In May, the flagship Altai State University turned 48 years old. The date is not round, but the tasks that the AltSU team sets for itself for the next year gives reason to discuss them in an interview with Rector Sergei Bocharov.
What has the university become over the past almost half a century?
Sergey Bocharov: On May 25, 1973, an order was issued by the Minister of Higher and Secondary Specialized Education of the RSFSR on the creation of Altai State University, and in October the first enrollment of 300 people was opened. Now the number of students exceeds 14 thousand, and the number of employees is 1.5 thousand, of which more than 600 are scientific and pedagogical workers. AltSU is actively entering the international educational space, as evidenced by more than 1,600 foreign students.
The university team has achieved high results in academic, research and social and humanitarian areas, which is confirmed by positions in a number of global and national rankings: 561-570 places in QS World University Rankings 2022, 101-200 – in THE Impact Rankings 2021, 49 – in RAEX-100 2021 and others.
Looking back, we can state that for 48 years Altai State University has successfully passed the stage of formation and today it is a recognized center of scientific, educational, cultural development not only in the Altai Territory, but also far beyond its borders in Russia and abroad.
Many Russian universities are preparing to participate in the new Priority 2030 academic leadership program. Are you planning to be one of them? If so, how will the program affect the development of the university?
Sergey Bocharov: Priority 2030 is another program of academic excellence implemented in Russia, which is replacing the 5-100 projects, as well as the flagship universities program, the status of which our university received in 2017. It is designed to concentrate the resources of Russian universities on achieving national goals for the period up to 2030, to solve a number of complex tasks in the scientific and educational sphere, and also to contribute to the socio-economic development of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation.
And, like any such program, it entails a change in the scientific and educational landscape, determines the long-term guidelines and principles of the entire higher education system, regardless of the presence of direct government support measures. At the same time, there is an understanding that in the struggle for applicants, personnel and resources, universities every year have to compete more and more not only with Russian, but also with foreign universities.
Our management team is carefully preparing for participation in the upcoming competition, develops a new program for the development of the university and expects to become one of the recipients of state support for its implementation. AltSU faces a difficult task – being a university focused on solving the socio-economic problems of the region, helping to achieve national development goals, as well as providing answers to global challenges.
Particular attention is paid to the research groundwork of scientific teams of the university in such areas as mathematical modeling and space monitoring of the Earth, the study of biological diversity, work in the field of altaistics and turkology, tourist and recreational design and others. Since, due to their scale, they cannot be implemented by the forces of one Altai State University, active work is underway to create consortia with the involvement of resources from other universities and scientific organizations.
A serious transformation of the educational process is envisaged – both in terms of learning technologies and in terms of the content of programs with the construction of individual trajectories and the active use of distance learning. We strive to create conditions for self-realization of young people and their professional relevance in the modern economy.
There are many other, no less significant moments that predetermine the future contours of the university – youth science, social and humanitarian projects for local communities, and others. In fact, even before the implementation of Priority 2030, it forced us to take a fresh look at the university development model and identify points of application of efforts.
Now the USE is being held in schools, universities are preparing for the admission campaign. What will be the set at AltSU this year?
Sergey Bocharov: The 2021 admissions campaign has its own characteristics. There are positive aspects – for example, an increase of more than 600 in the number of budget places at all levels of training. But there are also alarming ones – the risk of the spread of COVID-19. Therefore, AltSU is very responsible in accepting documents: they can be submitted in person, by mail, by e-mail, through the “State Services” service.
Another feature is the growing interest in secondary vocational education. The university has a college that increases the number of freshmen year after year. In 2020, we recruited twice as many students as planned – over one thousand. We are preparing to repeat the record this year.
If we talk about the areas of training, AltSU develops the entire range of educational programs – almost two hundred. This year, in connection with the implementation of the federal project “Personnel for the Digital Economy” and its media support, the areas and specialties related to digital technologies are of particular interest: “Digital Economy”, “Data Mining”, “Sociology of Digital Society” and others. Among the natural sciences, Biotechnology and Pharmacy are in demand.
In general, it cannot be said that some areas of training are not popular with us. Everyone is of interest, and every year the number of applications submitted to the selection committee is only growing. And we are ready to work individually with each applicant.
What are your plans for the coming year?
Sergey Bocharov: There are a lot of them. There are many of those that appear in response to the initiatives of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation. For example, the intention of Altai State University to take part in the project of creating a carbon testing ground in the Altai Territory, the organization of student tourism on the basis of educational practices of the university. AltSU actively responds to the changing agenda. I am sure that we will celebrate 49 years with new achievements.
Sergey Bocharov: Altai State University today is a recognized center of scientific, educational, cultural development not only in the Altai Territory, but also far beyond its borders in Russia and abroad.