NMSTU Rector: the University has reached a global level

Mikhail Chukin, Rector of Nosov Magnitogorsk State Technical University, the flagship university of the Southern Urals, gave an interview describing prospects of the university before its 85th anniversary.

Next year the university will be 85 years old. What path did it travel from the very beginning to its present status?

Originally, the university was established to provide qualified employees to the Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works. Time changes, and at present our graduates are in demand not only by the local works, but also by other companies of the region and Russia in general. Thus, step by step the university has grown from a city-focused one to the world university.

What constituted a ground for assigning a status of the flagship university of the Southern Urals to NMSTU?

In my opinion, it is worth mentioning several key points. Firstly, city colleges were included into a university structure. Now we see good results, as such connection between secondary vocational education, higher education and enterprises creates a synergetic effect.

Secondly, joining of the Magnitogorsk State University, whose area of strength was humanities. Such synergy of human and technical sciences produces brand new results. As an example, I can tell you about very exciting projects on digital humanities, social sphere, inclusion, carried out by the Institute for the Humanities.

What changes can we see in the university with regard to the current trend in lifelong learning?

In due time we performed a rebranding, and lifelong learning became one of our current key goals. The university intends to create the regional entrepreneurial elite applying new smart technologies and a stimulating approach, which complies with our slogan “Magnet for talents! Vector of success!” We should attract children, help them to get adapted to our environment, and the most essential is to provide them with an opportunity to realize their potential after the university graduation.

How to attract schoolchildren?

We run two projects. The first one is the Quantorium children’s technology park. The study has already begun. Thus, we teach children, they gain sight of the university, and so they feel attachment to our university.

The second project, which is gradually under development, is the Project School, focusing on pre-university courses for schoolchildren. This can fill the inevitable gap in their knowledge. However, its key strength is that schoolchildren could be involved into projects, which are in demand by our business partners and commercial companies. This is a chain that we have already discussed in the beginning: the lifelong learning. We will assist and support children in every way in this field.

The third vector is research and development. This year the university has established its R&D center. Our students can perform their entrepreneurial projects resulting in creation of their private business. For example, one of such project under implementation is design of powered exoskeletons for PJSC MMK workers.

The university’s participation in international projects has significantly increased. What can you say about the progress in external, international collaboration?

A regional university is not supposed to be limited to the region. The university should be well-known abroad in all fields. Moreover, we provide whatever is required to receive international students. By international I mean not only students from developing countries, for example, we have already an active cooperation with Kazakhstan. We are talking about developed countries included in the European Union. Our strategy aims at BRICS countries. We are cautiously optimistic about closer relations with China and India. We have experience in the Russian-Chinese program of two diplomas in logistics. This is one of examples of potential further cooperation with other countries.

In general, the university has actively increased student and teaching staff mobility. We receive students from France, Turkey, Italy, Egypt, Cyprus, Great Britain, and our students regularly go abroad for studying. This positively influences both students and teachers; they feel enthusiastic and motivated about such activities.

Besides, we provide training of international specialists. For example, as part of the intergovernmental agreement between Russia and Cuba, we successfully trained the Cuban employees from the José Martí Metallurgical Enterprise. Next year we intend to carry out a similar project for employees from the United Arab Emirates as part of a joint project on start-up of the United Steel Industries FZC plant in Fujairah.

Regarding science, we definitely should encourage collaboration between scientists. We purchased laboratories complying with the world standards. We do become more prominent, which is proved by our international ratings.

What do you think about further development of NMSTU?

At present, I believe that we should become even more known in the world as this will entail other transformations, changes, and projects. A primary reason is the image of the university. If we enhance the image in the city, or even in Russia, it will be a local change in a way. But we should get transformed and compete with generally recognized leading universities. As a consequence, foreign students will come to us, industrial tourism will increase, and, perhaps, historical tourism will be developed, because Magnitogorsk has the heritage to be proud of.

Regarding scientific achievement, we are rather recognized. However, in future we should fill a niche in the world, so that nobody has doubts that best knowledge in definite fields may be gained only at NMSTU. This is the challenge we can complete.

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