Champions Forever!

Rumanian University Joins ICSSPE
06/05/2021 17:27

After welcoming the National University of Physical Education and Sports of Bucharest (UNEFS), Rumania, ICSSPE talked to Professor Rares Stanescu to find out more about the universities research projects and how ICSSPE can best cooperate and assist in the future. 



ICSSPE: Could you please introduce yourself?

Stanescu: I am Associate Professor PhD and I am teaching Sport Management and Marketing and Theory and Practice in Tennis Training at the National University of Physical Education and Sports of Bucharest. I have been Director of the Department of Communication and Foreign Relations and Erasmus Institutional Coordinator since 2013. I was Vice President and General Secretary of the Romanian Football-Tennis Federation and Director of tennis coaching education in the Romanian Tennis Federation and National School of Coaches. Since 2010 I have been a tennis master coach and in 2015 I was invited by the International Tennis Federation as a keynote speaker at the Worldwide Coaches Conference held in Turkey.


ICSSPE: Please let us know more about the National University of Physical Education and Sport

Stanescu: The National University of Physical Education and Sports of Bucharest was established by the Law on Physical Education promulgated on 15th June 1923, under the name of National Institute of Physical Education (INEF). As the first higher education institution for the training of physical education teachers in Romania, it began its courses on 1st December 1922 in Bucharest. It was the 10th institution of this kind in the world and the 5th in Europe. Since its establishment, the classes of graduates have succeeded uninterruptedly and, throughout the years, great athletes, honoured coaches, successful managers and businessmen in various areas, people with responsible positions, institution leaders in our field and not only, true ambassadors of Romania, studied, trained or completed their education in this institution. At the external evaluations of 2009 and 2017, the Council of the Romanian Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education awarded the university a High Degree of Confidence rating. Currently, UNEFS Bucharest has two faculties, the Faculty of Physical Education and Sport and the Faculty of Physical Therapy. Both faculties organise bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programmes. The university is preparing to celebrate its centennial, a time of summarising the outcomes but also of commitment for the next decades.


ICSSPE: Can you tell us briefly about the ongoing projects of the organisation?

Stanescu: UNEFS is an active competitor for European funds. It is currently running projects under Erasmus+ Sport – either as a beneficiary or partner, a Norwegian funded project for the sustainable social integration of children from disadvantaged backgrounds through sport, a World Bank funded project to reduce school dropout, a project from European structural funds to facilitate student transition to the labour market, and many other projects from national development funds.


ICSSPE: How did the pandemic affect the higher education system in Romania and could you tell us a little about the solutions you found?

Stanescu: The COVID-19 pandemic forced us, at the beginning of 2020, to organise online teaching activity. The solution was offered by our own e-learning platform that supported all teaching-learning-evaluation activities for all study programmes (bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate). For the profile of our university, this form of organising education was a compromise. Currently, our option is the hybrid version, where courses take place online and practical, face-to-face exercises are also carried out.


ICSSPE: Will you be keeping some of the changes once the pandemic is over?

Stanescu: When the activities will be resumed in a 100% face-to-face format, we believe that the online platform should be maintained as an additional educational tool useful for both teachers and students. We also believe that increased hygiene and cleanliness measures should be maintained to a standard that contributes to protecting the health of students, teachers and researchers.


ICSSPE: Could you tell us a bit about the aims and vision of the National University of Physical Education and Sport?

Stanescu: We want to remain at the forefront of knowledge and best practices, to be recognised as one of the best universities in our domain. Our history challenges us, we are Champions Forever! With this mission, we focus on ensuring the transfer of specialised information, stimulation and creation in the areas of physical education, sport and human movement. We acquire, generalise and widen the experience gained over time in the field of physical education and sport while taking responsibility as a consultation and scientific assistance forum in the aforementioned field, developing scientific research by renewing the scientific database to provide the necessary support for the in-depth knowledge and development of the field. The scientific mission involves promoting fundamental and applied research in the field, studies and interdisciplinary projects assimilated to scientific research, which are consistent with the topics of national and international research projects.


ICSSPE: How would you describe your organisation’s values?  

Stanescu: Winning spirit, honesty, collaboration and teamwork, competitiveness through fair-play, respect, all are the UNEFS values. These values are conveyed to generations of students, future specialists in the fields of physical education, sport and physical therapy.


ICSSPE: What are your future plans and goals?

Stanescu: Our university’s plans for the near future are: the formation of a European university consisting of four specialised faculties, increasing the number of bilateral agreements at institutional level and the participation of our university in European research-development-innovation projects (Erasmus+ Sport, SEE, and Horizon). An important strategic direction is represented by the development of the educational offer in foreign languages for all three education cycles.


ICSSPE: As a new ICSSPE member, what do you envision for the future cooperation with ICSSPE?

Stanescu: Our university aims to develop partnerships with universities, faculties and research centres, as well as to participate in European research-development-innovation projects together with ICSSPE partners. We are especially honoured to be members of ICSSPE, whose worldwide renown increases the prestige of our field among other sciences and professional organisations.

ICSSPE: What are you most excited about regarding the ICSSPE membership?

Stanescu: ICSSPE membership confirms that the efforts made by UNEFS for 100 years have currently led to the consolidation of a university with international credibility and visibility. The efforts of teachers and students have been recognised and appreciated by the scientific and professional community in the large international family of physical education and sport.


ICSSPE: What can the ICSSPE membership jointly do to help in this context?

Stanescu: The context of Romanian higher education currently requires achieving quality standards and academic performance that increase the visibility of universities and their position in international rankings. The UNEFS specificity, which is conferred by the fact that it organises study programmes in a single field of science, makes this task extremely difficult. The partnership with ICSSPE can help us to know models of good practice and to formulate an appropriate strategy for the coming years.