Luhansk National University

Image - Luhansk National University (in Luhansk, before 2014). Image - Luhansk National University (in Starobilsk, Luhansk oblast, after 2014).

Luhansk National University [Луганський національний університет ім. Т.Г. Шевченка; Luhanskyi natsionalnyi universytet im. T.H. Shevchenka]. An institution of higher learning located (until 2014) in Luhansk. Originally formed in 1921 to provide courses for teachers, in 1924 it became a branch of the Donetsk Institute of People's Education. Initially it consisted of just two faculties: social education and workers’ faculty. Among the first faculty members was historian Serhii Hrushevsky, a relative of Mykhailo Hrushevsky, and education specialist Foma Bilsky, who was also a founding director of the pedagogical museum (est. 1926). In 1927 the institute added the faculty of professional and vocational education with five departments: socio-economic; technical-mathematical; chemical; agrobiological; and language and literature. In 1931 a teachers' institute opened, comprising four departments: language and literature; physics and mathematics; natural sciences and geography; and evening education. The student enrollment reached 845. In the early 1930s, in the wake of Stalinist terror, several key faculty members were forced to leave the institute.

In 1934 the school was reorganized once again as Luhansk Pedagogical Institute and in 1939 it was named after Taras Shevchenko. It was the sole institution of higher learning in Luhansk oblast that trained teachers of the Ukrainian language and literature. By 1941 student enrollment increased to 4,700. During the Second World War, in 1942 the institute was evacuated to Engels, Saratov oblast. At this time the institute’s library suffered heavy losses, having preserved only 13,000 books out of 200,000 it had before the war. The institute returned to its home base in August 1943. During the 1950s the institute consisted of four faculties: natural sciences and geography; physics and mathematics; history and philology; and physical education. In 1960 the institute added the faculty of music pedagogy and the institute of ‘social professions.’ An observatory was opened in 1964. The 1970s and 1980s were a period of particular growth of the institute, when the student enrollment grew from 5,300 to 7,000, during the tenure of rector Dmytro Zhdanov (1975–86). The institute’s academic landmark—its archeological museum—was established in 1975, along with the park museum of the ancient Turkic stone baby. By the 1980s the institute also boasted a geological and zoological museums and a winter garden. A scholarly profile of the institute was considerably enhanced by the research work of several specialized laboratories, among them thermal physics; spectral optics; agricultural chemistry; electronics and programming; and chemistry of complex compounds. In 1990 the faculty of continuous education was opened. In 1992 the faculty of philology was divided into two separate faculties: Ukrainian philology; and Russian, Roman, and Germanic philology.

In 1993 the Luhansk Pedagogical Institute was incorporated in the newly created Eastern Ukrainian State University (now Eastern Ukrainian National University), but already in 1997 it became once again a separate institution. In 1998 the institute was reorganized into a state pedagogical university; in 2003 it was granted a national university status and assumed its present name. In 2008 it officially became a ‘classical’ university.

In the early 2000s the university employed more than a thousand faculty members, among them 52 academicians of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (NANU) and other academies. It also operated local branches of five NANU research institutes, including the Institute of Applied Mathematics and Mechanics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine; the Donetsk Physics and Technology Institute; the Institute of Industrial Economics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine; the Institute of Archeology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine; and the Institute of Literature of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. At that time LNU had four faculties: Ukrainian philology, foreign languages, natural sciences, and preparatory training, and seven institutes: economy and business; physics, mathematics, and information technologies; trade and tourism; pedagogy and psychology; arts and culture; physical education and sports; and continuing education and distance learning. It also operated a research division, branch laboratories, and an agricultural research station. The student enrollment reached approximately 30,000. Its research library contained 1,3 million copies of books and periodicals. LNU has long been considered a leading center of Oriental studies in Ukraine. Professor Volf Beilis (1923–2001) was an internationally renowned founder of the school of historical Arabic studies at Luhansk Pedagogical Institute. In 2001 the Volf Beilis Research Center: East-West: Theory and History of Inter-Civilizational Relations was established within the Department of World History and International Relations.

In the spring and summer of 2014, with the takeover of Luhansk by the Russia-backed separatists, the militants occupied LNU’s dormitories and its administrative and educational buildings (a total area of 183,200 square meters). As a result, LNU was transferred to Starobilsk (to an area less than 10,000 square meters), to an existing LNU branch, and on September 1, 2014 it opened its doors to new students and those who relocated from the occupied Luhansk. Aside from Starobilsk, parts of the LNU’s research and teaching units are located in Kreminna (institute of physical education and sports), Poltava (arts and culture institute; department of foreign languages), and Rubizhne (institute of physics, mathematics, and information technology). As of 2020 LNU has three faculties: foreign languages, natural sciences, and Ukrainian philology and social communications, and eight ‘teaching-scholarly’ institutes: economy and business; arts and culture; public administration, management, and continuing education; physics, mathematics, and information technologies; history, international relations, and sociopolitical sciences; pedagogy and psychology; trade, service technologies, and tourism; and physical education and sports. It also operates several regional colleges, centers, and administrative departments. The current student enrollment is 9,282.

Despite having lost much of its material and technological base and having seen its student enrollment considerably reduced, LNU has managed to retain its place among Ukraine’s best colleges and universities. For instance, in 2020 LNU was ranked 84–85 among 240 colleges and universities in the Consolidated Ranking of Ukraine’s colleges and universities conducted by the educational web portal Osvita.ua. It was also ranked 52 in an independent academic ranking Top 200 Ukraine. LNU has published several scholarly periodicals, chief among them is Visnyk Luhans'koho natsional'noho universytetu imeni Tarasa Shevchenka (since 1997, in several series). Other notable periodicals include Education and Pedagogical Sciences (founded as Osvita Donbasu, 173 nos, 2001–), Algebra and Discrete Mathematics (29 nos, 2002–), Ekonomichnyi visnyk Donbasu (60 nos, 2004–), and Naukovyi visnyk Donbasu (40 nos, 2007–19).

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Luhans'kyi derzhavnyi pedahohichnyi universytet imeni Tarasa Shevchenka. 1932–1998: Istorychnyi narys (Luhansk 1998)
Klymov, A.; Kurylo, V. Luhans'kyi natsional'nyi universytet imeni Tarasa Shevchenka. Istoriia, siohodennia, perspektyvy (Luhansk 2006)
LNU official web site: http://luguniv.edu.ua/

Serhiy Bilenky

[This article was updated in 2020.]




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