IGUMO: Unique Educational Ecosystem
The Institute for the Humanities and Information Technologies (IGUMO) is an educational institution with a 30-year history. The Institute has been headed by Marina Volynkina for 20 years. She is a person with innovative thinking who has devoted more than 25 years to education. Today, IGUMO is not just an educational institution but also a large ecosystem that includes a number of major educational projects. In her interview with the Global Women Media news agency, Marina Volynkina talked about the uniqueness and value of such an approach.
PhD in Law, Rector of the Institute for the Humanities and Information Technologies (IGUMO) and the International College for Arts and Communication (MKIK)
In the first turn, the IGUMO ecosystem includes two main elements: the Institute for the Humanities and Information Technologies and the International College for Arts and Communication. In addition to that, a set of projects of different educational focus is carried out within IGUMO. They all harmoniously complement and reinforce one another.
This year, the IGUMO team has launched a new initiative. The Institute of Supplementary Education and Corporate Development is a project for people already having professional and life experience. Marina Volynkina talked about the multifaceted character of the educational space of IGUMO and MKIK. She explained the basic principles of student training and listed the new trends in the development of today’s professionals.
– What can you tell us about the uniqueness of the new project, which became a part of a large educational ecosystem?
– The creation of the Institute of Supplementary Education and Corporate Development helped us form a powerful expert community. Within the project, lecturers and professional practitioners from different fields deliver their knowledge to already established specialists striving to upgrade their skills and competencies in order to improve their professional performance.
Today, we offer four main areas of supplementary training: ‘China and Greater Asia’, ‘Psychology’, ‘Design, Photography, and Multimedia’, and ‘Entrepreneurship and Corporate Governance’. Each training area is an independent programme with serious in-depth content. At the same time, it is an integral part of the whole system.
We provide our students with unique knowledge and experience important for any professional in our time. Multi-faceted and broad-minded professionals are demanded in today’s world.
That is particularly true for managers of businesses and various projects. Today, these people need not only to be good leaders but also to have competencies in management, marketing, psychology, design, and communication. To make teamwork as effective as possible, a leader needs to understand what tasks his or her employees, specialists from different areas, can address. In that respect, each of our training areas can be very useful.
For example, knowledge of the basics of marketing, design, photography, and multimedia makes it possible to position one’s project or company correctly in the market. Such knowledge develops creative thinking and helps professionals find original and unconventional ways of solving problems and develop unique products. Supplementary training in psychology is useful for establishing stronger and more effective communication both within the team and with external audiences: potential consumers and actual clients.
We have devoted a separate training area to the relevant field of cooperation with China and Greater Asia. Today, many of us need to refocus their businesses quickly and qualitatively. For many decades, Russian business have been focused on Europe. However, today, new opportunities for cooperation with the East are now open for them.
Importantly, such a reorientation in business and other professional activities must be based on knowledge and a deep understanding of the cultures of Eastern countries.
Communication is the founding pillar in the development of any project. That broad concept presupposes the ability to conduct business negotiations, a high level of emotional intelligence, and the possession of psychological skills. Knowledge of the culture, history, and economy of a particular country is of particular importance in intercultural communication. Of course, many experienced professionals in the field of building international business relations can provide us with their services today. However, to choose a competent partner capable of solving specific tasks, the leader him- or herself must have an understanding of the peculiarities of interaction with Asia.
– Another project of the IGUMO ecosystem is aimed at pre-school children. Why did you decide to pay attention to that area of education as well?
– Indeed, the New Generation system of supplementary education is one of the promising projects implemented at our educational institution. It is focused on preparing children for school. MKIK lecturers and students are involved in the initiative.
Last academic year, we launched the New Generation project on a pilot basis. This year, we opened full-fledged enrolment in the pre-school training centre. The programme has brought together the best pedagogical practices used in our educational space.
As a lecturer and rector, I am interested in the works of the philosopher, cultural theorist, and writer Grigory Pomerants. In one of his books, he emphasized pedagogy as the key factor determining the present and future of the world. The start of education should take place at kindergartens. Thus, we can instil the cultural foundations in the minds of the rising generation.
