Vasyl` Stus Donetsk National University has an impressive 80 years old history. During this time, from a small pedagogical institute, in which only 138 students studied on the two faculties, it turned into a modern educational and innovation center, an open academic community, university family and space that provides opportunities for living, working, studying and self-realization.
The date of foundation of the Vasyl`Stus DonNU is July 15, 1937, when the Stalin Pedagogical Institute (later – Donetsk Pedagogical Institute) was established by the Decision of Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR in the city of Stalino (now – Donetsk). In the structure of the Institute there were only two faculties: the historical and philological ones. The first 138 students were enrolled on September of the same year.
The teaching process was provided by 20 teachers, among whom only one had a Ph.D degree.
The first graduation of the Stalin Pedagogical Institute took place in 1941. The Second World War interrupted the educational process, and on October 9, 1941, a decision was made to evacuate the Institute to the city of Kungur, the Molotov region (now – the Perm region, the Russian Federation).After the liberation of Stalino on September 8, 1943, the Pedagogical Institute returned home.
After this, in December 1943 the faculties of Physics and Mathematics were created.
In the 1949-1950 academic year, the Institute exceeded the pre-war level by the number of academic staff. At this time, the Institute had three faculties: historical, philological, physical and mathematical.
May 28, 1965 is the beginning of an important stage in the history of the Vasyl` Stus DonNU, because it is associated with the foundation of Donetsk State University on the base of the Kharkiv State University.
On January 1, 1970, the structure of the University consisted of seven major faculties: mathematical, physical, chemical, biological, historical, economic and philological. In 1973, a preparatory faculty for foreign citizens was created.
For the summer recreation and rehabilitation of students, staff and their families in 1980 on the Azov Sea coast, a sports and recreation base “Science” has been opened.
Ukrainian independence had an influence on the progress of the Donetsk State University. In 1990 on the base of Donetsk State University the first Ukrainian-language lyceum for senior pupils with in-depth study of disciplines in seven directions was opened.
In 1994 and 2004, the University withstood the test of strength and was accredited for the highest – IV level of accreditation with the granting of the right to autonomy.
On September 11, 2000, according to the Order of the President of Ukraine No. 1059/2000, the Donetsk State University has received the status of the national.
Donetsk National University was the first who signed the Great Charter of Universities and who joined the Bologna Process in 2004.
On November 2012, the DonNU staff has elected a new rector, Doctor of Law, Professor Roman Grynyuk.
In 2014 DonNU was in the thick of the events that unfolded at the Donbas region in connection with Russian military aggression. On September 16, 2014, the administrative premises of the University were seized by armed groups. The university staff and students which did not consider the possibility of cooperation with the invaders within the framework of the so-called DNR, created a public movement “Save Alma Mater!”. As a result of rallies near the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine and negotiations of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine with the leadership of the University, on September 30, 2014, the Order of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine № 1084 “On the organization of the educational process of the Donetsk National University of Ukraine in Vinnytsia” was issued.
This is how the new history of the University in the exile began. On November 3, 2014 DonNU started the 2014-2015 academic year on the Podillya land. In the exile DonNU celebrated the 50th anniversary of the transformation from the Pedagogical Institute into a State University, and on May 2017 – 80 years from the day of its foundation.
In 2016, according to the initiative of the DonNU graduates, the discussion on the issue of the naming university with the name of one of its most famous graduates, Vinnytsia and Donetsk citizen, the poet, human rights activist, political prisoner, Hero of Ukraine Vasyl` Stus (1938-1985), was renewed. On June 10, 2016 the conference of the Donetsk National University’s labor collective voted “for” renaming the University by a majority of votes. On September 21, 2016, the Statute of the Vasyl`Stus Donetsk National University was approved by the Order of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine No. 1126.
Vasyl` Stus DonNU today is not only the one classical university in the Vinnytsia region, it is a powerful educational center of the Central Ukrainian region,
a reliable partner for scientific and educational institutions, authorities, community and business, and also comfortable environment for development, life, study, work.
