Electrical Engineering in Osijek should organise the study programme granting a BScEE degree. Joint self-governing interest communities of the Socialist Republic of Croatia made the decision to enrol 50 students in the study programme at the Study of Electrical Engineering in Osijek granting a BScEE degree.

Following these decisions, on 24 April 1990, the Republic of Croatia Committee for Education, Culture, Physical and Technical Culture rendered a decision licensing the Study of Electrical Engineering in Osijek to organise and carry out the study programme granting a BSc degree in Electrical Engineering with specialisation in Power Engineering, beginning with the academic year 1990/91.

In the same year, the Study of Electrical Engineering was transformed into the Faculty of Electrical Engineering that enrolled 50 students in the university undergraduate study programme granting a BSc degree in Electrical Engineering and 113 students in the study programme granting a non-university associate degree in Electrical Engineering. 

Important dates

14 April 1978

Completion of the Study/Concept of the Study Programme in Process Engineering in Osijek; team leader: Josip Ergotić, MSc.

3-11 May 1978

Adoption of resolutions proposed by management boards of the companies Elektroslavonija, OLT, MIO, all from Osijek, and Tehno-projekt, Vinkovci, on supporting the establishment of a higher education institution in the field of electrical engineering in Osijek.

1 June 1978

Organisational preparations for establishing the Study of Electromechanical Engineering finished at Osijek Technical School. The study was elaborated by a working group consisting of Stjepan Lončar, school headmaster, Josip Ergotić, MSc (OLT Osijek), Zvonko Fijan, PhD, and Aurel Kostelić, PhD (Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture of Zagreb).

9 June 1978

The Joint self-governing interest community of vocational education in the metal sector in Slavonski Brod gave consent to enrolment of 100 students in the Study of Electromechanical Engineering in Osijek.

26 July 1978

The University of Osijek announced the competition for admission in the first year of the Study of Electrical Engineering in Osijek.

29 September 1978

The Self-Governing Agreement on the Organisation and the Implementation of the Study Programme at the Study of Electromechanical Engineering was signed by the following institutions: Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture in Zagreb, Faculty of Agriculture in Osijek, Faculty of Economics in Osijek, Faculty of Education in Osijek, Self-governing interest community of vocational education in the fields of metal and electroindustry in Osijek and Slavonski Brod and Osijek Technical School.

12 January 1979

The first session of the Teaching Council of the Study of Electromechanical Engineering in Osijek.

17 January 1979

A constituent assembly of the Council of the Study of Electromechanical Engineering was held at the Rector's office. The Council consisted of representatives from companies, the municipality and the University of Osijek. Jozo Petović, BSc(Econ) (chairman of Saponia Osijek Management Board), was elected Council president.

2 March 1979

The Self-governing interest community of vocational education of the Socialist Republic of Croatia adopted a resolution giving consent for the establishment of a study programme in the field of electromechanical engineering in Osijek.

5 July 1979

Pursuant to Decision 2731/79 of the Republic of Croatia Committee for Education, Culture, Physical and Technical Culture, the Study of Electromechanical Engineering was granted permission to work.

8 April 1980

A referendum was held at Osijek Technical School on the separation of the Study of Electromechanical Engineering into an independent organisational unit.

January 1983

Cooperation established between the Study of Electromechanical Engineering in Osijek and Hochschule Bremen.

28-29 May 1985

The first international scientific colloquium “Science in Practice” held in Osijek – a conference attended by scientists and experts from the Study of Electromechanical Engineering in Osijek and Hochschule Bremen – Fachbereich Elektrotechnik.

War damage 1991-1995

Intensive development of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Osijek was temporarily stopped by a violent attack by the Yugoslav Federal Army against Croatia (1991-1992) which caused considerable material damage and emmense casualties.

To our great sorrow, assistants Damir Pavičić and Zlatko Mudrovčić and five students Robert Sesar, Mario Stipurinac, Tomislav Tutnjević, Miroslav Tabak and Ivica Škorić of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering were killed as Croatian Army soldiers. Several of our students were also wounded during the war.

In addition to immeasurable loss of human potential in the period 1991–1992, the Faculty suffered significant material damage: part of equipment was either completely destroyed or demolished as well as some offices, laboratories and parts of the building itself.

Immediately after the war, the Faculty of Electrical Engineering started to restore its premises and equip its devastated laboratories partly by using its own resources and partly by financial support provided by the Ministry of Science of the Republic of Croatia.