Faculty of Economics in Banja Luka de facto and de jure started its work in the academic year 1975/76 with the enrollment of the first generation, when 250 new students were enrolled. On 30th September 1975 the Council of the Faculty was constituted, and the first Dean of the Faculty was elected. The responsibility and honor of being the first Dean of the Faculty of Economics was awarded to Prof. Jovan Rodić, PhD, who was previously elected to a teaching position at the Faculty of Economics in Sarajevo. It was a responsible and difficult obligation, to establish a faculty without basic material and human resources. There was no space, personnel, financial resources, nothing but enrolled students. But when there are students, responsible professors will work in order to make up for the lack of other conditions in the implementation of the teaching process.
Students of first generations had a tremendous respect for Prof. Jovan Rodić, PhD, and other teachers and associates, because they were aware of the benefits of studying in their city as well as of the correct relationship of teaching and other staff towards students. This relationship is still respected today between teachers and students, which has become, in a way, a code of relations at the Faculty.
Our Faculty is one of the mid-generation members of the University of Banja Luka http://www.unibl.org. In this regard, conditionally speaking, all its members can be divided into three generations, viewed by the 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 11 organizations of higher education: Faculty of Philosophy, Faculty of Forestry, Faculty of Agriculture, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Faculty of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy, Academy of Arts and Faculty of Physical Education and Sport. Three new faculties were established in 2009: Faculty of Mining in Prijedor, Faculty of Political Science and Faculty of Philology in Banja Luka, and in 2017, the Faculty of Security Science was established.
Despite the fact that we are not in the group of the oldest higher education institutions of the University of Banja Luka, it can be stated that we are among the most organized, best equipped and most responsible members of the University in the performance of functions in accordance with the Law on Higher Education of the Republic of Srpska.
In an effort to reach such characteristics, our Faculty has undergone four phases of development.
The first phase coincides with the period from 1975 to 1991. 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 spatial issue, until the summer semester 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 College of Economics and Commerce, as a tenant. With the closing of the College of Economics and Commerce in 1980, the Faculty became its legal successor and the owner of the building in which 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 issue solved were rare at that time, which was the merit of authorities of the City of Banja Luka as well as the former Republic Executive Council of BiH.
The second phase in the life of our Faculty (which cannot be called the phase of development), is related to the period from 1991 to 1995, or the period of civil war that began on 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 faculties of economics of the former SFR Yugoslavia, except with the faculties of economics from Serbia,
- very pronounced fluctuation of students and teaching staff,
- material and financial crisis,
- complete isolation from contemporary scientific trends,
- almost the entire male student population was more present in the units of the Republic of Srpska Army than in the students' benches;
- also, a number of teaching staff were active participants in the war,
- the scientific and research work was completely stopped.
Nevertheless, the teaching process at our Faculty was not interrupted even for a day, the exams were regularly held according to schedules that were known in advance for the entire academic year.
Looking from this distance, surely, we will say: it was a miracle to survive, that is, not to shut down by working in such conditions. To a great extent we survived thanks to the help that we had from our colleagues at faculties of economics 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, PhD, and his vice-deans should be specially mentioned.
The third phase of the development of the Faculty starts with the end of the Civil War in BiH.
The financial situation of the Faculty has improved significantly compared to the previous period. The necessary renovation of the Faculty building has been carried out, 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 orientation. Most of our professors and teaching assistants have attended longer or shorter study research 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, with new teaching equipment donated, 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 registered as 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 work 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, all faculties lost their capacity of legal entities and their bank accounts were closed. 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, and new furniture. During 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 that 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, teachers, associates and other employees at the Faculty owe much gratitude to the Government of the Republic of Srpska and make every effort 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 postgraduate and specialist studies.
Starting from the academic year 1979/80 when the first generation of future Magisters of Science was enrolled, until today 1178 students have been enrolled in 14 Magister postgraduate studies in the field of organization and management, export marketing, financial management, transition and reconstruction of economies in post-socialist countries, the world economics and the European Union. Unfortunately, of that number both absolutely and relatively small number of students completed their studies – just 320 of them.
