With the establishment of the Faculty and enrollment of the first generation of students in the academic year 1975/76, 250 new students were enrolled in the first year of study. Faculty of Economics in Banja Luka started its work, de facto and de iure, with that academic year because on 30th September 1975 the First Council of the Faculty was constituted, and the first dean of the Faculty was elected. Responsibility and the honor of being the first Dean of the Faculty was awarded to Prof. Jovan Rodić, who was previously appointed to the teaching position at the Faculty of Economics in Sarajevo. It was a responsible and difficult duty, establishing a faculty without the basic material and human resources. There were no space, personnel, financial resources, nothing other than enrolled students. But when there are students, responsible Professors will work in order to compensate the lack of other conditions in the implementation of the educational process.
First generations of students had great respect toward Prof. Jovan Rodić and other Professors and associates, as they were aware of the advantage of studying in their home city as well as of the correct relationship of Professors and other staff toward students. This relationship of mutual respect between Professors and students exists even today, which has become, in some way, the relationship code at the Faculty.
Our Faculty is among the middle-generation members of the University of Banja Luka http://www.unibl.rs.sr/. In this regard, conditionally speaking, all its members can be divided into three generations, taking into account year of the establishment of some of its higher education organizations.
The first generation includes those faculties that were established well before the establishment of the University. These are the Technical Faculty (i.e. Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Faculty of Technology), Teacher Training College, and Higher School of Economics and Commerce.
The second generation includes those faculties that were established immediately before or after the establishment of the University. In addition to our Faculty, this generation includes Faculty of Law, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Faculty of Medicine.
The third generation includes those faculties that were established after 1991, and those are the remaining 7 organizations of higher education: Faculty of Philosophy, Faculty of Forestry, Faculty of Agriculture, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Faculty of Architecture and Civil Engineering, Academy of Arts and Faculty of Sport and Physical Education. Three new faculties were established in 2009: Faculty of Mining in Prijedor, and Faculty of Political Sciences and Faculty of Philology in Banja Luka.
Despite the fact that we are not in the group of the oldest institutions of higher education of the University of Banja Luka, one can say that we are among the most organized, best equipped and responsible member of the University in carrying out functions in accordance with the Law on Higher Education of the Republic of Srpska.
In its efforts to reach these features, our Faculty has undergone four stages of development. The first phase coincides with the period between 1975 and 1978.
This is the period that began with the establishment, and continued with personnel and material and financial strengthening of the organization, and solving spatial issues. When it comes to the issue of space, until the summer semestar of the academic year 1976/77 the Faculty worked in the premises of the elementary school "Georgi Stojkov-Rakovski", and afterwards it used the premises of the former Higher School of Economics, as a tenant. With the closing of the Higher School of Economics in 1980, the Faculty became legal successor of that School and the sole owner of the whole building where we are today.
That period was also characterized by a willingness of the former Republic Executive Council to provide appropriate conditions for the development of newly established faculties and universities, which positively reflected on their functioning. For example, university Professors who did not have their housing problem solved were rare at that time, which was the merit of authorities of the City of Banja Luka and the former Republic Executive Council of BiH.
In the second part of this period there were already evident signs of stagnation, which was induced by the fictional, i.e. staged political affair. It was a so-called verbal crime that was attributed to some Professors and assistants.
Unfortunately, the Scientific-Educational Council and the Faculty Council have succumbed to pressure from the then government and decided to exclude three colleagues from the educational process.
As a result of this affair, suspicion and mutual distrust aroused among colleagues at the Faculty, which negatively affected the work with the students and the quality of the process.
The events of that time represent the ugliest period in this Faculty's life, as if they foreboded the beginning of a difficult period, but this time not only for the Faculty, but also for our wider region.
The second phase in the life of our Faculty (which cannot be called the phase of development), is related to the period between 1991 and 1995, or the period of civil war which begun in the territory of Croatia and strongly reflected on our region, only to burst out in its full destructive force on the territory of former Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The characteristics of this period are:
- termination of all scientific and professional contacts with all the economic faculties of the former Yugoslavia, except with the economic faculties from Serbia,
- very pronounced fluctuation of students and teaching staff,
- material and financial crisis,
- complete isolation from the modern scientific trends,
- almost the entire male student population was more present in the units of the Army of the Republic of Srpska than in the students' benches;
- also, a number of teaching staff were active participants in the war;
scientific research completely stopped.
