At present, Tomsk University has a reputation as one of the nation’s top educational institutions. TSU prides itself on providing a quality education in the humanities, social sciences, arts, business and sciences. The university includes 23 faculties:
Geology and Geography
Mechanics and Mathematics
Physics and Engineering
Applied Mathematics and Cybernetics
Higher School of Business
International Faculty of Management
Institute of Arts and Culture
Institute of Biology, Ecology and Soil
Interregional Institute of Social Sciences
The most popular areas of study are business and management, computer science, psychology, foreign languages, sociology and law. Currently the student body consists of 23,000 undergraduates and 700 postgraduates. The University has 5 branches in Siberia and Kazakhstan. Five out of its nine academic buildings are located close together on the University grounds in the city centre and six halls of residence (dormitories) - in the southern part of Tomsk. Other facilities include: a Sports Complex with a swimming pool, gyms and a stadium, a Culture Centre with a Concert hall, the Computer Centre, the American and German Resource Centres, the Scientific library and a few museums. The University is headed by the Rector, the 1st Vice-Rector and six Vice-Rectors who are responsible for particular areas of activity (e.g. academic, economic, social, international activity).
The course of studies may last for 4, 5 or 6 years, leading to a Bachelor’s, Master’s and Specialist’s degrees or diplomas. In order to be admitted, school-leavers/high school graduates are to take some entrance exams and submit the results of national school tests. The entry competition is getting fiercer every year. In 2008, for example, 5,400 school-leavers applied to 1,600 budget places. The applicants arrived from Kemerovo, Altai and Krasnoyarsk territories, Kazakhstan and the Buryat Republic. Nearly a thousand applicants enrolled were from Tomsk and the Tomsk region.
The academic year is divided into 2 terms with a two-week vacation between them in winter and a two-month vacation in summer. At the end of each term students take midsessional (winter) and sessional exams (summer), usually 3 or 4 exams, and a number of credit tests. During term time undergraduates attend lectures, seminars, classes and tutorials. Lectures are normally given to large audiences, to all the groups of the same year, in spacious lecture rooms or lecture theatres. A lecturer delivers material, students listen and take notes. A lecture course may last one or two terms. Seminars and tutorials are held in smaller groups. Some courses require periods of practical training at schools and plants, in expeditions and field trips. Every student has a student ID card and a matriculation book / record book where his marks/grades are listed. Academic scholarships are available for most students. Attendance at University is not compulsory, perhaps, but highly desirable and monitored by the Deans’ administration. A student who failed an exam is usually allowed to retake it. In case of several failures and persistent absenteeism a student may be expelled. Some students drop out without completing a course.
Undergraduates are expected to write course papers. By writing them, they learn to do individual research, obtain information from various sources and draw their own conclusions. Computer labs are equipped with Internet connections, so students can have access to vast amounts of information and research materials. Course papers or other scientific papers may be presented at annual student conferences in April. Outstanding students are often rewarded for their progress in studies and research with special scholarships and grants. Successful graduates may apply to postgraduates departments and work towards getting the degree of a Candidate of Science.
Student life at University is more than just working on projects and attending classes. The University encourages student participation in non-academic activities: student clubs, volunteer and social activities. The Sports Complex provides health and fitness opportunities for everyone. Athletic teams regularly compete in games, athletics, swimming, marathon and other sports. Students are welcome to participate in music ensembles and vocal groups, theatrical productions, and student-run media. Generally speaking, students lead a busy and interesting life.
The complete undergraduate course ends with final exams and the defence of a graduation/diploma paper, after which the undergraduates are awarded degrees at the graduation ceremony.
