Comfortable campus is key to student-centered education

Comfortable campus is key to student-centered education

27 October 2020
Acting Vice-Rector of UTMN Alexander Startsev talks about the importance of creating comfortable spaces for students within the University.

Acting Vice-Rector of UTMN Alexander Startsev talks about the University infrastructure changes, ambitious renovation plans of the campus, and the impact of creating comfortable spaces for students within the University.

– The university infrastructure has changed a lot over the past few years. What was the reason behind it?

– UTMN educational process is evolving. Naturally, these changes reflect on the appearance and functions of the campus. Education becomes student-centered. Consequently, we need to make the campus the most comfortable and accommodating place for students. Students often spend the whole day at the University. Therefore, the infrastructure should meet their needs. There are cafes, coworking spaces, lobbies with sitting areas, libraries present on campus. All of these sites have been created for students to spend their time in comfort while being at the University.  
We try to meet the needs of people who take an active part in the University’s life – our students, professors, and partners. Their feedback and suggestions on how to better the campus are the most important. 

– What kind of student spaces will appear at UTMN in the future?

– In addition to more coworking spaces, we are going to organize spaces for sports, art, and scientific research. 

– What is a coworking space?

– From my point of view, the coworking space is a multifunctional site where people can choose to rest or work. That means there should be free WI-FI, charging stations, comfortable sofas and chairs, books, tables, and many other things. We take into consideration these aspects when we design new sites for students.

– Why is it important that all students are provided with their personal spaces within the University?

– We believe that the University is a home for students. If they spend the majority of the time here, then they should feel safe and comfortable. Naturally, the University should meet these needs. 

– How can the coworking space be used, apart from being a student site?

– Coworking space is highly versatile. Various events can be hosted there, such as student club meetings or lectures of guest speakers. Professors may use this space for classes, if they, for example, need to organize an activity for a larger group. 

– Currently, there are coworking spaces at the Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities, Institute of Earth Sciences, School of Advanced Studies, and at dormitories. Are you going to create such spaces at the other UTMN Institutes?

– The coworking space construction requires a detailed design plan. If we just free up a room and fill it with furniture, we won’t create a coworking space.  
Soon we are going to introduce coworking spaces to the Institute of State and Law and the Institute of Finance and Economics. As for the other Institutes, we are working on bringing coworking spaces there.

– Is it possible for students to participate in the process of designing the coworking spaces? Does UTMN already have such experience? 

– We, indeed, collaborate with students. Such projects prove to be very successful. We try to include everyone who wants to participate in designing the spaces. As we mentioned, University is a second home to students. Therefore, students should have the option to design their “home”, because they study and spend the majority of their time here. If you have any suggestions, you may send them to my e-mail:     

– What is the future of the institute building located at 9 Respubliki Street?

– It had a good run, but due to its condition, it will be demolished. We are planning to start the construction of the new main building of the University of Tyumen in 2021. It is planned to be finished by 2024.  

 Source: UTMN Department of Strategic Communications

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