The History and Formation of the Faculty
Academician Stepan Demianchuk International University of Economics and Humanities is the only higher education institution in the Rivne region that prepares bachelors, specialists and masters of geography. Specialists training in the speciality “Secondary Education Pedagogy and Methodology. Geography and Biology ”at the University began in September 2001 on the basis of the Department of Ecology and Environmental Protection (Head Department was PhD, Professor Kharchenko B. I.) The founders of the speciality were the teachers of this department: Doctor of Science in Geography, Professor Budz M.D., PhD Oliinyk V. S. During 2003-2004, the Department of Ecology and Environmental Protection was reorganised through two separate departments – Geography and Biology. The establishment of these departments created the background for the formation of the Faculty of Natural Geography in 2006, which became part of the Institute of Pedagogical Education. The first dean of the Faculty of Natural Geography was the PhD, Senior Researcher, Associated Professor Hrytsyk Oleksandr Borysovych. From September 2013 to August 2015, PhD, Associated Professor Romaniv A.S. worked as the Dean. Now the Dean of the Faculty of Natural Geography at the Academician Stepan Demianchuk International University of Economics and Humanities is Doctor of Science in Geography, Professor Kalko Andrii Dmytrovych.
Since the founding of the Faculty, its scientific potential has grown, experience of training teachers of geography and biology has been accumulated, cooperation with scientific, educational institutions and public organisations of the region, Ukraine and abroad has been established, and an active centre of tourist-local activity has been formed.
An important stage has happened as the faculty has obtained a license for the preparation of masters in the speciality 8.04010401 “Geography” in 2007 and eight graduates received the first master diplomas of geography in 2008. The year 2008 was also marked by the first graduation of postgraduate students of geography.
Thanks to the efforts of faculty members, the university received a license to train bachelors in the fields 6.140103 “Tourism” and 6. 040102 “Biology” in September 2011.
Now the faculty’s educational activity is aimed at training secondary schools teachers of geography and biology, as well as training specialists in the direction of “Tourism”.
The Personnel Potential
The Faculty of Natural Geography has highly qualified personnel, capable of professionally solving modern problems in the field of basics and professionally oriented disciplines, training specialists with sufficient scientific level, as well as with a high level of practical skills. The graduating departments of the Faculty are the Department of Geography and Tourism and the Department of Biology.
The Department of Geography and Tourism belongs to the professional graduates in the areas of training “Geography”, “Tourism” and occupies a prominent place among other structural units of the Faculty of Natural Geography and the University. 11 people work directly at the Department of Geography and Tourism. Among them: 1 Doctor of Sciences, Professor (Kalko A.D.); 4 PhD, Associate Professors (Oliinyk V.S., Osipchuk I.O., Yaromenko O.V., Basiuk T. O.). All lecturers of the department of scientific and pedagogical specialty corresponds to the disciplines they teach. The Department of Geography and Tourism is headed by Doctor of Geographical Sciences, speciality 11.00.11 – Constructive Geography and Rational Use of Natural Resources, Professor of the Department of Geography and Tourism Kalko Andrii Dmytrovych.
The Material Equipment
The material and technical base of the Faculty of Natural Geography includes a sufficient number of classrooms, laboratories, educational and administrative areas and technical training tools to ensure the proper level of training of specialists in the areas of training “Geography”, “Biology”, “Tourism”.
The faculty has 8 specialised classrooms: social and economic geography, geological and palaeontological museum, zoological museum, classrooms of tourism and local lore, laboratory of geoinformational technologies, botany classrooms, a laboratory of human and animal physiology and a classrooms for teaching biology.
The pride of the faculty is the unique zoological museum formed by Associated Professor of the Department of Biology Rostyslav Rostyslavovych Shykula.
The museum exposition is the result of many years of hard work and effort and money. For 30 years Shykula R.R. has collected over 2500 specimens of rare animals, mostly invertebrates. Most of the exhibits are rare for Ukraine, because they are exotic inhabitants of the seas, oceans, rainy equatorial forests and savannahs. A large part of the collection is from Africa, South America, South and South-East Asia. The diversity of the entomofauna of Ukraine is represented by collections of beetles, butterflies, hymenoptera, bedbugs and other arthropods.
Shykula R.R. has made expeditions to the farthest corners of the planet with the aim of updating the collection with new exhibits and collecting video footage about the life of animals. In 2008, expeditions were made to the Sahara, to the Libyan and Arabian deserts, to the Arabian Mountains and to the Red and Mediterranean Sea. In 2009, exploration were conducted to the Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Bali, Komodo, New Guinea islands and the coastal areas of the Indian Ocean. The collection was expanded with new species of tropical insects, shellfish, corals and other animals. Shykula R.R. travelled to South America for a month and a half to search for exhibits for the museum, he visited Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Brazil, Guyana, the Galapagos and the Caribbean in summer of 2012.