The first Magister thesis on our faculty was defended on 23rd October 1982. The candidate for Magister 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, such as a doctoral dissertation in the field of economics science.
The first defense of a doctoral dissertation at our Faculty was performed on 26th December 1986. The first doctoral candidate was Aleksandar Kresojević, M.Sc.
Until the first doctoral dissertation, the Faculty had gained ten years of experience of a scientific-research institution – enough to meet the new requirements being put before institutions of this kind to be qualified, not only formally but substantially, to protect and defend the scientific contributions coming under the name of these institutions.
From its foundation until today, 88 candidates have earned their Ph.D. degrees 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 the economy and society as a whole, we have continuously innovated our curricula. Over the past 45 academic years the Faculty has implemented 8 curricula, while harmonizing the curricula of individual courses is set as an ongoing task for each responsible professor and teaching assistant.
167 teachers and assistants were involved in the implementation of all these curricula. It started with 12 teachers and five teaching assistants in the first academic year – 1975/76, to increase the staff coverage of the educational process from year to year until the beginning of the civil war in BiH. After the war followed the phase of staffing, qualitative and quantitative strengthening of the Faculty. The lectures of a certain number of our professors were of such scientific and educational level that many developed universities in the world would want to have them in their departments.
In this sense, the generations of students of this Faculty will keep in lasting memory professors who were professors par excellence; whose lectures have long been remembered; who have been consistent in examining and evaluating students; who held each their class with as much passion, enthusiasm and energy as if it had been their first class; who are, as such, 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 have similar aspirations. Younger generations owe a great, genuine and collegial gratitude to them for the foundations they have laid for us.
During the 45-year period, there were also professors at the Faculty who did not achieve more noticeable results in working with students, so the Faculty had to thank them for their previous engagement.
Having existed for 45 years, the Faculty of Economics in Banja Luka has developed scientific and educational links with all the faculties of economics in the former SFR Yugoslavia and, above all with the Faculty of Economics in Belgrade, Sarajevo and Zagreb. These links have certainly benefited our Faculty more than these faculties; we were just emerging 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 that it proved that science could have no boundaries.
During the past war, the Faculty maintained contacts with the faculties of economics in Serbia, East Sarajevo and Brčko. There was no communication with the faculties of economics from the pre-war SRBiH until 1997. Since then, our cooperation with the faculties of economics in Sarajevo and Mostar has recorded the upward trend. Mainly, those were relationships that resulted from working together in the implementation of individual projects within the TEMPUS Program. True, even joint research projects outside of this program, funded by the Council of Ministers of BiH 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 getting the intensity of pre-war communication.
Since 2006 the regular semi-annual meetings of deans of the faculties of economics in BiH have begun. Most of the deans of these faculties have realized the need to cooperate and share experiences, accomplishments and identify difficulties that we all share. Cooperation is necessary, regardless of all existing differences, because BiH is a small area characterized by the same economic and social problems. Finally, teachers employed by higher education institutions must show young people, as well as other citizens, that common interests need to be developed and promoted.
Today, the Faculty of Economics also has signed agreements on technical and business cooperation with the faculties of economics of the following universities: Mostar, East Sarajevo, Tuzla, Zenica, Sarajevo, Belgrade, Niš, Kragujevac, Podgorica, Kosovska Mitrovica Subotica and Priština, and the Polytechnic "Marko Marulić" from Knin, Business Economics Academy from Čačak, and the Association of Accountants and Auditors of the Republic of Srpska and the Republic of Serbia. When it comes to our cooperation with faculties of the same specialization outside of Serbia and BiH, i.e. Western European and American universities, the situation is favorable, which is a result of the fact that we have achieved more in this field in the last 15 years than in the previous 20 years together. The Faculty of Economics has signed a Cooperation and Partnership Agreement with ISCTE Business School in Lisbon, College of Economics and Management - FOM in Essen, and International College for Business of the University of Applied Sciences Fontys in Venlo. Also, before the war it was almost unimaginable for assistants to get the chance to go on a study research abroad. Today, it is a practice.