Naturally, there are challenges to University life. First and foremost is financing. State financing has been cut considerably in recent years. Today more students are studying on a contract basis, paying tuition fees. There are other issues, too: students’ stipends might be bigger, there are not enough lecture rooms, there is a lack of audio, video and computer equipment, and so on. There are many things to be done and improved. But despite all this, University alumni, who currently work in almost every profession, always remember their student years with warm feelings.
b)Pay attention to the pronunciation of the following words:
‘area, to be headed /e/, ‘budget / /\ /, ‘access /ks/, allow /au/, a’pply /ai/,
‘annual, to pre’sent, vast /a:/, ‘progress, mu’seum, south /au/,
1) To graduate – to get a degree from a university or college.
e.g. He graduated from York with a degree in sociology.
A graduate (n) – a person who has a university degree: e.g. a graduate in history; a graduate of Oxford.
An undergraduate – a university or college student who is studying for their first degree. E.g. a first-year undergraduate.
A postgraduate – a person who already holds a first degree and who is doing advanced study or research.
2) Term – (esp. in Britain) – one of the three periods in the year during which classes are held in schools, universities. E.g. the spring / summer/ autumn term. It’s nearly the end of term.
Semester – (esp. in the US) – one of the two periods that the school or college year is divided into : the spring/fall semester.
3) Tuition – the act of teaching sth, especially to one person or to people in small groups. E.g. She received private tuition in French.
Tuition fees – money that you pay to be taught, esp. in a college or university.
Tutor – 1.a private teacher 2. a teacher whose job is to pay special attention to the studies or health, etc of a student or a group of students. E.g. his history tutor. He was my tutor at university.
Tutorial – a period of teaching in a university that involves discussion between an individual student or a small group of students and a tutor.
4) To apply – to make a formal request, usually in writing, for sth such as a job, a place at college, university, etc. E.g. to apply for a job/ grant; to apply to a company/ university.
Applicant – a person who makes a formal request for sth, for entrance to a school or university. E.g. There were over 500 applicants for the job.
5) Facilities – buildings, services, equipment, etc that are provided for a particular purpose. E.g. sports/ leisure facilities; conference facilities; cooking facilities; facilities for study.
Exercise 3. Answer the questions on the text.
1.How many students are enrolled at TSU today?
2. Where are the undergraduates from?
3. How many buildings and halls of residence does TSU have?
4. Where are they located?
5. What facilities are available to University people?
6. On what conditions are school-leavers admitted?
7. What degrees does the complete course of study lead to?
8. What terms is the academic year divided into?
9. When and how does each term end?
10.What kind of classes do undergraduates attend?
11.Is attendance at lectures compulsory?
12.Are there any chances for poor students to retake exams?
13.Are periods of practical training a necessary part of the study process?
14.What research projects do undergraduates do?
15.In what way are outstanding students rewarded?
16.What is the final stage towards getting a degree?
17.Are there any opportunities for postgraduate study at TSU?
18.Is education at TSU free of charge?
19. Are there any shortcomings in University life?
20. How do alumni usually remember their university years?
Exercise 4. Translate the following phrases into Russian.
A medical student. A science student. A postgraduate student. An overseas student. A student teacher. A student nurse. A student grant. Student fees. Students’ union. A good/able/bright/brilliant/outstanding student. A first-year/second-year student. Senior students.
To award diplomas. To win/receive/get an award for sth. An award ceremony.
Very often school-leavers /high school graduates need private tuition in maths. He tutors students in mathematics. Tutorials help to understand the material better.
She hasn’t passed her driving test yet. I’m not really expecting to pass first time. The examiner passed all the candidates. The examiner failed two candidates. They passed me in maths. She got a pass in French.
The committee will present its final report to Parliament in June. Are you presenting a paper at the conference? Eight options were presented for consideration.
To submit an application. Completed projects must be submitted by 10 March. When is the final date for the submission of proposals?
She was expelled after failing two exams. She was expelled from school at 12. She started a degree but dropped out after only a year. He has dropped out of active politics. College dropouts. A university with a high dropout rate.
Exercise 5. Make up your own sentences with the following words:
Top educational institutions, area of study, to be located, entrance exams, the entry competition, compulsory, to fail an exam, to complete a course, to work on sth, to be equipped with sth, to encourage sb/sth, to participate in non-academic activities, to provide, to award degrees, tuition fee.