The exhibits of the collection are used in lectures, practical and laboratory classes, which allows students to achieve the maximum efficiency of the educational process.
After obtaining the licence to train specialist in geography the University lecturers began working on the formation of mineralogical and petrographic collections. Samples were provided from their own foundations by Doctor of Science in Geography, Professor Budz M.D., PhD, Associate Professor Oliinyk V.S., PhD, Associate Professor Romaniv A.S. The Geological Foundation grew at the expense of the replenishment of its exhibits, collected by students of the Faculty of Natural Geography during summer internships and by lecturers from tourist trips.
In September 2011, the Geological Museum-Laboratory, which was created thanks to the cooperation of the University with the Young Tourists Regional Station, started operating on the basis of the Faculty of Natural Geography in a specially equipped classrooms. The most interesting and unique specimens are displayed at the museum. There are more than 1300 exhibits in the museum’s foundation, 750 of which are donated to the university in accordance with the agreement on cooperation with the Station. Mineralogical collection (sulphides, oxides and hydroxides, silicates, phosphates, carbonates, sulphates, halides) is a significant part of the museum’s geological foundations. The petrographic collection is represented practically by all types of rocks. There are also samples of man-made rocks, minerals and rocks of unusual formations. Much of the work on organising and preserving the collections is carried out by the head of the Museum-Laboratory, the employee of the Young Tourists Regional Station Volnenko N.P., involving students from schools and Universities.
The educational process uses a wide variety of video collection of educational and documentary films for teaching and some of which is captured and edited by the lecturers themselves.
Museums also serve an important educational function, as it is attended by students not only in Rivne, but also throughout Rivne region and neighbour areas.
The faculty members are actively involved in educational projects, develop innovative teaching and methodological materials to support the educational process and introduce new teaching methods and technologies.
The Research Work and Cooperation with Other Institutions
An integral attribute of the Faculty’s activity is the research work of its staff. Scientific achievements are represented in monographs, educational and methodical developments and patents.
Lecturers and students of the Faculty of Natural Geography are constantly involved in the work of scientific-theoretical, scientific-practical conferences on contemporary problems of geography, biology, local history and tourism. Only in the last 3 years the faculty organised the IV International scientific-practical conference: “Eco- and agrotourism: perspectives for development at the regional and local levels” (Rivne, Ukraine); All-Ukrainian Scientific and Practical Conference: “Geography of Rivne Region and Related Areas” (Rivne, Ukraine); Participated in the role of co-organiser of the 5th International Scientific and Practical Conference “Eco-and Agritourism: Development Prospects in Local Territories” (Baranovichi, Belarus).
The current direction of the faculty’s work is in solving important regional problems of socio-economic development. In particular, faculty members work closely with local governments to develop recommendations on the use of geographical approaches to regional policy and the tourism industry. The Department of Geography and Tourism actively participated in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Strategy of the Rivne region “The Western Gate” in the following areas: tourism development, agro-logistics, education. Lecturers of the Department of Geography and Tourism are invited to participate in the work of the Regional Centre for Retraining and Advanced Training of Employees of Government Bodies, Local Self-Government Bodies, Heads of State-Owned Enterprises, Institutions and Organisations of the Rivne Regional Administration.
The departments of the faculty cooperate with scientific institutions, organisations, state administration bodies and higher educational establishments of Ukraine. Close scientific relations have been established with the geographical faculties of Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, Taras Shevchenko National University, Lesya Ukrainka Eastern European National University, Ternopil Volodymyr Hnatiuk National Pedagogical University, as well as with the Rivne Regional Institute of Postgraduate Pedagogical Education. Cooperation was established with the Department of Tourism of the Kodolányi János University of Applied Sciences (Hungary), the Department of Natural and Mathematical Sciences of Baranovichi State University (Belarus), the Higher School of Tourism and Ecology in Sucha-Beskidzka (Poland).
On the basis of the Minor Academy of Sciences, students of the Young Tourists Regional Station conduct their scientific and methodological research. The departments of the faculty provide scientific support to the section of geography and local history, meteorology, geology, biology at the Rivne Minor Academy of Sciences. The faculty members are the authors of programs for the group work in the structure of the Minor Academy of Sciences, involved as chairmen and members of the jury in the regional competition for the protection of student research works. The study guide “Student Research in Geography: Methodology and Methods” edited by Associated Professor Romaniv O.Ia. was prepared by the staff of The Department of Geography and Tourism and in the 2012-2013 academic year received the highest distinction in the competition of educational publications for extracurricular education, which was conducted by the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine.