- Nevertheless, the teaching process at our Faculty was not interrupted even for a day; examinations were held regularly according to schedule, which was known in advance for the entire academic year.
Looking from this distance, we can say for sure: it was a miracle to survive, i.e. not to close the Faculty that was working in such harsh conditions. To a great extent we survived thanks to the help that we had from our colleagues at economic faculties from Serbia, for which we are very grateful even today, and, understandably, thanks to the zealous work of all employees at the Faculty and the will of our students to learn and attend classes at times when they were not in military units. The activity and the skill of then dean Prof. Vladislav Đurasović and his vice-deans should be specially mentioned.
The third phase of the development of the Faculty starts from the end of the Civil War in BiH. This is the period that still lasts and which is characterized by the development in the true sense of the word.
The financial situation of the Faculty has improved significantly compared to the previous period. The necessary repairs of the Faculty's buildings have been done, two computer classrooms have been equipped with 120 seats, which are available daily to students, and all offices are equipped with personal computers. The Faculty is open for cooperation with European and American faculties of the same specialization. Most of our Professors and assistants spent their time on either longer or shorter study researches at some of the world’s universities. A number of our students are also involved in the implementation of international projects. The Faculty is involved in the international TEMPUS project, from which it comes out enriched with contemporary experiences in the organization of educational process, donated with new teaching equipment, with new findings about trends in specific areas of economic theory and practice. A new organization of the Institute was adopted, which from an organizational unit of the Faculty became a legal entity, under the name Institute of Economic Science. In recent years, the Institute has been working much more successfully than before 1992, when it was easier to find a job than it is today.
The fourth phase of the Faculty of Economics begins with the adoption of the Law on Higher Education in late 2006. By this Law the University was established as an integrated institution, whose activities should be in accordance with the Bologna process. So, the capacity of legal entities of all faculties was extinguished, their bank accounts were closed and by general regulations of the University decisions became centralized and nonfunctional more than ever in the history of the Faculty.
What represents a stabilizing factor for the good work is the fact that in 2007 a complete reconstruction of the Faculty building of 3,200 square meters was conducted, by replacing worn-out installations, installing new internet network, fire alarm system, video surveillance and new furniture. In 2008, the fourth floor of the Faculty building was built in an area of 1,000 square meters of new space with built-in panoramic elevator, as well as a new space for students' rest, which we call "The Student's Club".
In this way, the Faculty with 4,054.73 m2 of space meets 55% of space required in relation to the number of students, according to the Regulations of the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Srpska. All offices are equipped with computers, and there are also four computers with Internet access for the student's use in the main hall. The Government of the Republic of Srpska has invested 1.7 million Euros in these two projects. Students, Professors, associates and other employees at the Faculty owe much gratitude to the Government and make efforts to use all this properly and keep it for future generations.
After presenting the first generation of graduates, staff reinforcement, establishing cooperation with other faculties from the region of former Yugoslavia, Faculty of Economics in Banja Luka created conditions to start with the post-graduate and specialist studies.
Starting from the academic 1979/80 when the first generation of future Masters of Science was enrolled, until today 1178 students have been enrolled in 14 M.Sc. post-graduate studies in area of organization and management, export marketing, financial management, transition and reconstruction of Economics in post-socialist countries, world Economics and the European Union. Unfortunately, of that number both absolutely and relatively small number of students completed their studies – just 137 of them.
The first Master thesis on our faculty was defended on 23rd October 1982. The candidate for Master of Science was Ms. Nada Adamović.
The Faculty of Economics would introduce each successive higher level of education into the process only when a reliable assessment would confirm that there was sufficient, critical mass of its own scientific staff that was able to respond to the demanding level of higher degree of scientific education. The same applied for mentoring of candidates for PhD degree.
The first defense of a doctoral dissertation at our Faculty was performed on 26th December 1986. The first doctoral candidate was M.Sc. Aleksandar Kresojević.
Until the first doctoral dissertation, the Faculty has gained a ten-year experience of scientific-research institution – sufficient to meet the new demands that are placed before the institution of this kind in order to be qualified, not only formally but substantively, to defend the scientific contributions coming under the name of these institutions.
From its foundation until today, 63 candidates have acquired the scientific degree of a Ph.D. at this Faculty.