21,364 students have enrolled the Faculty so far. Of that number, as of 29th February 2020, 6,142 graduated. 1,130 students are currently studying at the Faculty of Economics in all three study cycles.
The Faculty of Economics in Banja Luka is today a higher education institution that prides itself on the following achievements and values:
- Tradition and modernity – 45 years of existence and successful work.
- A modern curriculum as well as teaching methods and assessment of students, modeled on to the highest quality educational institutions of this type in Europe and the world (Faculty of Economics in Banja Luka has been a pioneer in implementing the provisions of the Bologna Declaration in the RS and BiH. Thirteen generations of students have been studying according to the Bologna principles).
- Lecturers are distinguished experts in the field of teaching and successful businessmen - so we have a unique blend of science and practice. Exercises will be held by senior teaching assistants and teaching assistants: doctors, doctoral students and postgraduates who are selected from among the top students.
- In total, one academic, 13 full professors, 13 associate professors, 10 assistant professors, one foreign language professor, three senior teaching assistants and two teaching assistants. A total of 43 full-time teachers and associates.
- The coverage with the Faculty's own staff on the first cycle studies is 100%.
- From the academic year 2010/2011 to date, 793 students have been enrolled in one-year master's degree program (4+1) where, along to the professors from our Faculty, lectures are also held by the eminent experts from the faculties of economics from Belgrade, Zagreb, Podgorica, Sarajevo, Mostar, East Sarajevo, Bijeljina, Brčko, Niš and Kragujevac.
- Full adherence to the schedule of lectures and exam periods 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 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 the comfortable and continuous implementation of teaching, as well as extracurricular activities.
- The Faculty has no architectural barriers, and with a panoramic elevator it also enables students with disabilities to have access to amphitheaters and classrooms.
- High-level technical equipment (2 computer classrooms with 94 new computers, projectors, laptop computers, scanners, permanent internet connection, etc.).
- In order to facilitate the teaching process and follow current trends in the field of education, the Faculty introduced an online service (FIS) through which students can register for examinations electronically.
- All announcements and exam results can be checked on the Faculty's website, and contacts between students and professors can also be made via email, or through the Faculty's online forum, as well as through 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 the field of their particular interest, as well as earn money from these activities. Students of our Faculty, especially students of the third and fourth year of study, have participated in numerous national and international projects of high rank, under the mentorship of the dean and individual professors, through various organizations at the Faculty.
- The possibility to go abroad to various seminars, trainings, and the like, through the Students' Union of the Faculty of Economics, AIESEC, or one of the organizations we cooperate with.
- In January 2010, the Ministry of Science and Technology of the Republic of Srpska ranked all magazines in the Republic of Srpska. The journal of the Faculty of Economics "Acta Economica" was then given the character of scientific journal of national importance. However, in the re-ranking of scientific journals by the Ministry of Science and Technology of 31st January 2014, "Acta Economica" was ranked as the first journal in the field of economic sciences (and the first on the list in general). Consequently, it now has the character of a leading scientific journal of national importance according to Article 19, Paragraph 4 of the Rulebook on Publication of Scientific Publications.
- Since December 2010, "Acta Economica" has its own website www.ae.ef.unibl.org. During 2018, activities were initiated on international journal indexing.
- The 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 on the Faculty's website.
- High degree of success in business life among economists who graduated from this Faculty (rare are those who graduated from this Faculty in time and did not immediately upon graduation get a job in one of the most prestigious companies in the Republic of Srpska). Economists who graduated from our Faculty are brokers in banks, employees in insurance companies, directors in leading companies, state institutions, while the best ones have remained at the Faculty as teaching assistants.
On 1st November 2010, the President of the Republic of Srpska, Academician Rajko Kuzmanović, PhD, presented the highest award to the Faculty of Economics of the University of Banja Luka, Order of Njegoš, 1st Class, on the occasion of 35 years of successful work and existence.