Exercise 5. Make up your own sentences with the following words:
Top educational institutions, area of study, currently, to be located, entrance exams, entry competition, to last, to fail an exam, to complete a course, to write a course paper, to do research, to be equipped with sth, to work on projects, to encourage, to award degrees, tuition fee, alumni.
American Higher Education Versus Russian
(from an interview with Professor B. Gladkih who some years ago visited several American universities, including Harvard University).
Here we present some features of American higher education as described by Professor Gladkih and leave it to you to compare them with the Russian practice.
1. Americans see higher education as a personal business. If you wish to study for a degree – pay your money and go to university. They “invest” in higher education and expect that these investments will pay off in the future. They realize that a university degree gives them advantage in the labour market. Higher education there is very expensive – 20,000-30,000 dollars per year – but it is really valued.
2. Every American student has his individual curriculum. The list of courses offered is published on university sites. Every student is provided with a list of compulsory and elective courses for the chosen area of specialization. Before the semester starts the student chooses 3-5 subjects that he or she wishes to study. There are no academic groups, every student attends courses according to his individual plan.
If a student fails an exam in some course, he is not permitted to retake it. However, he can pay for this course again and take it next semester.
Every course is measured in credits, from 1 credit for the easiest courses to 5 for the most difficult ones. To complete a degree course an undergraduate must earn about 120 credits. Students pay for credits, that is if a student, for example, has chosen courses worth 14 credits for the given semester, he pays for them and passes exams in these courses at the end of semester. After he has accumulated the required number of credits and passed the compulsory courses, he gets a Bachelor’s degree.
3. The American university system comprises 2 levels – a Bachelor’s degree (4 years) and a Master’s degree (2 more years of study). A Bachelor’s degree is valued and a person who has got it displays it with pride on the wall in his home or office.
4. Normally, American students spend 12-15 hours a week in classrooms. They have more time for individual work, and they do work hard outside classrooms. Students bent over books and notes can be seen in all corners of the campus: on benches, lawns, in libraries and cafes.
5. University rules and regulations are strict and must be followed. Undergraduates are expected to do everything on time and meet all deadlines. All exams are written, most of them in the form of multiple choice tests that are assessed/evaluated in grades. Students’ progress is closely watched and grade point average –GPA- is calculated and every student knows his GPA. If his GPA is below 2 (the top grade is 4), the student is expelled.
6. All grades received throughout the degree course are stored in a data base. Information technology at American universities is superb! Each desk in a classroom and each room in a dormitory is connected to the Internet that is fast/speedy and free.
7. Students wear casual clothes: T-shirts, jeans, shorts and caps. Many move on bicycles or roller skates on the campus area. Drinking beer or smoking cigarettes inside academic buildings and even on University grounds is not allowed. To see a smoking student or professor is a very rare thing. At American universities one may meet a lot of Chinese students, especially among those majoring in sciences.
Read each item of the text above and compare it with the relevant Russian practice.
Model: Item 1. The approach to higher education in Russia is totally different. The Russian system was established in the 1930s, when there was an acute shortage of educated specialists for the national economy. The system of higher education was aimed at mass education in conditions of short funds. All the features of the Russian system stem from that approach to train a large number of specialists and to train them cheaply. Until recently all higher education in this country was paid for from the state budget and was free for the population. And as far as I know there are more people here with university diplomas than elsewhere…
What does the author think of:
1. girls in Tomsk?
3. first-year students?
4. University graduates?
5. connection between generations?
6. special atmosphere in Tomsk?
What is the general mood of the poem? Is the author filled with nostalgia for his University days?
Exercise 9. Read the poems below and say where you agree or disagree with the author and what you would like to add.
TOMSK STATE UNIVERSITY
The grand imposing façade,
the heavy oak door,
the marble stairs, the airy flood
inspire reverence and awe.
