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Special interview with Evgenia Mikhailova: “I wanted to become a president…”

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«Yakutia»

Special interview

Evgenia Mikhailova: “I wanted to become a president…”

When in April 2010 in accordance with the decree of President of Russia Dmitriy Medvedev, Yakut State University was transformed into M.K. Ammosov North-Eastern Federal University. At that time the President of Sakha Republic Vyacheslav Shtyrov claimed that achieving the status of the federal university to the Republic’s head University and it’s further development – is the republic’s main megaproject. We have discussed with university rector Evgenia Mikhailova about the first anniversary year in new status, about plans and prospects for the near future.

Year of major and minor victories

-          Evgenia Isaevna, what are the main achievements in the past year would you like to mention?

-          Firstly, 2015 year was declared as the Year of Victory. Specially for the 70th anniversary of the Great Victory, a group of our employees have finished long-term research on exploring the names of our fellow countrymen went to war from Yakut Pedagocical Institute that was the progenitor of our university.


We managed to restore the full list consisting of 383 surnames from which 240 were students. Their names were engraved in golden letters on the memorial “The glory to the victors” in the very center of the campus.

 

It is critically important for our education of each other and of course the students. The memorial made by a professor of NEFU Engineering and Technology Institute Afanasy Romanov became a diamond of our campus and harmoniously blended into the architecture. Students already call this place our Victory Square.

 

Secondly, I would like to mark the events dedicated to NEFU’s fifth anniversary passed in the beginning of this year. We intentionally did not conducted a magnificent celebration and emphasized the attention of supervisory board’s attention to the university development issues. Republic’s President Egor Borisov and the Chair of the Government Galina Danchikova were taking part in the board’s session and this fact shows a great interest of the Republic’s leadership in our work.

 

Besides, Russian Minister of Education Dmitry Livanov has visited us under the framework of the anniversary and we have addressed our concerns to him. Now, I note with satisfaction that some of those issues successfully solved.

 

For example, a final decision to build a study and research laboratory for Medical Institute in 68th district of Yakutsk, and a new dormitory was made on 6th of October. It is a great success for us to which we have been moving for a long time, and overcame many obstacles and challenges.

 

I must say about achievements in education itself. In particular, independent tests of the students’ knowledge conducted by Rosobrnadzor. It is a very high-level tests conducting with utilizing the video and complex methods.

Moreover, our students showed quality not less than 94 percent in such a complex disciplines like Math, Physics and Biology in the presence of experts from various universities. Probably this is our major achievement representing the benefit of cooperative work of all the university’s community, because the ordinary students did the test.

 

The most important is not the participation

-          There are more and more news about your students taking part in various international and Russian science Olympiads. Is this the way to show a grown level of knowledge or the way to encourage the best students?

-          Both I would say. I always watch with great interest how our students perform in different competitions. Here we also have things to be proud of but in particular, I would like to mark our medical students during Russian Olympiad that has passed in April at the first Moscow Medical University. Guys conducted a very complicated operation on the connection of the nerve in tibia and Achilles tendon.

In general, I would say that in is not the first year when our future surgeons considered the best in the Far East of Russia. Obviously there are objective reasons for that, this is a fruit of hard work of our Medical Institute to create a simulation center utilizing the experience of South Korean universities. Therefore, the participation in Olympiads is important, as well as achieving success at them. 

 

Pedagogy of comics

-          Who else was distinguished besides the medical students?

-          We achieved success almost at every study programme, including the most traditional for our university – pedagogical. University’s physical science team won at the international pedagogical Olympiad in Moscow University, they presented a new technology of teaching pupils using… comics.

-          Wow! At least it is quite surprising and modern.

-          Exactly. They surprised everyone including jury. Moreover, there is more and more fields where our students displaying the unconventional approaches. We already get used to the fact that NEFU programmers under the direction of experienced Professor N.N. Pavlov have no equal in the Far East of Russia, and recently they got the second place during international championship.

 

Science and ranking

-          Well, Evgeniya Isaevna, the university strengthens its positions not only as educational institution but also as a regional science center annually. When we talk about fundamental researches, are there any conflicts between NEFU and local branches of scientific divisions of Russian Academy of Sciences?

-          They exist, and it directly affects the NEFU in annual rankings.

-          Would you please explain?

-          In the past, we set the task to enter the list of the Russia’s forty best Universities. Last year we were on the 38th position, this year we are already at 32nd. Actually, we should made a step forward.

That is because some of our employees who are also famous scientists forget to mention their second work place. Thus, they are using the university’s labs with modern equipment and assets.

As we know, during ranking preparation, they looking for institution where research was made, as a result, in the «science» ranking we are only at the 61st position. This factor is drowning our general position in the ranking.

 

Chukotka became closer

-When we talk about NEFU, we usually talking about the largest campus located in Yakutsk. However, what about the university’s branches? Particularly, Chukotka branch? How strongly university needs it?

- When we were preparing the grounding document for federal status, at that time I have already insisted on the necessity of opening a branch in Chukotka the only region in the Far Eastern District without any university. Most of the Far Eastern governors supported my proposal, including of course the governor of Chukotka Roman Kopin.

Nowadays Chukotka branch is not some kind of a burden. All assets maintained by regional budget and we have to say that regional authorities took it seriously. They provide all necessary equipment for classrooms and lecture halls, opening new labs. We only provide a salary for professors and scholarships, business trips for students and professors.

Now about socialization let me give you one example. Annually, we are bringing all students from our branch to Yakutsk to the Freshman Day party to let them feel that they are a part of one big student family. Undergraduates from the branch are also having some courses here.

 

Multidisciplinary issue

-          Could you describe a development of the University’s cooperation with leading enterprises in Yakutia? During recent parliamentary session in Mirniy, there were some claims criticizing huge enterprises for not paying attention to train their personnel in Yakut educational institutions.

-          I would say that with varying success. We should understand that such giants like «Gazprom» or «Surgutneftegaz» have long-term contracts with other universities signed long time ago before NEFU existed.

Nevertheless, they are coming to understanding, that level of education in our university is already have little difference from ones in central Russia. «Gazprom» have already opened some classrooms at our university. I am sure that «Surgutneftegaz» will do the same soon as «Rosneft» that recently started to operate in Yakutia. All this directly connected with our solution to our main issue that is multidisciplinary nature of the university.  

-          I thought that it is an advantage.

-          It is, in case of permanent increase of capital investments.

Everyone are saying that we have a lot of money. However, in the first place there is never enough money. Secondly, in comparison to the profiled technical universities we have more than 400 study programmes dedicated to support human. Every particular programme requires constant updates and severe conformity to standards. And here we can’t make it without private investments.

 

About presidency

-          Evgenia Isaevna, people were asking why you did not signed a new five-year contract. Could you please answer to that ticklish question?

-          There is nothing ticklish about this question (she is smiling, --F.G.). In addition to managing such an enormous collective, I’m also engaged in parliamentary activity, as you understand I cannot fulfil my duties sloppily so that’s why I wrote a statement that I want to become a president…

-          President of what?

-          University of course, to pay more attention to my work in Il-Tumen (Yakut parliament) reserving the right to be engaged into strategic decision-making in NEFU without going deep into operational issues which are consuming a lot of time. Furthermore, reserves are ready, people are trained in Skolkovo and famous Universities, mastered foreign languages and they morally ready to take the responsibilities.

         So I’m not going anywhere, using the opportunity I would like to congratulate all our employees and students, their parents and also all citizens of Yakutia with upcoming Happy New year, best wishes and understanding of the fact that there is still a lot of work to do in the future.      


Fedor GRIGORIEV


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