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The EENU Delegation at the ATHENA Training Seminar on University Autonomy and Istitutional Governance

The delegation from Lesya Ukrainka Eastern European National University headed by Rector Ihor Kotsan took part in second ATHENA training seminar on university autonomy and governance in the framework of the Tempus programme. The seminar was held at the University of Coimbra and the Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra in Portugal on 3-4 November 2014. The Ukrainian participants together with other representatives of the ATHENA consortium partners including Ukrainian Council of Rectors, Taras Shevchenko  National University of Kyiv, Donetsk National University, I. Mechnikov Odessa National University, Universities of Moldova and Armenia heard presentations from a range of senior figures in Portuguese higher education. Among the key-note speakers were J. Silva, University of Coimbra Rector, J. Pedrosa, former Minister of Education, and J. Palmeiro, high-profile external board member.

Rector J. Silva who opened the seminar, focused on the main tendencies in the development of his University, the issues of its sustainability, financial and academic autonomy. Among other priority topics he highlighted in his speech were the issues of student admission system, supervisory board outside member selection criteria, etc. 

J. Pedrosa, former Education Minister of Portugal, discussed the implementation of governance and autonomy reforms, of which Portuguese universities have extensive experience, the issues of involving the external funds aiming to finance scientific research in the Universities of Portugal.

T. Estermann, European University Association (EUA) expert and Director of ATHENA Governance, Funding & Public Policy Development, emphasized the importance of designing and introducing the University autonomy road map into the structures of the Ukrainian, Moldovan, and Armenian higher education institutions with due account of the respective countries’ economic and social environment.

Ihor Kotsan, Rector of Lesya Ukrainka Eastern European National University, actively participated in the EUA – Ukraine bilateral meeting. He drew attention of the audience to the current need of developing ‘society of intellectuals’ in Ukraine, since, in his opinion, this is the only way to create a ‘truly educated elite’ in the country. From this standpoint, the Ukrainian intellectual elite will boost the strategy of the Ukrainian University being attractive in Europe and globally. The Eastern European University in this sense is promoting the idea even by its name. The newly adopted Law of Ukraine On Higher Education, as the speaker noted in his review of its articles, opens broad horizons for strengthening the Ukrainian universities’ autonomy that is closely related to their responsibility and independence.  He further voiced his willingness to host other ATHENA fora, supported the idea of publishing a collective monograph co-authored by all ATHENA project representatives.  Finally, Ihor Kotsan expressed his University’s readiness to foster partneship cooperation between EENU and EUA for mutual benefit.         

At the end of the seminar, the participants had a good opportunity to enjoy a guided walking campus tour of the old University of Coimbra which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  

Professor Larysa Zasiekina