The faculty have formed their traditions of scientific work with students during its existence. The winners of the university student Olympiads and competitions of scientific works annually participate in all-Ukrainian student professional Olympiads and competitions of research works in geography, tourism. It is worth mentioned that our students at the all-Ukrainian Olympiads and competitions are the only representatives of the private higher education institutions.
Each year, students of the Faculty publish about 15 scientific publications in co-authorship with scientific leaders and individually, present the results of their own research at student scientific conferences (Dnipropetrovsk, Kiev, Ternopil, Kharkiv, Zhytomyr). Using multimedia technologies and preparation of the master’s thesis abstract was implemented as a mandatory element when students are defending their master theses.
Training and Interships
The peculiarity of teaching at the faculty is that the educational and industrial practices play an important role in the teaching process. The faculty is the undisputed leader in the university in terms of their duration and diversity.
Summer practices are intended to strengthen theoretical knowledge and master the field, instrumental and experimental methods of studying natural and socio-economic geosystems in general and their individual components. Future teachers of geography and biology will acquire the skills to use specialised geodetic, meteorological, hydrological and other devices, which are equipped with specialised classrooms, to master modern geoinformation systems in practice.
The bases for practical work are the national parks of the Carpathian region, the protected territories of the Rivne village, the Lviv and Volhynia villages, the Rivne zoo, the meteorological station of the city of Rivne, the specialised objects of the Ternopil territories, the place of mineral deposits. In order to study practical work with the Department of Physical Geography, Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, he promoted student complexes of physical geographic education on the basis of the Chornohir Geographic Hospital.
Students visit industrial enterprises in Rivne during the economic-geographical practice.
Tourism students take internships at tourism industry enterprises – at travel operators or travel agencies, hotels, restaurants, and health resorts. Here they get acquainted with the technology of tourist services, conduct information gathering for the completion of coursework and diploma work. Students of the faculty have the opportunity to practice on the basis of the best 5 star hotels in Turkey, internship in Spain, based on the agreements concluded.
Pedagogical practice is carried out on the basis of secondary schools. Agreements with the city schools (№13, 18, 25, 20) which have sufficient material and technical base are concluded with the purpose to carry out a qualitative pedagogical practice. Well-known teachers-methodologists of the city lead the pedagogical practice. And the students of the magistracy pedagogical assistant practice are conducting it on the basis of the departments of the faculty.
Educational and tourist activities of the Faculty
The Faculty pays great attention to organising the students free time. Since 2011, the Faculty of Natural Geography annually holds an intellectual competition “Tournament of Geographers” among students of different courses. Masters of the Department of Geography and Tourism conduct thematic “Brain Rings” for faculty students during their teaching practices.
It is traditional to hold public lectures by faculty members on the Day of Tourism, broadcasting them online at the Faculty’s website, meeting with veterans of the sports and tourism movement, organising photo show, mass trips of students and lecturers for rest in the natural environment during the Day of Tourism.
Students of the Faculty of Natural Geography are traditional participants of the Youth Festival of Ukrainian Tourist Song “Babyne lito (Grandmother’s Summer)”, which is held every year at the end of September on the territory of the recreation centre “Vereshchytsia” in Yavoriv National Park in Lviv region.
The Faculty is paying considerable attention to Tourism and Local Lore. Excursions to places of interest of Ukraine, hiking trips for students are organised. The Faculty cooperates closely with the Department of Culture and Tourism of the Rivne Regional State Administration, the Rivne Regional Centre of the Sports Tourism Federation of Ukraine, and the Young Tourists Station. Students of the speciality and lecturers of the department take part in the annual regional tourism championship among pedagogical workers.
The Faculty lecturers and students have repeatedly won all-Ukrainian championships in sports tourism. They have participated in sports hiking (including categories) in the Carpathians and Crimea, as well as abroad – in the Caucasus, the Alps, the Polar Urals, Scandinavia.
Meetings at the Rivne Regional Centre of the Sports Tourism Federation of Ukraine are held, as well as trainers and senior instructors’ courses on tourism.
In February 2012, on the initiative of the lecturers of the Department of Geography and Tourism, O.I. Tokar “SalaMandry MEHU (The Academician Stepan Demianchuk IUEH SalaManders)” Tourism Club was established at the University, bringing together followers of an active lifestyles and sports tourism.