Since it was opened, on private donations,
amid the taiga and wild game,
TSU’s graduated quite a few generations
who brought this town much fame.
BUILDING No. 2
This plain-looking building
doesn’t catch your eye,
yet here every corner
is always occupied.
Lectures, classes, seminars
are held, to my amazement,
in all the rooms, on all the floors,
and even in the basement!
The library is a sacred place,
here students read and read…
and the mighty Internet
cannot compete with it.
The book depository is stocked
with Stroganov’s donations,
old scripts, rare books, computer disks,
and latest publications.
At leisure, my friends,
go for a stroll in the park
among the dreamy pines, lilacs and limes,
and the birches with shining bark.
The lovely shooting buds,
the fragrance of bird cherry,
the sight of squirrels eating nuts
will make you fresh and merry.
THE FACULTY OF FOREIGN LANGUAGES
There is a special faculty
At our TSU.
It was established recently,
In fact, it is quite new.
The faculty is headed
By a wise and mighty Dean.
Her voice is soft but words are strict,
We know what they mean!
Among the teaching staff there are
Young girls and white-haired ladies.
They spare no effort, no time,
To teach are always ready.
As to the students, oh, where else
Are there such pretty girls?
With long dark lashes, dimpled cheeks,
With blonde and fluffy curls.
Beware! Their sweet angelic looks
Conceal their nails and fists,
They are ambitious, they are cool,
True Russian feminists!
They learn a hundred foreign words
And grammar rules each day.
They read Charles Dickens, Bernard Shaw,
And William Thackeray.
To master English, German, French
These students travel lots,
They know all the world today
Demands top polyglots!
The winners in a linguistic contest THE INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS DEPARTMENT (The IRD)
In nineteen ninety-two
Opened a new department.
Most promising boys
To promote Russia’s advancement.
The dean told them,
Now and then,
Receiving them in his office:
“My dear friends,
You must understand
Russia’s future is in your hands!”
Five classes a day,
No rest, no play,
In rooms with no fresh air,
Economics and law,
And many things more
Sometimes drove us to despair.
English, of course,
German and French,
We couldn’t leave them out.
We also need
A good expertise
In Chinese and Japanese.
Now we are employed
In many fields,
We found inspiration
In foreign offices,
And looking back
On those days
We feel nostalgic.
Thank you for all!
May you always be!
Three cheers for the IRD!!!
A Chinese class in the IRD THE UNIVERSITY SONG
Filled with great aspirations
we came here at seventeen
to get an education, absorb information,
obey all the teachers and deans.
brilliantly lectured to us,
the stressful exams and tricky tests
were not very easy to pass.
Fortune favors the brave!
No pain, no gain!
We repeated, to stay undefeated,
those maxims again and again.
Brief moments of relaxation
were spent in the gyms and the park,
among the evergreen pine-trees,
where squirrels wished us good luck.
Four, five, six years
swiftly flew by and seem far,
we were awarded the degrees
of Bachelor and Master. Hurrah!
They’ll always stay with me,
my University days,
busy and hectic, bright and romantic,
they left in my heart a deep trace.
Exercise 10. a) Guess what events the photos below illustrate. Try to give an extended answer. Support your ideas with facts from your experience.
Model 1. I think it is a typical lecture. Students are in a lecture theatre, waiting for the lecture to start. Lectures are given to large audiences, students listen to lecturers and take notes. Here it seems to me some students are missing. I personally try to attend all the lectures but last week I missed 2 lectures since I was unwell.
b) Make a dialogue on the basis of a photo.
Model 2. St.A: It’s an ordinary lecture.
St. B: Yes, like the ones we have every day.
A: It seems there are not many students yet. Perhaps some will still arrive.
B: Yes, some are obviously missing. To tell the truth, yesterday I missed my morning class,too.
A: Did you? It’s so unlike you. You never miss and always arrive in time.
B. This time I overslept! I stayed up too late the night before.
Exercise 11. Speak on the following topics.
1. Describe the way the academic process is organized at TSU.