In honour of 85th anniversary of Udmurt State University


Theory and Practice of Physical Culture № 1 2017

Associate Professor, PhD A.E. Alabuzhev1
Associate Professor, PhD G.B. Severukhin1
Associate Professor, PhD R.Kh. Mitrichenko1
Udmurt State University, Izhevsk

Keywords: Udmurt State University, academic sports, research schools, physical education specialist training.

Soon after Udmurt State University was established back in 1931, its management took efforts to launch physical education and sport training process under the leadership of N.A Potapov based on the-then Military Education Department. In 1937, the Department was staffed with only 3 physical education specialists, and in 1939 a physical education class was made and staffed with a senior teacher and two teaching assistants. They actively trained the students to help them master racing skiing, skating and gymnastics, get fit for the GTO Complex tests and compete in cross-country races that were highly popular in those days. During the Great Patriotic War, the education process was designed and managed as required by the All-Union Education Committee.

It was in 1946 that a fully-fledged Physical Education Department was established based on the Military Education Department and headed first by N.A. Zalepukhin followed by V.A. Emelyanov. A top priority was given at that time to the physical education specialist training for the national physical culture system, and it was almost immediately after the war that physical education departments were established at every pedagogical university of the country to train physical education specialists.

On August 1, 1949, pursuant to the USSR Ministry of Higher Education Order of 24.05.1949, the Physical Education and Sport Departments were established at Izhevsk, Kazan, Kirov, Molotov, Rostov and Tomsk Pedagogical Institutes. M.P. Babin, the Udmurt State Pedagogical Institute Director, largely contributed to the initiative to establish the new Department. Despite the poor material assets and shortage of qualified staff at that time, he did his best to fulfil the education plan, put on track the education and training process and contract good managers from among the available personnel to head the sub-departments and departments and manage the education process. As provided by the first academic curriculum of the new Department, its graduates were qualified “Teacher of physical education, human anatomy and physiology” that means that the students were partially trained by professors of the Biochemical Department. No wonder that in the period of 1953-1955 both of the Departments were managed by A.A. Vakhrushev, Biochemical Department Dean. It was in 1956 that PhD in Psychology P.L. Gorfunkel was appointed to head the Department as a Dean, and we appreciate his great contribution to the education process design and support at the Department. He was followed by V.P. Korenev who came to the office in February 1961.

In the 1960ies the Department had seen many Deans in the office. In 1963-64, for instance, the Department was headed by Acting Dean V.I. Ryabenko; in 1964-66 by I.P. Mukanov, one more Biochemical Department specialist. Then, in 1967, A.D. Burdin was appointed a Department Dean and worked in this position for the next 14 years proving himself as a highly gifted and determined manager. He managed to unite and inspire the academic staff, put on a stable track the education and training process and make good progress in quite a few fields of the Department activity.

It was a turning point in the academic history when in 1972 Udmurt State Pedagogical Institute was converted to Udmurt State University and B.N. Shulga was appointed the University Principal. The new principal made a great contribution to the University assets building and improvement process and particularly to the research and education specialist training system.

Prior to 1971, there had been no one with a PhD degree in Specialty 13.00.04 Physical Education and Sport Training Theory and Practice in the academic staff of the Department in fact. V.V. Osintsev was the first to defend his PhD thesis in February 1971 followed in a few months by B.P. Shenin and in 1977 by G.B. Severukhin. It was in 1981 that G.B. Severukhin was elected the Department Dean and he was so successful in this position that was re-elected twice for the new service terms. At the same time the Physical Education and Gymnastics Theory and Practice Sub-Department was headed by the newly elected PhD in Pedagogics, Associate Professor P.K. Petrov. In 1985 the Physical Education and Gymnastics Theory and Practice Sub-Department contracted N.I. Shlyk who initiated and launched an efficient and mutually beneficial project with the Izhevsk Radio Plant. In 1988, accomplishments of the project were presented by N.I. Shlyk, A.L. Dulina and V.S. Zelenin at the USSR Exhibition of the National Economic Achievements (ENRA). V.S. Zelenin was awarded a silver medal by the ENRA, and N.I. Shlyk, A.L. Dulina received honorary diplomas. In 1986, V.A. Zhuravliov was elected the USU Principal and made a great contribution to the University development process making a special emphasis on the academic sports and sport infrastructure development projects. In 1980ies the Department had seen reforms of its system with serious improvements in the education process content.

