Aleksandr Shestakov Took Part in a Roundtable Discussion

This year, 30 higher education institutions of the Chelyabinsk region will open their doors for university applicants. Representatives of universities organized a roundtable discussion to talk about specificities of admission campaign – 2018.

Such meetings are held annually in the beginning of summer. The goal is to tell university applicants and their parents about terms of admission and areas of training, and provide assistance with determining a university to which to apply. The discussion featured representatives of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Chelyabinsk region, the Rector, Vice-Rectors, and Secretaries of Admission Committees of higher education institutions. The experts answered relevant questions.

Programs, courses and projects

The first to speak was Rector of the region’s largest university – South Ural State University.

“SUSU implements 192 educational programs,” said Doctor of Engineering Sciences, Professor Aleksandr Shestakov. “Therefore, we are not going to move actively towards expanding of educational activity. We are launching programs targeted at the future. In particular, last year we launched the program entitled ‘Data processing and artificial intelligence’, which is targeted at digital industry. This year, the initial admission for master’s program of ‘Philology (taught in English)’ is to be held. Through cooperation with representatives of various countries, we developed an interest for Russian language: we are willing to read Pushkin and Dostoevsky in original and get a better understanding of Russia.”

“Speaking about educational innovations, we focus our attention on networking programs in partnership with foreign universities. For example, we are launching a master’s program in ‘Mechatronics’ in cooperation with our long-term Chinese partners; master’s degree program in ‘Composites’ is getting prepared to be launched; this is what industry requires nowadays.”

“Educational programs are based on a serious scientific background; they correspond with the university’s development strategy and favor for enhancement of education quality. We are working so that each Faculty had master’s programs of the highest level. We implement them together with international professors and representatives of RAS, with whom we have a successful collaboration. We have a goal to make these programs among the best in Russia.”

“Two years ago we opened the SUSU Center of Elite Education for students with high academic performance, who aspire to use their intellectual potential for full. The project is being implemented within the 5-100 program for competitiveness enhancement. School leavers applying to our university with high examination scores get the top-level education.”

“Our alumni are successfully competing at the labor markets of Asia, Europe and the USA. Nevertheless, we see further development of educational activity in project-based education, which is to start from September 1. Educational programs will be elaborated regarding projects.”

“Considering the fact that we are primarily oriented at engineering specialties, together with major employers we elaborated a series of projects with adjustable trajectory, which are to be implemented first of all within master’s programs. The project team will include not only future engineers but also mathematicians, programmers, economists, and probably lawyers, so that upon completion of study the project would be ready to get implemented in the industry. And the team will be sent to be employed by our long-term partners. One of the positive examples is Emerson, the number-one corporation in the sphere of automation. This year it invested money to create the new laboratory for digital industry. This is just the first part of the project. There will be the second and the third parts. We are moving towards developing the best educational program in the country.”

Generation Z

Psychologists are worried that school leavers aren’t interested in fundamental higher education and that they only apply for universities because their parents insist on it… Why do school leavers prefer taking unified state exam in Social Studies? What does distinguish representatives of generation Z? Deputy Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs of SUSU, Candidate of Pedagogy, Yulia Bolotina, considered these questions:

“There is a problem connected with choosing a subject to take an exam on. Children considering themselves to be better at liberal arts choose Social Studies and hope to pass the exam well. And then they bring results of this exam when applying for economic specialties. But Economics is related to Mathematics. Experience of Russia and South Ural shows that points received for the exam in Social Studies does not comply with students’ expectations. Moreover, there are few winners and prize holders at Olympiads on Social Studies, and the scores of participants are average. This is the reason Physics cannot climb up higher than the position it has been on for the last five years, or the exam in Computer Science is not frequently chosen. Interest is increasing for Chemistry and Biology. This is a common tendency in all near and far abroad countries: children want to become doctors.”

“Speaking about generation Z, it includes precisely the school leavers who are taking exams now and who are going to apply for admission to universities. Representatives of this generation are mainly studying at our School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Competition there is the toughest, even despite the fact that there are many quotas for state-funded education. For example, last year the specialty of ‘Fundamental Computer Science’ had the highest admission score.”

“We create unique educational programs and supplementary free programs provided by world-class scientists for students. There are courses entitled ‘Self-diagnosis and self-control of devices and systems’ (Oxford, Great Britain) and ‘Mathematical fundamentals of program systems’ user interface’ (Lancashire, Great Britain). There is a quite interesting course taught by a Professor from Mexico, entitled ‘Green cloud computing’, a course of ‘Encryption on the basis of a public key’ (the University of Luxembourg)… Overall there are 19 programs in which students of the School of Economics and Management can take part free of charge.”

“Our ‘smart guys’ - the representatives of generation Z - take active participation in breakthrough scientific and industrial projects. Here we have four major training areas: digital twins and model-based proactive management; machine learning methods and intelligent analysis of ultra-large-scale data for solving industrial problems; sensor systems and Industrial Internet of Things; and information protection in industrial systems. Recently we launched a program entitled “Internet of Things” for university applicants, and 85 graduates of lyceums of Chelyabinsk started studying in the mode of summer school.”

School of Economics and Management implements supplementary general enrichment programs and professional programs. There are more than 30 of them. A laboratory of lean production is to be opened in cooperation with a company which is one of the world’s leaders in this sphere.”

“Generation Z is students who want to be successful and possess various competencies. SUSU provides such opportunity starting from leadership programs and finishing with professional programs. Plus the system of elite education which is also developed considering psychophysiological characteristics of modern students. Students aspire to fundamental knowledge. Competition for admission to the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering increased 4,5 times compared to the previous three years. Admission score for the specialty of ‘Design, Manufacture and Operation of Rockets and Rocket-Space Systems’ was among the highest – 224.”

In the course of discussing the topical issues, distance education got mentioned as well.

“Programs must be qualitative, and the structure of education must be usable for a person who is far away,” commented Aleksandr Shestakov. “Let me remind you that the main objective of SUSU is to provide high-quality education. We put a lot of efforts in creating the Institute of Open and Distance Education. There is a necessity in technology for development of learning programs. We have an experience of adaptive programs that can be adjusted for students in order to study various disciplines with the use of distance technology. This year, we had first alumni who graduated the university in the specialty of ‘Construction’ on the basis of distance education technology. The experience that we obtained in the course of five years proves that high-quality distance education is in demand. For the record, people who completed this education are successful in life; there are examples. It is very important to contribute to generation Z; we consider it to be the right thing to do.”

Tatiana Stroganova, photo by: Oleg Igoshin
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