Extended meeting of the Academic Council took place at UzhNU

Extended meeting of the Academic Council took place at UzhNU

An extended meeting of the Academic Council took place before the beginning of the new academic year at UzhNU. It was attended by the leaders of the region and also the city. The Rector of UzhNU Professor Volodymyr Smolanka sent his greetings on the occasion of the beginning of the new academic year and the national holidays of Ukraine to the participants and presented the achievements of the university for the previous year and prospects for the academic year 2015-2016.

"The academic year that is over was challenging but successful for our team, - said the rector. – The year which begins will be decisive for us. In the process of reforming higher education in Ukraine our university has not only preserved the status of the leading educational and research center of the region, the centre of culture and social life, a participant of development strategies of the Transcarpathian region and the Carpathian region as a whole, but has also been included in the list of the most successful universities".

The Rector noted that this year's admission campaign was quite difficult. Firstly, because of significant changes in admission rules which were often confusing for applicants. Another factor that significantly affected the campaign was high competition not only among Ukrainian universities but also among Ukrainian and foreign ones offering a number of free programs. "The results of this year’s independent testing also affected the situation. Poor level of preparation of school leavers in exact sciences led to a decrease in the popularity of physics and mathematical specialities, - said Volodymyr Smolanka. - In addition, there is unfavorable demographic trend in Ukraine, for the last three years in succession the number of secondary schools leavers has been decreasing. We will be able to reach last year's number of graduates only in 2021".

According to the Rector, a number of directions offered by UzhNU retain their popularity. These are geography, journalism, law, tourism, medicine, etc. By the way, some faculties admitted more students than some specialized universities of Ukraine. In particular, more students were admitted to the speciality "Dentistry" than by Odessa and Zaporizhzhia Medical Universities. During the last academic year new popular specialities were licensed at UzhNU: "Hotel and restaurant business", "Physical Education", "International Relations", "International Information" etc. Budget funded placed have been allocated for all new specialities.

"Students have been admitted to all budget funded placed allocated to our university - said the Rector. – We have admitted more than 1 000 students, 142 applicants entered the Natural Sciences and Humanities College of UzhNU. More than 1 000 students will pay for tuition".

The majority of this year’s freshers come from Transcarpathia, but the significant number of first year students comes from the western regions of Ukraine (Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Volyn and Rivne). There are also young people from eastern Ukraine. "Applicants start paying attention to such figures as university ranking among the universities of Ukraine. In this regard, we pay great attention to the position of UzhNU in the national and world university rankings - says Volodymyr Smolanka. - The most important one is the Consolidated Ranking of Ukrainian Universities. If, since 2008 we did not rise higher than the 41th position, this year we rapidly climbed to the 30th place. This fact confirms the status of our university as one of the most dynamic universities of Ukraine".

This year UzhNU improved its positions in all rankings. In particular, according to Webometircs UzhNU occupies the 26th place, it is the 39th in the Top 200 universities of Ukraine. It jumped from the 45th to the 18th position in the Transparency Ranking of Universities during the year. "Such achievements determine the preferences of applicants, and they are a good indicator among Ukrainian and foreign colleagues for further cooperation," - added the Rector of UzhNU. Volodymyr Smolanka also presented the analysis of his activity as a rector by the priorities identified by him after his election to the office. "Democratic and effective governance" was among the first priorities. "All decisions taken by the Academic Council, regulations and Rector’s orders are published on our website; all financial activity is open, - explained Volodymyr Smolanka. - Web pages of faculties and departments are actively updated, the work of the Scientific and Methodological Council of UzhNU has been recommenced. Grant committee for coordination and management of grants has been created, etc".

We have got the licenses allowing to train bachelors in 10 new directions and masters in 9 new directions. The average teaching load for the teaching staff has been reduced (the maximum workload is 600 academic hours).

According to the Rector, renovation and reconstruction of some university buildings, facilities and utilities are being actively done. New gas boiler equipment will be installed, and water supply utilities will be replaced in university hostels this year.

Another important priority of the university development is "Modernization and competitiveness of education". With regards to this direction the provisions regulating the organization of educational process have been adopted, an electronic repository of scientific publications has been developed, WiFi has been installed in the main laboratory building of Uzhhorod National University and at the Faculty of Medicine and all academic buildings have been united into a single high-speed LAN. UzhNU students are actively involved in academic mobility programmes: in particular, this year 40 students studied at the Pomeranian Academy, 25 are ready to study there starting from September. 15 exchange agreements have been signed with European universities within Erasmus + programme. "More than 300 foreign students are currently studying at UzhNU, 51 of them have already received diplomas of UzhNU. In the coming months we are expecting for 150 more students from abroad ", - said the Rector. They will study not only medicine but also engineering, international law and international relations.

Volodymyr Smolanka also told about the achievements of the university in the field of science and innovation. During the previous academic year 25 textbooks and more than 800 scientific articles have been published by UzhNU professionals (250 of them in foreign journals). Scientists of UzhNU defended 10 candidate and 3 doctoral dissertations, 7 colleagues received the academic titles of professors and 50 ones of senior lecturers. 242 postgraduates study at UzhNU. The university received 35 patents of Ukraine for inventions and useful models, the Science park of UzhNU has been created.

"At the end of April we established the International Consortium of Universities. We are ready to join the Danube Rectors’ Conference and the European Association of Universities. We are expected to launch four projects supported by the Norwegian Financial Mechanism ", - said the rector. He also dwelt on the social development of the university and public life. One of the important achievements in this direction is the rearrangement of all sports facilities into a single sports complex and the reconstruction of "Skalka" recreation center.

As to the plans for the academic year 2015-2016, the main event will be the celebration of the 70th anniversary of UzhNU. The university is going to continue implementing the provisions of the new law on higher education. It is planned to open new specialties and expand academic mobility of students. Volodymyr Smolanka also drew attention to the fact that people in other countries could learn more about UzhNU by reading the English version of the official university website.

After the report the Rector of UzhNU Volodymyr Smolanka presented university researchers with scientific degree diplomas. The participants of the meeting were also greeted by the head of the Transcarpathian Regional Council Volodymyr Chubirko who informed them about the preparation of a new agreement between the Transcarpathian region and Hungary. According to it some money is to be spent on the development of the university. Welcoming speeches were also delivered by the Mayor of Uzhhorod Viktor Pohorelov and deputy head of the Transcarpathian Regional Administration Oleksandr Petik.