In response to the national reforms, the Department came up with a draft curriculum that was long discussed by the academic team in the 1988/89 academic year. The curriculum was designed to qualify a graduate a Physical Education teacher and CYSC Coach in Specific Sport Discipline. The new curriculum assumed higher requirements to the graduate, the knowledge being verified by the State Examinations in the specialty. The exams were designed as a practical lesson at school, with a special emphasis on the practical component and with the practical test result being scored with the final points of the exams in every academic sport discipline. In 1992, the Department got a modern physical education building with three gyms, swimming pool, audiences and laboratories, and it made it possible to notably improve the academic education/ training process. It was in September 1993 that USU, Ministry of Education of Komi Republic, Syktyvkar State University and Syktyvkar Pedagogical College formed a cooperation agreement to train physical education specialists and to provide for a Physical Education Department being established at Syktyvkar State University. For the validity period of the agreement up to 1999, the Udmurt State University diplomas were issued to 135 graduates, and in 1996 the Physical Education Department was established at Syktyvkar State University and A.E. Alabuzhev was elected its Dean; he still heads the Department that was converted to the Physical Education Institute in 2015. In 1998, a correspondent course was offered by the Department with the optional regular education curriculum and short-time curriculum for the teacher's college graduates. In 1990-2000ies special efforts were taken to encourage research activities by the academic staff. N.I. Shlyk, P.K. Petrov and V.N. Soloviov defended their doctor theses, and 14 other staff educators defended their PhD theses in the same time. As a result, the following research schools were established at the University: “Heart rhythms and vegetative regulation types” headed by Professor, Doctor of Biology N.I. Shlyk; and “Information technologies in physical culture and sports” headed by Professor, Doctor of Pedagogics P.K. Petrov. Both of the schools have hosted the All-Russian theoretical and practical conferences, and the staff educators have visited and reported at a variety of All-Russian and international conferences in the USA, Belgium, Poland, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Bulgaria etc. Elected to and serving in different positions at the National Practical Education Administration for Physical Culture were the Department staff members, namely G.B. Severukhin (1991-1996) and P.K. Petrov (1999-2008).

As required by the national policies of transition to the multilevel education system, the Department trains bachelors in the following education vectors: Physical Education vector including the Vocational Sport Training profile; and the Education Specialist Background including two profiles: Physical Education and Life Safety. Furthermore, the Department offers master training courses in the Sport Physiology profile under Biology vector; and the Information Technologies in Physical Education and Sports profile under the Education Specialist Background vector. The Department also offers post-graduate research course to train top-level research and education specialists. It should be mentioned that the Department offers, on a yearly basis, professional advancement and skills improvement courses for a few categories of physical education specialists. Students of the Physical Education Institute compete every year in the Pan-Urals Olympic Research Sessions of young scientists and students where they have won titles and prizes many times. In the period of 2013 through 2016, the Institute students’ team has competed in the All-Russian Students’ Physical Education and Life Safety Olympics where it was twice among the runner-ups and once (in 2015) won the first prize. It may be pertinent to mention that many Department graduates have been qualified Honorary Physical Culture Specialists and Honorary Coaches of Russia/ USSR, including P.P. Kul’kov, M.V. Tkachenko, V.M. Sidorov, S.Y. Plekhanov, Y.P. Malkov, V.N. Sulima, O.O. Perevozchikov, V.N. Kuznetsov, S.V. Chibirev et al.

A matter of special pride for the University is the successes of its athletes from among the students. It was back in 1953 that USU student V.V. Osintsev won (for the first time among students) the title of USSR Champion in Nordic combined and then qualified for the World University Games. In 1950-80ies, many USU students were among the winners and runner-ups of the All-USSR and international competitions, albeit mentioned first in the list should be V. Medvedev, the biathlon team leader, and T. Tikhonova, the ski racer who won three gold and three silver medals together at the 1988 Olympic Games in Calgary – that was more than the whole medal stock of the US team.