According to the Strategy 2017-2025, the Vasyl` Stus DonNU as an open academic community cannot stay away from social processes and changes in the society. Vasyl` Stus DonNU cooperates with 182 institutions, organizations in the following areas: industrial and pedagogical practice and internship of students; internships and trainings for teachers; realization of joint scientific and educational, innovative, socially useful projects.
In order to attract extrabudgetary sources of funding, the University carries out fundraising activities. During April 2016 – March 2017 Vasyl` Stus DonNU continued implementation of the project “European Development of DonNU in Vinnytsia 2016” supported by the International Renaissance Foundation and with the assistance of the NGO “Institute for Social Research and Political Analysis”.
The project was continued, because its implementation has greatly expanded the Vasyl` Stus DonNU partner network, developed a number of links with Ukrainian and foreign organizations and institutions, and established the tradition of exchange of intellectual, social and cultural capital. For example, the completion of the “First Ukrainian School of Public Policy and Administration” (10/26/2016 – 04/02/2017) gave rise to the new innovative educational project “School of Young Official”, which resulted in the University preparation of 33 new civil servants for the Department of Economics and Investments of the Vinnytsia City Council (22 of them received recommendations for employment in the VCC and today successfully work in the departments of the City Council).
Within the framework of providing additional educational services and the intention to provide lifelong learning, the University implements a number of educational programs: courses for pupils, including training courses for external exams; distance learning courses, including the courses for entrants from the occupied part of Donetsk and Luhansk regions; training courses; certificate educational programs (“Medical Law” – jointly with National Pirogov Memorial Medical University, Vinnytsia, “Fundamentals of Christian Theology” – jointly with the Vinnytsia diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, “Translation of scientific and technical literature”, etc.).
International fundraising activity, aimed at restoration of the material and technical base of the University, is carried out mainly within the framework of the international project activity.The international activity is an essential part of the University’s integration into the European and world educational space. Vasyl` Stus DonNU actively cooperates with educational institutions and organizations from Poland, Great Britain, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovakia, Italy, the United States, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Belgium, China, France and many other countries. Activity of the Information and Resource Center of the Delegation of the EU to Ukraine at the Vasyl`Stus DonNU has been renewed.
In addition, the University remains an authoritative expert environment, preparing scientific conclusions of bills, providing advice to commercial and business entities, examining the state of soil, water, etc. on the order of state authorities and local self-government, business, etc.
The network of strategic partnership is used by staff and students for implementation of social projects. Thus, during April-May 2017 in frames of the program “Active Citizens” supported by the British Council Ukraine and the Program Initiative “Coordinating Center for Displaced Higher Educational Institutions”, Center for Innovation and Sustainable International Development (“CISID”), a lecturer of the Faculty of Chemistry, PhD of chemical sciences, associated professor Leonova Natalia has implemented the project “Science is simple” for Vinnytsia schoolchildren and children from the ATO zone.
The project that demonstrates the synergy of the aspirations of the university community, local authorities, the public sector of Vinnytsia and Ukraine, and international partners to create a socially beneficial environment is the project “Walking through the corridors of the Stus University in Vinnytsia”.
After three years in exile, Vasyl’ Stus Donetsk National University:
- gradually restored the material and technical resources, which allow today to carry out educational process and scientific activity;
- preserved and qualitatively improved the academic staff;
- began to recover lost due to relocation positions in national and international ratings;
- has taken and steadily occupies leadership positions among local competitors;
- created an unprecedented for region partnership network and a new quality of relations between the higher school, government and the community in order to implement joint socially useful projects and affairs.
In perspective, resources of the University, a network of strategic partnership, and innovative activities will be aimed at solving of the key issue – the construction of an academic campus, its own campus with educational buildings, laboratories, library, hostels and housing for students and teachers.
Civil heroic act, made by students and staff of Vasyl` Stus DonNU, allowed to keep in the orbit of Ukrainian higher education the most powerful University of the Eastern Ukraine, the national intellectual capital and thousands of lives and fates of people – citizens and patriots of Ukraine!