The Tourism Club makes new traditions at the University, organising tourist travels for students and employees at the University. Weekend hikes have become traditional. The Tourism Club cooperates with the Sports Tourism Federation of the Rivne Region, and actively participates in all events held by the Regional Sports Centre for Physical Health of the Population of the Rivne Region Council.
The club is open year-round. In particular, the autumn-winter season is used for speleological expeditions. Club members meet New Year and Christmas holidays traditionally in the winter Carpathians.
Even during summer holidays the club is still working. At this time, participants are hiking in mountainous areas of the world. Summertime is the best time for water rafting. The tour club members organised winter climbing on the peaks of Hoverla and Petros in the Carpathians, water rafting of the 2nd category of complexity on the Black Cheremosh and Prut River, water rafting of the 1st category of complexity on the river Sluch, hiking of the 1st category of complexity in the Carpathians.
Club members can be all students and employees of the university that are interested in tourism. The purpose of the club is to increase the tourist experience of students, mastering their skills and abilities necessary for participants of amateur sports tourism.
The main tasks of the tour club are the education of a harmoniously developed personality, organisation of leisure for the student youth; ecological, patriotic and moral education, organisation of tourist, ecological and complex expeditions, trips, competitions.
Students and faculty members take an active social and civic position, which is why the scientific, educational and educational activities of the faculty extend far beyond the walls of the university. The work of the Rivne Centre of the Ukrainian Geographical Society rallies around the faculty.
The correspondence intellectual competition “20 words” is held annually in three nominations: “20 words: biology”, “20 words: geography”, “20 words: tourism” in order to promote geographical, biological knowledge and tourism for students of the upper classes of Rivne region and other regions. In 2013, the faculty implemented an innovative idea and a competition “Geographic Races” was held in the format of a kind of web-based quest on social networks.
Lecturers at the Department of Geography and Tourism started the move “Flag of the University on the Highest Peaks of the World” with the financial support of the rector of Academician Stepan Demianchuk International University of Economics and Humanities, Professor A.S. Demianchuk In the summer of 2008. For the years 2008-2013, the peaks of the Elbrus (Caucasus), the Mont Blanc, the Grossglockner (the highest peak of the High Tauern in the Alps, the highest point of Austria), the Mount Narodnaya (the highest point of the Ural Mountains, located in the Polar Urals), the Gelchepiggen (the Scandinavian Mountains), the Gerlachovsky Shield (the Carpathian Mountains, Slovakia), the Lima-Licheli (the highest peak of the Caucasus Svanetsky Range, Georgia), the Roraima (the Guiana Highlands, Venezuela) and a number of Indonesia peaks. The expedition was made to Cherry National Geological Park (Spain).
It is also traditional to raise annually the flag of the University by students and lecturers of the Faculty of Natural Geography on the highest peak of the Carpathians – the Hoverla Mountain.
The course of the action was covered in the all-Ukrainian edition of “Local History. Geography. Tourism.”, On the channel “Sfera-TV (Sphere-TV)”, as well as on the websites of the university, the faculty and the university newspaper “Somyi poverkh (Seventh Floor)”
Taking into account the demands of the labour market in their work, the staff of the faculty introduce flexible forms of organisation of the educational process, carry out active activity using web resources, social networks. Today, the sites of the faculty are actively functioning (http://pgf.rv.ua), the Internet portal “Geography” http://geografica.net.ua (moderator – the lecturer of the Department of Geography and Tourism Viktor Shkirynets). The group “The Faculty of Natural Geography at the Academician Stepan Demianchuk” and personal pages of individual teachers were created in facebook.
The main goals and objectives of the faculty for the near future is a harmonious combination of academic programs in teaching students of related educational fields of geography, biology, tourism.
Geological Museum After obtaining the licence to train specialist in geography the University lecturers began working on the formation of mineralogical and petrographic collections. Samples were provided from their own foundations by Doctor of Science in Geography, Professor Budz M.D., PhD, Associate Professor Oliinyk V.S., PhD, Associate Professor Romaniv A.S. In September 2011, the Geological Museum-Laboratory, which was created thanks to the cooperation of the University with the Young Tourists Regional Station, started operating on the basis of the Faculty of Natural Geography in a specially equipped classrooms. The most interesting and unique specimens are displayed at the museum. There are more than 1300 exhibits in the museum’s fund, 750 of which are donated to the university in accordance with the agreement on cooperation with the Station. The work of organising and preserving the collections is conducted by the head of the museum-laboratory, employee of the Young Tourist Regional Station Volnenko N.P., involving student and student youth.