Knocking on the door of the new academic year
30.08.2021

Dear Colleagues!

It's time for us all to knock on the door of the new academic year and think about what awaits. Yes, it is impossible to predict everything. Using the terms proposed by Nassim Taleb, swans - black and white - will keep coming. This is what we are dealing with now and will be dealing with in the future. But here are several conclusions we have come to so far:

- The normal work of the entire university team and the study of students during the pandemic largely depends on the number of people vaccinated against covid. The past year was one of the saddest for us: we lost some of our wonderful colleagues. I urge all teachers and students who have not yet been vaccinated     to do so for the benefit of themselves and their neighbors.

- For part of the academic year, classes will again be held online for a good reason. The good news is that we already have a long and varied experience of dealing with a pandemic. We consider the online format not as a disaster, but as a new opportunity. In particular, for developing new educational online programs, the demand for which is extremely high today. In addition, we all have urgently developed new digital competencies that we now use successfully, not only in teaching. If we look more at the prospective, we are on the verge of the formation of a new - digital - didactics in the higher education system.

- To be truly competitive among the best universities in Russia and the world, we need to constantly analyze, rethink and gradually redesign the teaching and research processes, defining the most urgent tasks and the best ways to solve them.

- A lot of talented and ambitious young people from Russia and other countries have become our students. They trusted us, despite the huge selection of universities in the domestic and world education market. And we will not disappoint them. To do this, we will have, as always, a lot of work and experimentation, each time monitoring the quality of training.

- Construction of an inter-university Big Campus will begin on the left bank of the Tom, with a focus on the best world practices. There will be comfortable dormitories and hotels, laboratories, a multifunctional training center, sports facilities, creative spaces, a landscaped park with bike paths, shops, food courts and much more. It will be a smart campus with a drone training ground, an immersive cinema, big data mining, and cybersecurity. These perspectives give us all the strength and mood we need to succeed in work, study, research, and entrepreneurship.

- We have come much closer to the labor market: TSU is the federal operator of the Employment Promotion Program within the framework of the Demography National Project. Despite all the difficulties, the first six months of its implementation were successful. Our university is the leader in the number of applications from citizens for training. Keep it up! And do not forget about your students: the academic environment we create should be conductive to them keeping their jobs. For this, there is an individual schedule and corresponding digital resources.

- Priority 2030, a new program of state support for universities, was launched, and our university applied for participation, focusing on five areas: "Engineering Biology", "Global Change of the Earth: Climate, Ecology, Quality of Life", "Socio-Humanitarian Engineering: Research and Design of Man and Society ”, “Security Technologies” and “Open Ecosystem of Knowledge and Technology Generation - Big University of Tomsk”. TSU has a rich and successful experience of participation in the previous program of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, which gives certain hopes associated with the new project. However, as in the Olympic Games, the principle of previous merit does not work here and it is necessary to start all over again. But we believe in our strengths and capabilities.

I congratulate all teachers and students on the upcoming new academic year and wish you all great success in work and study and, of course, good health! Together we will overcome all difficulties!

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Eduard Galazhinskiy,

Rector of National Research Tomsk State University,

Acting President of the Russian Academy of Science

Translated by Snezhana Nosova