„The Paperweight”

an interview with PhD Olaf Ciszak, Professor of Poznan University of Technology, the Dean of The Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and the author of the film

Ewa Kotus: Professor, the Poznan University of Technology is one of the most important universities in Poland, and the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering teaches a number of attractive courses: Mechanics and mechanical engineering – for those who want to know how things work and how they are made, Mechatronics, for those who want to bring mechanics to life, Biomedical Engineering – for those who want to develop advanced technologies in medicine, Production management and engineering – for those who want to be leaders and managers of production processes. Courses that fit in with the needs of the modern world, but how, in a social media that is crowded with all kinds of proposals, do we invite people to study them?

And here is The Faculty of Mechanical Engineering film – ”The Paperweight”. It is remarkable because it is short, but strong in its message: entertains, intrigues, motivates, educates, a film to remember forever. Who came up with such an unusual idea to get such a strong reception from the audience?

Prof. PhD Olaf Ciszak: I am fortunate to have a very dynamic and creative team working in the Department. I once said: I want a film with a ”wow!” effect.

We wanted to do something that had not yet been done in Poland. Someone dropped the word robot, someone else the dark room and and that’s how it started. We found a producer who we inspired with our idea, he added a few ideas of his own and here it is – ”The Paperweight”.

And a month later they came to me with the first version of the film. I have to admit that I was surprised myself. We weren’t sure if our specific community was ready for such a super production? But the film is mainly targeted at young people, so we thought it was worth a try. Now, when I get a lot of calls from other universities congratulating me, I’m very happy that there is such a positive feedback on the film.

Ewa Kotus: In today’s world, competition also concerns universities. What is the importance of promotion for a university such as Poznan University of Technology?

Prof. PhD Olaf Ciszak: The promotion of the faculty is of high importance to us. It is important for us to consciously create the image of the Faculty of

Mechanical Engineering, both on social media and in collaboration with industry.

We are aware that the Internet is a natural environment for Polish teenagers, which is why we do not focus on one communication channel, through social media (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Youtube) – we communicate with our audience, which is mainly young people, we share interesting insights from the life of the Faculty.

We also strongly emphasise that it was from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering established in 1919 (formerly the School of Engineering), that the history of higher technical education in Poznan began …

Ewa Kotus: The Faculty therefore has a very rich tradition, which in today’s world is of vital importance to those who choose …

Prof. PhD Olaf Ciszak: The most important issue is the conscious choice of university and faculty made by young people.

Promoting the Faculty and what it has to offer, sharing interesting facts about the life of the various Faculties and the successes of our Students and Staff, are very important to us.At the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, we have been inviting and organising laboratory visits for secondary schools for many years now, during which we talk about the various courses of study, highlighting the issues covered during the course of study and the career opportunities after graduation. We noted that the issue of finding a well-paid job is particularly important. We are fortunate that the Wielkopolskie Voivodeship is well industrialised, and in Poznań itself and the immediate surroundings there are plenty of manufacturing companies that need specialists with the competences that graduates of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering have. A market survey conducted on our behalf shows that 98% of our graduates get the job they dream of. Our graduates are highly valued among employers, as our staff also actively collaborate with the socio-economic environment by carrying out numerous research and implementation projects involving our students, which allows the employer to get to know them before making a hiring decision.

Ewa Kotus: 98% of Faculty graduates get the job they dream of? That’s impressive! So the level of science meets, or perhaps exceeds, the demands of today’s job market. The symbol of modern technology is the Robot. The one shown in the video is created for the purposes of a film, but, after all, when discussing the subject seriously, robots are already working even in hospitals and are the ones that can provide the most precise movements needed during very complex surgeries. This collaboration between human and robot is no longer a science fiction film, and it is not a theme of the future, it is the need of the modern world …

Prof. PhD Olaf Ciszak: This is exactly the message of our short film: technology gives us infinite possibilities, but humans are the most important in all of this –

they are the ones who design and programme the robots that make our lives easier.