Young children ‘grasp’ the basic knowledge faster than adults do. Therefore, much depends on their education and upbringing at an early age. This is partly the concept chosen as the foundation of our pre-school system.
We can say that the mission of the New Generation project is reflected in its name. Identity and social awareness are formed before the age of 12. When preparing children for school, we contribute to the future of our country by instilling fundamental family and cultural values in children. Our task is to teach the children to communicate with one another, concentrate on learning, be curious, find creative solutions, and be independent.
It should be noted that classes are delivered by pedagogues-psychologists. Our students undergo practical training at the New Generation training centre. That’s how we not only develop important qualities and skills in young children but also show the younger generation of teachers what principles and values should be the basis of the educational process.
– What other projects does the IGUMO ecosystem include?
– In general, project activities are a key element in the educational process at IGUMO and MKIK. We carry out a large number of practice-oriented initiatives aimed at helping students consolidate their knowledge.
For example, students of the Journalism and Publishing College of MKIK create their own books. They write their own fiction works and journalistic materials, design layouts, and collaborate with students from the Design College of MKIK and the Photography College of MKIK in order to produce high-quality publications.
The Chinese College of MKIK and the Korean College of MKIK carry out projects for students to gain not only linguistic skills but also pedagogical competencies. The students develop their own teaching aids and conduct full-fledged lessons for children under the supervision of experienced mentors.
Creativity is another important component of our projects in addition to practical training and in-depth knowledge.
The Days of Contemporary Art (DOCA) international festival has been held annually at IGUMO for more than 10 years. Talented students of IGUMO and MKIK take part in it on equal footing with professional artists.
The IGUMO Gallery is the highlight of our educational space. In the exhibition hall, we display works by students, lecturers, and renowned artists. The exhibits are changed every month. That makes it possible for students of all fields of training to broaden their horizons and get in touch with art without interrupting their studies. Participation in exhibitions gives students of creative fields of training valuable professional experience. Moreover, in May 2022, we held our first auction of contemporary art at the IGUMO Gallery. Thus, we helped the young artists see the process of selling artworks from the inside.
We strive to create an educational space where students can not only acquire the necessary knowledge and skills but also develop culturally, learn freely, and think openly. Creativity and the arts play a major role in that process.
– Can you explain the importance of bringing together so many different projects and combining them within one big ecosystem?
– The importance lies in the opportunity to create a holistic and comprehensive educational space. On the one hand, each project helps students acquire specific skills, knowledge, or experience in a variety of areas. On the other hand, all the elements of such an ecosystem reinforce one another through their interconnectedness. For example, renowned artists with whom we start interacting within our DOCA festival often continue to collaborate with us even after the event. Some of them deliver workshops for students of the Design College and the Photography College for almost the whole academic year.
Finally, such an approach of combining projects within a single educational space makes it possible for us to constantly improve in different areas. We can expand our programmes, enforce our knowledge, and update it leaning on multifaceted experience. In my opinion, that is particularly important for modern education.
– As a rector and lecturer, what principles do you use as the basis of your educational activities?
– Individual approach and respect for the personality of each student are the important principles for me and the IGUMO team. When creating an educational space, we must take into account the interests and needs of our future students.
Most recently, as Rector, I had in-person meetings with the students of each group of our institution. It was important for me to get direct and honest feedback from them, to find out what they liked about IGUMO and MKIK and what they would like to change.
I was extremely inspired and pleased by the words of our students. According to them, studies in our educational space not just met but also exceeded their expectations. Such feedback gives me the impetus to create something even greater and better for the younger generation.
We live in a world, which is not always full of reliable information of good quality. I am extremely proud of the fact that our team’s actions always coincide with its promises. The happy eyes of the students who enjoy their classes and benefit from them only confirm that.
In my opinion, this is what makes our friendly educational space unique. It gives all the necessary conditions for each student to become not only a real professional but also a multi-talented and spiritually rich individual.
Viktoria Gusakova, Global Women Media news agency
Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov