Kamianets-Podilskyi National University

Kamianets-Podilskyi National University (Кам’янець-Подільський національний університет імені Івана Огієнка; Kamianets-Podilskyi natsionalnyi universytet imeni Ivana Ohiienka). A university of a classical type in Kamianets-Podilskyi, one of the oldest universities in Ukraine, founded in August 1918 as Kamianets-Podilskyi Ukrainian State University. It was opened by the decree of the government of Hetman Pavlo Skoropadsky (along with another institution of higher learning, Katerynoslav University). Kamianets-Podilskyi Ukrainian State University was chartered by Hetman Skoropadsky in October 1918. The university was initiated by the local Ukrainian intelligentsia, but its autonomy was limited, as its rector, deans, and professors were appointed by the minister of education of the Ukrainian State and later of the Ukrainian National Republic (UNR), rather than elected by the faculty. Its first rector was the philologist Ivan Ohiienko. It had five faculties: history and philology; natural sciences and mathematics; theology; law; and agriculture. By summer 1920 there were 65 faculty members, including 11 professors, and the enrollment reached 1,400 (of whom 80 percent were ethnic Ukrainians). The university employed several of the most prominent Ukrainian scholars, among them Leonid Biletsky, Vasyl Bidnov, Dmytro Doroshenko, Mykhailo Drai-Khmara, Pylyp Klymenko, and Mykola Plevako. For more than a year the university served as the main intellectual center of the UNR. The faculty members were actively engaged in Ukrainian nation-building by organizing public lectures on political subjects for soldiers, workers, and artisans; running courses for teachers and clergy; translating religious literature, civil and criminal laws into Ukrainian; and compiling dictionaries of the Ukrainian language and legal terminology. After the Bolsheviks had gained control of the city at the end of 1920, they proceeded to dismantle the university, eventually reorganizing it into the Kamianets-Podilskyi Institute of People's Education (KPINO) and the Kamianets-Podilskyi Agricultural Institute. In 1922 the Soviet authorities permitted a public election of rectors.

During the 1930s and 1940s KPINO was reorganized several more times: first as an institute of social education (1930), then as a pedagogical institute (1933–4), and finally as a teachers' institute (1939). A number of faculty members, including three former rectors, became victims of the Stalinist purges between 1933 and 1937, among them philologist Mykhailo Drai-Khmara, historian Pavlo Klepatsky, geographer Volodymyr Herynovych, the university administrator Frants Kondratsky, and physicist Viktor Bernatsky. During the Second World War the local institute of people's education continued to function under the Nazi occupation. After the war it was renamed into Kamianets-Podilskyi Pedagogical Institute that consisted of four faculties: history and philology; physics and mathematics; physical education; and pedagogy and methods of primary education. In 1949 several students were suspected of Ukrainian nationalism and arrested. In 1953 the institute began to publish its main periodical Zapysky Kam’ianets'-Podil's'koho derzhavnoho pedahohichnoho instytutu (12 vols by 1963). In 1956 the department of history was closed (and reopened in 1964). In 1968 the combined faculty of history and philology was divided into two separate faculties. During the 1960s an exchange program with the Uzbek SSR was signed, according to which the institute began to train the Russian language teachers for this Central Asian republic. In 1968 the institute was named after the Soviet Ukrainian government official Volodymyr Zatonsky. The enrollment grew to 4,016 in 1971. During the 1970s and 1980s the institute continued to grow both in terms of its territory and the size of faculty. During this time 11 new programs of study were added, and an existing training in languages and linguistics was expanded.

As an important center of higher education in independent Ukraine, the institute experienced a dramatic restructuring after 1992, including an opening of a graduate program that same year. In 1997 it was renamed Kamianets-Podilskyi State Pedagogical University and was further reorganized as a state university of a classical type in 2003. New faculties and programs were added, including the faculties of natural sciences and economics (2004–6), the faculty of psychology and the faculty of social rehabilitation (both in 2006), and military college (2010). In 2008 it was granted the status of a national institution of higher learning and named after its first rector Ivan Ohiienko; thus, it assumed its current name.

As of 2021 Kamianets-Podilskyi National University (KPNU) consists of 8 faculties: history; Ukrainian philology and journalism; foreign philology; physics and mathematics; pedagogy; physical education; economics and natural sciences; and correctional and social pedagogy and psychology. KPNU also operates a few dozen research centers and laboratories, including center for linguistic studies; center for the study of Podilia; the Ivan Ohiienko Research Center; research center ‘Revolution in the Social Life of Ukraine’; research center for the American-British studies; research laboratory of archaeology; research laboratory of ethnology; research laboratory of semiconductors; research laboratory of ecological monitoring; research laboratory of anatomy, morphology, and physiology of living organisms, and many others. KPNU’s library includes numerous collections donated by its faculty over the years, including 114 books from the personal library of Ivan Ohiienko, the university’s founding rector. By 1921 its collection grew to 35,951 copies, but most of it perished during the Second World War. Today KPNU’s library is one of the largest libraries in Ukraine’s mid-size universities: it has more than a million entries (printed, unpublished, and electronic), including circa 940,000 books and 155,442 copies of periodicals. As of 2021 the current student enrollment is around 6,000.

In 2020 KPNU has been ranked 88th in the independent academic ranking Top 200 Ukraine, and 10th best university in the historical regions of Volhynia and Podilia (encompassing 5 oblasts of today’s Ukraine). KPNU has published several periodicals in various academic fields, among them Naukovyi pratsi Kam’ianets'-Podil's'koho natsional'noho universytetu. Istorychni nauky (31 vols, 1995–), Naukovyi pratsi Kam’ianets'-Podil's'koho natsional'noho universytetu. Fizychne vykhovannia, sport i zdorov’ia liudyny (19 vols, 2008–), Problemy suchasnoї psykholohiї (52 vols, 2008–), Pedahohichna osvita: teoriia i praktyka (29 vols, 2009–), Matematychne ta komp’iuterne modeliuvannia. Seriia: Tekhnichni nauky (21 vols, 2008–), and Matematychne ta komp’iuterne modeliuvannia. Seriia: Fizyko-matematychni nauky (21 vols, 2008–).

Posternak, S., Iz istoriї osvitnioho rukhu na Ukraїni za chasiv revoliutsiї 1917-1919 rr. (Kyiv 1920)
Zaval'niuk, O. et al. Kam’ianets'-Podil's'kyi natsional'nyi universytet imeni Ivana Ohiienka (1918-2009 rr.). Istorychnyi narys (Kamianets-Podilskyi 2009)
Zaval'niuk, O. Utvorennia i diial'nist' derzhavnykh ukraїns'kykh universytetiv (1917-1921) (Kamianets-Podilskyi 2011)
Kopylov, S. et al. Kam’ianets'-Podil's'kyi natsional'nyi universytet imeni Ivana Ohiienka. Pershi 100 rokiv postupu (Kamianets-Podilskyi 2018)
KPNU official website: http://kpnu.edu.ua/

Serhiy Bilenky

[This article was written in 2021.]

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