Eight laureates receive MENDELU Rector’s Awards

17. 9. 2019 -

Eight academics and students of Mendel University received MENDELU Rector’s Awards for outstanding achievements. Laureates of the prestigious awards given on the occasion of the university’s centenary include bioclimatologist Zdeněk Žalud for his long-term efforts in pointing out the impact of climate change, and Dominika Sirná, a student of furniture design, whose work has won awards in several competitions.

The Rector's Awards recognise important and outstanding achievements and the contribution that students or employees have made to research, education, sports, art and civil society. Nominees are suggested by the deans, the directors of university institutes or by the chair of the academic senate based on suggestions by the senators. The laureates are then selected by the rector and each receive a diploma, a medal of the Mendel University in Brno and a financial prize. "These awards are designed to fill the gap in recognising our people. Our employees are the building blocks of our university and our most important asset and we need to recognise those that push our university and its disciplines forward," says Danuše Nerudová, the rector of Mendel University in Brno, adding that the Rector's Awards will now become an annual tradition: "I believe that this will be further motivation for our employees".

The Rector's Award for teaching was given to Zdeněk Žalud for his long-term efforts in pointing out the impact of climate change. He is one of the key bioclimatologists in the Intersucho project, which informs both experts and the general public of the impact that drought currently has on the landscape. As he says, he considers teaching to be a university's primary mission: " I regard the award as a recognition of the way I approach students and teaching. I have always viewed students as my primary target group and teaching them as my primary goal, and I have always taken their feedback on board and used it to improve my classes. In addition, the impact of climate change on modern agriculture, which is my research area, continues to create new and varied problems that my students encounter every day," says Žalud.

Dominika Sirná, a student of Furniture Design who won the first prize in the Grand Prix Mobitex competition, was surprised to receive the award: "It was not only a surprise but also confirmation that it is never too late to change. At the time I enrolled in my current programme, I had already been a university student for several years. I think that as you get older, you gain more appreciation of what you learn. Moreover, the awards are a good indicator of your ability to persevere, which is a great asset in today's fast-paced world," says Sirná. She appreciates that her study programme gives her the opportunity to enter her furniture in various exhibitions and competitions where it can be viewed by experts and the general public.

Sylvie Formánková from the Department of Management and the Department of Informatics at the Faculty of Business and Economics received her award for her contribution to civil society. As she says: "I am profoundly grateful for this award and while I am trying to accept it with humility, I am also very proud that my university has progressed to a stage where it appreciates and supports the socially beneficial work of others. I would like to use this opportunity to thank my employer for enabling me to do work that fulfils my personal mission," says Formánková. Together with her colleagues, she is trying to raise awareness of social responsibility among students, employees and the general public. "There are still people who do not know much about the social responsibility of universities or private companies so, therefore, treat it with mistrust. There is still a long way to go, but I am not alone now – I have wonderful colleagues and the support of the university," says the laureate, who was behind the recently opened Center for Social Responsibility and Sustainability MENDELU.