"I Like Being a Source of New Knowledge for Students": Interview with Iuliia Morozova for Teacher’s Day

The value and nobility of profession of a teacher is undeniable at any stage of human development. This occupation is hardly hazardous, but it is definitely difficult. It does not tolerate indifference, and one needs to go into it by calling. We talked with Iuliia Morozova, Candidate of Sciences (Jurisprudence), Associate Professor at the Department of Criminal Procedure, Criminalistics and Forensic Science at SUSU about her favourite work, science and art.

– Iuliia, how many years have you been working at the university?

– I have been at the university since 2005, first as a student at the SUSU Institute of Law, then as a postgraduate in the Department of Criminal Procedure, Criminalistics and Forensic Science, where I defended my Candidate's dissertation. I have been teaching at the department since 2010. At first I was invited to work as an assistant; after becoming a postgraduate student, I already started teaching. And I, of course, really liked it. I am grateful to fate that since then I have been working at such a wonderful department, where an atmosphere of science and creativity reigns.

– So you haven’t thought about teaching before, right?

– All students, when they graduate from university, are faced with the question of a profession. I think that then I had a lucky chance when I decided to try myself in this role. And I'm still trying. And I really like it.

– How did it happen that you connected your life with jurisprudence? Childhood dream or conscious choice?

– My mother was a teacher at the same department. When I was little, my mother often took me to lectures and seminars. I spent a lot of time at the department, watching teachers and students with child’s eyes. And I really liked the way the teachers interacted with students and gave lectures. And, as I later realized, all this inspired me to work at a university, as a teacher, and in scientific activity in general. I think it was my mother who, by her example, instilled in me a love for jurisprudence as a science. I felt that, like any girl, I wanted to be like my mother. Now my mother still teaches and combines teaching with practice.

– You probably read detective stories as a child?

– Actually, it is not my favourite genre. Speaking about detective stories, I think I have only read Agatha Christie’s book, and only because it was a trend at that time. I like reading biographies of great people much more. Reading biographies, I get inspired, I understand that there is something to strive for, and, after all, it is interesting! Of the latter, I read the autobiographical book of Maia Plisetskaia. I really like her: her will to live, to win, her character and general attitude towards things. Plisetskaia is incredible!

– What is your area of scientific interest?

– My scientific interests and knowledge are concentrated in the field of criminal procedure and forensic science. What interests me most is the theory of evidence in criminal proceedings. Issues of their formation, verification and evaluation. The subject of my Candidate's dissertation was the evidentiary value of samples for comparative research in criminal proceedings. This topic is closely related to the evidentiary value of expert opinions in criminal proceedings. It is interesting to read the rulings of the Higher Courts and learn the legal reasoning. And, of course, as a scientist, I always think about how our legislation could be improved. Therefore, we always bring something new to our scientific work, to work related to the defence of Doctoral and Candidate dissertations. In all publications, we try to draw the attention of legislators to certain problems that we have. This is an integral part of jurisprudence.

– Can you say that you became a teacher by answering the call of your heart?

– There is a famous expression by Confucius: "Find something you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." This is just about me, because I really like teaching from the very first days. I can’t say that for me this is work in its boring, routine sense. Of course, this is work that brings me income. But I really enjoy the process of clarification. I love working with students, communicating with them, because students inspire a lot. It’s nice to give them something bright and wise, to pass on your knowledge to them and to see how they absorb new information in a higher educational institution.

– Iuliia, with your love for the criminal process and forensic inquiry, why did you choose to teach and not conduct investigations in the internal affairs bodies?

– I'm a pure theorist. I know how to explain, how to tell a theory. I work with theory, which is in contact with practice, but I still prefer teaching to practicing. I can talk endlessly on legal topics.

– What disciplines do you teach to students today?

– Criminal procedure and forensic science. My favourite disciplines.

– How do you work with students? You probably have your own methods and approaches to teaching.

– I was a student myself and I know very well how much students write during lectures. The brain gets very tired. Therefore, I developed a tactic: for twenty minutes we write, and for the next five minutes we discuss what we wrote down. During this time, the brain has time to take a break from writing and switch attention to the conversation. My students can write lectures in notebooks, type them on a laptop or iPad. It is not so important to me how students record information, the main thing is to get new knowledge from them, which they will demonstrate in an exam.

I always require feedback from students both in practical classes and in lectures. It is important to me that everyone understands everything. If they don’t understand or misunderstand something, then we always devote a little more time and attention to this issue, so that the information is stored in their memory. Understanding all the details is of great importance, because the criminal process is quite complex, deep, and has a huge number of significant nuances. Therefore, it is important for me to "chew over" everything, especially for students who are just starting to study the discipline. So that they don’t have any questions left in their heads, and, therefore, in their future professional practice.

– Have you counted how many graduates you have trained over the years of your teaching career?

– I didn’t count it deliberately. But I am usually very sad when graduates leave. At the same time, I am always very happy when they stay in the profession, when they come and thank me for the knowledge they received at our institute. It’s always nice when your student finds himself in law.

– What is the most difficult thing for you in the profession?

– It is always difficult for me to see those students who entered the wrong profession. Everyone knows that the most valuable thing in our lives is time. And when, unfortunately, it turns out that, as I see, the student does not need it and does not like it at all, I feel very sad. Or maybe he or she is an excellent political scientist or journalist, maybe an excellent psychologist... Therefore, it is necessary for future students to discuss this important professional issue with their family even before entering the university. Four years of study is not a short period of time, so it is important to manage this time and family finances wisely.

– Why do you love your job?

– I come here for the sake of teaching, for the sake of communicating with students, for the sake of "give back" from them. I really like this − to be useful, to be a source of new professional knowledge for future specialists.

– What inspires you?

– There is always a place for art in my life. I absolutely adore going to exhibitions. When I come to St. Petersburg, I always visit all kinds of galleries, and my favourite Russian Museum is always a must. I really like to study the works of great masters and decipher the messages of modern art. If they bring a new exhibition in Chelyabinsk, I definitely attend it with my family. I love travelling too. And when I spend a lot of time working (writing articles, reading specialized literature), I try to relieve my brain by engaging in sports activities. I think that a change of activity is also rest. Switching from mental stress to physical activity helps me switch off and relax. And there is a completely different attitude towards some situations and problems − they seem to be easier to resolve. And I would like to do some creative work myself in the future, but I don’t have enough time yet.

– What personal achievements are you proud of as a scientist?

– Every scientist and teacher has scientific papers, goals and dreams. I am proud that I defended my Candidate's dissertation (and this is quite a challenge), and I think a Doctoral dissertation is next. I am proud that I am able to successfully write scientific articles that are published in both Scopus and Web of Science and are highly assessed by the Higher Attestation Commission. I manage the grant for young scientists called "Theory and Practice of Digitalization of Criminal Procedure: A Comparative Legal Study of the Legislation of the BRICS Countries", and am proud that a lot of projects and reports have already been defended under it. And in December I’m preparing to speak at a large scientific council, I will defend another stage of our project.

– What would you wish your colleagues on Teacher's Day?

– I wish my colleagues success in their scientific activities, inspiration and patience. I wish them to find more time to do science, because I know how little free time the teacher has for his own scientific research. Science is important not only for the institute and university, but also for the development of all humanity. A scientist can use it to bring so many important changes to the world! With every small step we become closer to new great discoveries.

Екатерина Больных
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