The film may seem fictional, but in fact the future engineers are already surprising us with their ingenuity during their studies. Our aim is to create engineers for Industry 4.0, where collaboration between humans and machines is crucial. Thanks to our mechanics and mechatronics, we are able to design robots that work in places inaccessible to humans. For example, it could be monitoring sewers or inspecting mine dumps, or working on reactors at nuclear power plants … Robots replace humans in hard physical work in agriculture, such as planting tree seedlings on mountainsides; robots replace humans in monotonous work on the production line, such as assembling components in mechanical equipment. Overall, it can be said that the possibilities of using robots in everyday life are vast, and we are only limited by our imagination.

Ewa Kotus: How far is there international scientific cooperation in the field of robot creation, I am thinking here of seminars, conferences …? What is the proposal for students to develop themselves scientifically in this field?

Prof. PhD Olaf Ciszak: Both, Poznan University of Technology and the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering place great emphasis on international cooperation, which allows us to keep abreast of global trends, provide our students with knowledge of the latest research results, but also allows us to benefit from the experience of other universities. Poznan University of Technology is a leader of the EUNICE European University, allowing our students to take part in courses organised at partner universities in Germany, Spain, Belgium, Italy, France and Finland, both onsite and online, not only in building robots, but also in other engineering topics and developing soft skills, which are also important for proper functioning in today’s society. The staff of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering are highly mobile and willing to participate in seminars and scientific conferences organised by foreign research centres and universities, allowing us to discuss our ideas with scientists from all over the world on an ongoing basis. We also invite visiting professors from foreign universities to the Faculty to personally share their knowledge with our students expanding their horizons. The open lectures organised at the Poznań University of Technology, to which specialists, experts in a particular field from literally all over the world are invited, are also extremely popular.

Ewa Kotus: Jurors from different parts of the world evaluated the film during an online jury and all rated it very highly. That is, the film fulfils its role in an international sense and is therefore an invitation not only to Polish students …

Prof. PhD Olaf Ciszak: The potential of the courses taught at our Faculty is great, and we intend to extend education in all fields of study also in English. We therefore welcome young people and students from all over the world to join us.

We are pleased that when the film was presented at international conferences, it received a very positive reception.

Ewa Kotus: So the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at Poznań University of Technology has earned a high position in international rankings?

Prof. PhD Olaf Ciszak: Thanks to the mobility of our employees and their many successes on the international stage, we have seen that this is the case. The faculty is gaining in international rankings. This naturally results in an increasing interest in our educational offerings among foreign students who wish to continue their studies with us at the master’s programmes. Our promotional film is also aimed at them and is an invitation to our modern laboratories, which we are systematically upgrading with modern equipment, which has also already received international attention.

Ewa Kotus: And what is the coverage of all the faculties of the Poznan University of Technology in the international subject? Are lectures given in English? How quickly can a student from the other side of the world learn Polish?

Prof. PhD Olaf Ciszak: The full offer of education is available on the homepage of the Poznan University of Technology. At the moment, following the recruitment for the current academic year, Poznan University of Technology has launched education in 39 faculties in Polish and 8 faculties in English. We are systematically expanding our English-language course offerings, as we are seeing increasing interest in our courses, including among young people benefiting from the Erasmus+ programme. As far as the ability to learn Polish is concerned, I guess it depends on individual predisposition, but thanks to the vibrant Centre for Foreign Languages, the team at the Department of International Relations and the EUNICE project offering free language courses available online, Poznan University of Technology certainly makes this task much easier.

Ewa Kotus: Film ‘The Paperweight’ was awarded first prize in the international competition of the 17th FilmAT Festival in the category Human Resources: recruitment & selection, employer branding. This is a great success, as the level of films at this year’s festival was very high. Such a good film will go down in the history of corporate filmmaking and will be used to educate a new generation of filmmakers.

Prof. PhD Olaf Ciszak: The film is exactly what we wanted: it is short, it grabs your attention – it even draws you in, it has a clear and strong message with a touch of humour. I don’t think we’ll ever get tired of it! We are delighted that our implementation idea was recognised in an international competition.

Ewa Kotus: Yes, this film will never get boring … ! Thank you for the interview.

The poster and photos from the film set are property of The Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of the Poznan University of Technology

„The paper weight”
– 17th FilmAT Festival – 1st prize in Category:
CORPORATE FILMS/Human Resources: recruitment & selection, employer branding, personalities/portraits

„The Paperweight”