The 1990ies (following the breakdown of the USSR) were the challenging period for the physical culture and sport sector on the whole and the physical education specialist training process at USU. USU, as well as other Udmurt universities, had to close the university sport clubs in 1993; and it was the Physical Education Sub-Department that since then assumed the responsibility for the academic sport development policies with an emphasis on the mass sports; and the Physical Education Department took the responsibility for the elite university sports. It was for the elite sports development purposes that USU since 1995 was establishing sport-specific sport clubs, with such clubs as Handball, Basketball and Athletic Clubs being the first. By 2003, the university had established six clubs in total adding the Gymnastics, Winter Sports and Combat Sports Clubs to the above. Each of the clubs was duly staffed with qualified coaches and active instructors whose payroll was covered by the off-budgetary funds raised by the university that came from about 150 sources. This sport development system was successful enough to secure good progress as verified by the USU students’ competitive achievements. The USU women’s handball team, for instance, qualified for the Super League of the Russian Championship; and the women and men’s basketball teams qualified for the Premier League of the Russian Championship. The USU track and field athletes, skiers and gymnasts dominated in the picked teams of the Udmurt Republic, and a few athletes even managed to make it to the national teams of Russia. In the period of 1999 through 2004, 12 Russian Students’ Championships in ski racing, gymnastics, swimming, basketball, competitive aerobics, arm-wrestling and table tennis were organized at the USU facilities in cooperation with the relevant sport clubs under the auspices of the Russian Students’ Sport Union. In 2004, striving to simplify the university sports management system, USU merged the university sport-specific clubs into a single integrated sport club geared to keep up the USU sport traditions by creating a facilitating environment for the gifted university athletes to help them progress in their sports. In 2007 through 2012, USU was headed by S.D. Buntov followed by G.V. Merzlyakova since 2013 till now, with both the top managers giving the highest priority both to the academic mass sport movements and the elite sports supportive policies.

Since 1992 till now many USU students and graduates have successfully competed for the Russian national team at the top-ranking international events. The following USU students and graduates have qualified for and succeeded in the Olympics for this period: M. Vylegzhanin, three-times silver medalist of the Olympics in Sochi, 2015 World Champion; O. Udmurtova, ranked 6th in the long jump at the Olympics in Beijing; Y. Nagovitsina, ranked 12th in the 5000 m race at the Olympics in London; V. Lekomtsev, two-times Champion and three-times bronze medalist of the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi in biathlon and ski racing, 7-times World Champion in ski racing and World Champion in biathlon; V. Kononov, two-times prize-winner of the Winter Paralympics, World Champion and bronze medalist of the World Championship. Furthermore, the following USU athletes have been World Champions and prize-winners in different years: G. Skurygin, A. Korepanov, M. Azyabina (track and field), A. Kobelev (biathlon), A. Vedernikov and A. Kolyaseva (cycling). Many USU athletes have participated in the World Universiades, including the 2013 Summer Universiade in Kazan that were particularly successful for the following students of the Physical Education Department: Alexandra Alekseeva (ranked 2nd in the clay pigeon shooting) and Nikolay Kilin (1st and 3rd prized in rifle shooting).

In addition to the elite sports promotion efforts, the USU management makes a special emphasis on the mass sport development policies. It was in 2001 that a Physical Culture Club was established at the University to promote health improvement and mass sport movements in the students and academic staff. Every year USU holds around 30 mass sport events in different disciplines and they result in successes of the USU athletes in the Republican events. The USU picked team has long been a winner of the annual Students’ Festivals of the Udmurt Republic Universities and Health Sport Games of the academic staff of the Udmurt Republic universities. Udmurt State University is commonly acknowledged today as a leader of the academic sports in the Republic of Udmurtia with its brand name sporting image.


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  2. Puzanov V.V., Verizhnikova I.V. Istoriya Udmurtskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Kratkie ocherki. 1931-2001 gg. [History of Udmurt State University. Brief essays. 1931-2001]. Izhevsk: SPC «Regulyarnaya i khaoticheskaya dinamika» [Regular and Chaotic Dynamics], 2001, 272 p.
  3. Puzanov V.V., Verizhnikova I.V., Kutyavin A.N., Khalyavin  N.V. Ocherki istorii Udmurtskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta 1931-2005 [Essays on the History of Udmurt State University, 1931-2005). Izhevsk: Udmurt University publ., 2006, 564 p.
  4. Solovyev N.A., Varnavskiy I.A., Severukhin G.B. Istoriya razvitiya fizicheskoy kultury i sporta v Udmurtii [Physical culture and sport in Udmurtia: history of development]. Izhevsk:  Udmurt University publ., 2001, 784 p.

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The article gives an overview of the history of academic physical education and sports at Udmurt State University for the 85-year period since its establishment back in 1931. It describes the key historical events and acknowledges the historical contributions of the leading academic enthusiasts and athletes to the university sports and physical education. Special emphasis is made on the historical account of the Physical Education Department that is widely acknowledged today as a leader of the academic physical education process in the Republic of Udmurtia. For the past 85 years Udmurt State University has both evolved to a leader of the physical education specialist training in the Republic and developed the top-quality base facilities for the Republican track-and-field, ski racing, women’s handball, table tennis, basketball, volleyball and some other elite teams. The scholar schools that have been established and matured at the Physical Culture and Sports Institute under the University provide the training system design and management services to the leading academic and Republican athletes in every stage of the training process. Udmurt State University is commonly acknowledged today as a leader of the academic sports in the Republic of Udmurtia with its brand name sporting image.