From the very beginning, the dynamic development of our environment posed before the Faculty many, complex and responsible tasks. Their resolution required the development of scientific and teaching staff and scientific research, the development of theoretical thinking in the field of economic science, continuous improvement of the curriculum in accordance with the development of economic science. In order to ensure that we function in the interest of Economics and society as a whole, we continuously innovate our curriculum. Over the past 40 academic years the Faculty implemented 8 curricula, while the harmonization of curricula of individual courses is set as the current task of every responsible Professor and assistant.
158 Professors and assistants were involved in the implementation of all these curricula. It started with 12 Professors and five assistants in the first academic year – 1975/76, to increase the staff coverage of the educational process from year to year until the civil war in BiH. After the war, comes the phase of re-staffing, and qualitative and quantitative strengthening of the Faculty. Lectures of a certain number of our Professors were of such scientific and educational level that many developed universities in the world would like to have them as their Professors.
In this sense, the generations of students of this Faculty will keep in lasting memory Professors who were Professors by definition; whose lectures were always memorable; who were the embodiment of objectivity in the examination of students; who held each their class with a lot of passion, enthusiasm and energy as if it had been their first class; who as such were the role models for us, their younger colleagues, to build foundation for this Faculty to become the nursery of new ideas in the economics science and profession, if we had the same aspirations. Younger generations owe a great, true and collegial gratitude to them for the foundation that they set.
In a 40-year period, the Faculty also had Professors who were not up to their profession to work with students, regardless of the fact that they were elected to the appropriate positions. They did not know how to pass their knowledge on to students or teach them at least to the satisfactory pass rate, so the Faculty had to thank them for their engagement in order to protect the academic relations and students who were enrolled mainly with high grade point average from high school.
Existing for 40 years, the Faculty of Economics in Banja Luka has developed scientific and educational links with the faculties of economics in the former Yugoslavia and, above all, with the Faculty of Economics in Belgrade, Sarajevo and Zagreb. These links were certainly more useful to our Faculty than to these faculties; because we have just started and they already had an enviable tradition. We should be honest and say that the relationship between these three faculties and our Faculty until 1991 was of such intensity to prove that science cannot have borders.
During the war the Faculty has maintained ties with the faculties of economics in Serbia, and East Sarajevo and Brčko. Communication with the faculties of economics from the pre-war SRBiH was not established until 1997. Since then, our cooperation with the faculties of economics in Sarajevo and Mostar has recorded the upward path. Basically, these are relationships that result from working together in the implementation of individual projects in the TEMPUS Program. True, even joint research projects outside of this program, funded by the Council of Ministers or some international organization, are no longer a rarity. From that point of view, our cooperation with the faculties of economics in Sarajevo and Mostar is receiving the intensity of pre-war communication.
Since 2006 the regular semi-annual meetings of deans of faculties of economics in BiH have begun. Most of the deans of these faculties have realized the need to cooperate and exchange ideas, accomplishments and identify difficulties that we all share. Science and research in the field of Economics should be working together, despite all the differences, because BiH is a small area characterized by the same economic and social problems. Finally, people from science and educational institutions need to demonstrate to young people and other citizens that mutual interests should be developed and improved for the good of us all.
Today, Faculty of Economics has signed agreements on technical and business cooperation with the faculties of economics of the following universities: Mostar, East Sarajevo, Tuzla, Zenica, Sarajevo, Belgrade, Nis, Kragujevac, Podgorica, Kosovska Mitrovica Subotica and Pristina, Polytechnic "Marko Marulić" from Knin, Business Economics Academy from Čačak, and the Association of Accountants and Auditors of the Republic of Srpska and Republic of Serbia, members of the International Federation of Accountants IFAC.
When it comes to our cooperation with the faculties of the same specialization outside of Serbia and BiH, i.e. toward Western European and American universities, the situation is favorable, which comes from the fact that we have achieved more in this area over the past 15 years than in the previous 20 years together. Faculty of Economics has signed an agreement of cooperation and partnership with ISCTE Business School in Lisbon, College of Economics and Management - FOM in Essen and International College for Business of University of Applied Sciences - Fontys in Venlo. Also, before the war was almost inconceivable for assistants to get the chance to go on a study research abroad. Today, it is a practice.
12,103 students have enrolled the Faculty so far. Of this number, ending with 25 August 2015, 5350 students have graduated. Currently, 2544 students have been active on Faculty of Economics.
Faculty of Economics in Banja Luka today is a higher education institution that is proud with the following achievements and values:
- Tradition and modernity – 40 years of existence and successful work.
