On 24 August, a meeting of the Association of Higher Education Institutions of the Central Black Earth Region took place in VSU’s nature reserve “Galichya Gora”. Among the participants of the event were representatives of universities from Orel, Tambov, Bryansk, Belgorod, Kursk, Ryazan, and Lipetsk. For the first time, Smolensk State University took part in the meeting. It was represented by the provisional rector Mikhail Artemenkov. Smolensk State University became a full member of the Association.
The first issue on the agenda was a roadmap for the inter-university programme “Ecology” which is to be implemented in the 2018–2019 academic year. The Rector of Bryansk State Engineering and Technological University, Valery Egorushkin, gave a report on the topic:
“Bryansk State Engineering and Technological University and Voronezh State Forest Engineering University have worked together to develop the programme “Ecology”. It focuses on a number of activities. One of them is such events like Nature Reserve Day, Forest Day, and Global Environment Day. These are traditional events which are a part and parcel of the activities of any university. We also suggest developing a plan to organise special events for students at the enterprises that use cutting edge environmental and resource saving technologies. It will make the young people more interested in today’s environmental problems and the development of urban areas.”
The Rector of Bryansk State Engineering and Technological University also mentioned that many universities that are members of the Association have experimental forest areas, dendrologic parks, gardens, and nature reserves. These facilities can be used to develop student tourism by organising excursions there.
The members of the Association agreed to appoint curators in each university who will be responsible for the implementation of the “Ecology” programme in the 2018–2019 academic year.
The members of the Association also had a long discussion about organising work with talented students and the “Digital Economy” programme. The reports were presented by the Rector of Lipetsk State Technical University, Anatoly Pogodayev, the Rector of Bunin Elets State University, Evgeny Gerasimov, the First Vice Rector of Tambov State Technical University, Natalia Molotova, and the Head of the Department of Student Affairs of Esenin Ryazan State University, Yulia Zavertyaeva.
According to the speakers, the programme for the support of gifted youngsters is being implemented in all regions of the Russian Federation and plays a key role. The Rector of Lipetsk State Technical University said that it provides the impetus for the advanced training of teachers from regional and rural schools. He also emphasised how timely it is to create specialised centres for schoolchildren at universities where they will have a chance to practice and develop their skills and talents.
All the participants agreed on the importance of the Engineering Academic Competition for Schoolchildren from Central Russia which was created by the Association and is aimed at finding talented schoolchildren from the 10th–11th years. They made a decision to expand the competition expert committee by the lectures from the Association’s member universities.
The Rector of VSU Dmitry Endovitsky added that one of the goals of the approved plan of activities “Staff and Education” of the “Digital Economy of the Russian Federation” programme is to identify talented young people in the area of Mathematics and IT.
The members of the Association exchanged their experience regarding the implementation of the programmes and agreed on the activities for the year to come.
The Rector of VSU, Dmitry Endovitsky, told his colleagues about the upcoming 100th anniversary of the university. He said that on 15 September VSU will celebrate its centenary together with the Day of the City. Graduates from all over Russia and about 300 foreign graduates will come to attend the event. Dmitry Endovitsky presented the programme of the events which will take place in Voronezh on this day.
During the meeting, the members of the Association discussed a number of organisational issues and made decisions regarding them.
The members of the Association also had an excursion in the Galychya Gora nature reserve where the Director of the nature reserve, Nikolay Skolznev, told the visitors about its role in educational and scientific activities of Voronezh State University.
The reserve is a unique conservation and scientific facility in Russia. It spreads over 4 administrative districts in the Lipetsk region. The Galychya Gora nature reserve was created in 1925 by an order of the Council of Minister of the RSFSR and in 1936 it was handed over to Voronezh State University.
“In 2016, the nature reserve celebrated its 80th anniversary. Our entomological collection has over 320 thousand items. Galychya Gora has great research potential: Professor B.M. Kozo-Polyansky’s scientific school provides wonderful opportunities for the involvement of schoolchildren and students in research. The reserve is a popular destination for excursions and practice training. Among its frequent visitors are students from the VSU’s Faculty of Biomedical Sciences and the Faculty of Geology. In 1990, during a time of hardship for the whole country, the nature reserve opened a nursery for carnivorous birds. Today, it is the only nursery in Russia licensed to sell birds abroad,” said Nikolay Skolznev.
The next meeting of the Association of Higher Education Institutions of the Central Black Earth Region has been planned for November 2018. It will take place on the premises of the new member of the Association, Smolensk State University.