Chernihiv College National University

Chernihiv College National University (Національний університет ‘Чернігівський колегіум’ імені Т.Г. Шевченка; Natsionalnyi universytet ‘Chernihivs’kyi kolehium’ imeni Tarasa Shevchenka). A university of a classical type in Chernihiv, one of the oldest universities in Ukraine, founded in August 1916 as Chernihiv Teachers’ Institute. It had three faculties: philology and history; physics and mathematics; and natural sciences and geography. The newly created institute inherited the material resources (including the library) and the faculty from Chernihiv Theological Seminary that itself had been a successor to the early modern Chernihiv College (1700–76). During the 1920s and 1930s the teachers' institute was reorganized several times: as the institute of people's education (1920), as the institute of social education (1930), as the pedagogical institute (1933), as the teachers' institute (1935), and as the combined pedagogical-teachers’ institute (1939). Several faculty members, including two directors of the teachers' institute, were accused of ‘nationalism’ or ‘Trotskyism’ during the years of Stalinist terror and suffered persecution.

During the Second World War most of the institute’s material resources, including its library and teaching facilities, were lost. The restored institute was reopened in the building of a former primary school, unsuitable for an institution of higher education. In 1953–4 most teachers' institutes in Ukraine were reorganized into pedagogical institutes (38 in total), including Chernihiv Pedagogical Institute (ChPI). The new status permitted the institutes to award their graduates higher pedagogical degrees. In 1957–8 ChPI became one of the first institutes in Ukraine to open a separate faculty dedicated to the training of elementary school teachers. The new faculty was added to the existing Faculty of Physics and Mathematics (that was divided into two separate faculties in 1969). The faculty of general technology (engineering) of Kyiv Polytechnical Institute opened its branch in ChPI in 1960 (soon, however, it was transformed into a separate institute, known today as Chernihiv Polytechnic National University). In 1961 ChPI was named after Taras Shevchenko. By the early 1960s three new buildings were constructed, attached to the main one, thus creating a separate campus. The enrollment grew from 3,000 in the late 1960s to almost 3,800 by 1981. Several new faculties were added in the 1960s and 1970s, during the tenure of ChPI’s longtime rector (from 1955 to 1982) mathematician Viktor Kostarchuk: evening and continuous education (1962), teachers of English (1965, closed in 1972), physical education (1966), and history (1972). The faculty of chemistry and biology was opened in 1986.

On the eve of the 1991 Ukraine’s Declaration of Independence, the enrollment in ChPI reached its peak with 5,379 students, but has since continually decreased to 4,728 in 1998 and around 4,000 in 2020. As in many other institutes in Soviet Ukraine of the 1980s, ChPI curriculum was thoroughly Russified and approximately half of its instructors taught in Russian. The situation began to change only slowly after 1992, when 55 percent of all subjects were taught in Ukrainian. The policy of Ukrainization gained momentum after the mid-1990s, with 90 percent of ChPI’s instructors already using Ukrainian in classrooms in 1997. In 1992 ChPI received the former building of the regional department of internal affairs. It has housed the history faculty ever since. In 1998 ChPI was reorganized as Chernihiv State Pedagogical University (ChDPU). New programs of study were added, including the faculty of philology (2006). In 2009 the faculty of history was reorganized into the Oleksander Lazarevsky Institute of History, Social Sciences, and Humanities, which contains regional branches of two research institutes of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, namely, the Institute of Ukrainian Archeography and Source Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, and the Institute of Fine Arts, Folklore, and Ethnology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. A museum of the university’s history was opened in 2009. In 2010 ChDPU was granted the national university status, and in 2017 it assumed its current name: Chernihiv College National University (NUChK).

As of 2021 NUChK consists of five faculties (technology; physical education; preschool and elementary education and arts; natural sciences and mathematics; and philology) and two institutes (Oleksander Lazarevsky Institute of History, Social Sciences, and Humanities; and the Institute of Psychology and Social Work). NUChK’s library includes 720,000 volumes (including unique old editions). NUChK has published several periodicals, among them Visnyk natsional'noho universytetu ‘Chernihivs'kyi kolehium’ (167 vols, 1998–) and Siverians'kyi litopys (158 vols, 1995–).

In 2020 NUChK has been ranked 168th in the independent academic ranking Top 200 Ukraine.

Pivstolittia nevtomnoї pratsi. Narys istoriї Chernihivs'koho pedahohichnoho instytutu im. T.H. Shevchenka (Kyiv 1966)
Borovyk, A., Borovyk, M. Istoriia Chernihivs'koho natsional'noho pedahohichnoho universytetu v biohraphiiakh ioho kerivnykiv (Kyiv 2016)
NUChK official website:

Serhiy Bilenky

[This article was written in 2021.]

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