- A modern curriculum as well as teaching methods and student assessment, modeled on the best educational institutions of this type in Europe and the world (Faculty of Economics in Banja Luka is a pioneer of implementing the provisions of the Bologna Declaration in the RS and BiH. You will be the 10th generation of students studying according to the Bologna study principles).
- A total of 2 Professors Emeritus, 13 Full Professors, 11 Associate Professors, 17 Assistant Professors, 1 Professors of foreign languages, 1 senior assistants PhDs, 12 senior assistants Masters of Science, 3 assistants Masters of Science, 4 assistants graduated economists. Total of 54 Professors and associates in permanent employment.
- The lecturers are distinguished experts in the field they teach, and successful businessmen – so we have a unique compound of science and practice. Exercises are held by the senior assistants and assistants: PhDs and Ph.D. candidates as well as post-graduate students who were selected from among the best students.
- Coverage with its own staff on the first cycle of undergraduate studies is 100%.
- Starting from the academic year 2010/2011, 120 students were enrolled as the first generation of graduate one-year master studies (4+1) in which, along to the Professors from our Faculty, lectures are held also by the eminent experts from the economic faculties from Belgrade, Zagreb, Podgorica, Sarajevo, Mostar, East Sarajevo, Bijeljina, Brcko, Nis and Kragujevac.
- Full compliance with the schedule of lectures and exams for the entire academic year, which are published on our website www.efbl.org and on the notice board of the Faculty at the beginning of each academic year so it cannot happen, for example, that a student prepares the exam and it does not take place or is significantly postponed.
- Large space capacity of 4,054.73 m2, which allows convenient and continuous implementation of teaching and extracurricular activities.
- The Faculty has no architectural barriers, and with a panoramic elevator allows students with disabilities to have the access to amphitheaters and classrooms.
- High-level technical equipment (2 computer classrooms with 120 new computers, projectors, laptop computers, scanners, permanent Internet connection, etc.).
- In order to facilitate the teaching process and to follow modern trends in education, the Faculty has introduced an Internet service (eCampus) through which students can register for examinations electronically.
- All notices, and the results of examinations can be checked on the website of the Faculty, and contacts between students and Professors can be made through the e-mail, or through the Internet forum of the Faculty of Economics, as well as through the regular consultations with students.
- A wide range of extracurricular activities that take place at the Faculty allows students to develop their creativity, acquire new knowledge in areas that particularly interest them, as well as to earn money from these activities. Students of our Faculty, especially students of the third and fourth year of study, participate in numerous national and international projects of high rank, under the supervision of the dean and some Professors, through various organizations at the Faculty.
- The possibility of going abroad for various seminars, trainings, etc. through the Students' Union of the Faculty of Economics, AIESEC, or some of the organizations we have cooperation with.
- In January 2010, the Ministry of Science and Technology of the Republic of Srpska completed ratings of all scientific and professional journals in the Republic of Srpska. At that time, Faculty of Economics journal Acta Economica got the character of scientific journal of national importance. However, in the re-ranking of scientific journals by the Ministry of Science and Technology from 31th of January 2014, Acta Economica has been ranked as the first journal in the field of economics (and the first on the list at all). Therefore, now Acta Economica has the character of the leading scientific journals of national importance according to Section 19th, Paragraph 4th of the Rulebook on publication of scientific publications.
- Since December 2010 "Acta Economica" has its own website www.actaeconomica.efbl.org.
- Behavior, relationship and cooperation between staff and students are regulated by the Code of Conduct for employees and students of the Faculty of Economics, which can be found at the Faculty website.
- High degree of success in business with economists who have graduated at this Faculty (rare are those who have graduated this Faculty in time and not immediately upon graduation got a job in one of the most prestigious companies in the Republic of Srpska). Economists who have graduated at our Faculty are brokers in banks, workers in insurance companies, managers in leading companies, government institutions etc., while the best ones stayed at the Faculty as assistants.
On 1st November 2010, The President of the Republic of Srpska, Academic Rajko Kuzmanovic awarded the Faculty of Economics, University of Banja Luka, the highest award of Medal of Njegoš of the First Order, on the occasion of 35 years of successful work and existence.
In early 2011 the Faculty of Economics signed an agreement on exclusive partnership with Hypo Alpe Adria Group for the period of two years, according to which the exclusive partner donated 50 laptop computers of the last generation to the Faculty.