History of the Faculty of Biology

As a separate faculty, the Faculty of Biology was established in 1957, when K.A. Timiryazev Bashkir State Pedagogical Institute was transformed into Bashkir State University. Before that, biologists had been trained in the Institute of Public Education and K.A. Timiryazev Pedagogical Institute. The first students of the Faculty of Natural Science of the Institute of Public Education were admitted in 1920. At that time this institute was the first and the only higher educational establishment in the Bashkir Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic that trained a range of teachers. The Faculty of Natural Science offered 3 years of tuition and trained teachers of Biology, Chemistry, and Geography. In 1929 the Institute of Public Education was transformed into K.A. Timiryazev Bashkir Pedagogical Institute. In 1931 the Faculty of Natural Science of Pedagogical Institute graduated its first students.
The first Dean of the faculty of Biology of Pedagogical Institute (back then this post was called “Chairman of Natural Sciences Committee”) was zoologist, Associate Professor Gennady Shtekher. After that, from 1932 to 1957 the faculty was headed by Associate Professors I. Ishmukhametov (chemist), Rustem Chanyshev (zoologist), Zaki Valeyev (geographist).
The Faculty of Natural Science comprised three departments: Department of Botany, Department of Zoology and Darwinisim, and Department of Chemistry. Natural-science and special disciplines were mainly taught by these departments. It should be noted that it was in that period that the basic principles of classical university education were formed, such as scientific character, fundamentality, logicality, diversity, self-learning ability. The highly qualified scientific and teaching staff of the Faculty facilitated establishment and implementation of these principles. Thus, the Department of Zoology was long headed by Associate Professor G. Shtekher, one of the most authoritative zoologists of the time. Associate Professor I. Ishmukhametov was not only an excellent teacher, but a brilliant experimenter chemist as well. Head of the Department of Botany, Associate Professor S. Baranov was an authority in the field of moss and lichen research.
Geographist, Associate Professor Z. Valeyev became the first Dean of the BashSU Faculty of Biology in 1957. He was a talented person and an outstanding scientist. In that period news physiological departments were organized at the Faculty: Department of Plant Physiology and Department of Human and Animal Physiology.
Invaluable input to the establishment of the Faculty of Biology as an academic unit of the University was provided by Associate Professor Donat Smirnov, who headed the Faculty in 1959-64. He specialised in human physiology and, as a dean, followed democratic principles in his work. The Faculty of Biology has its own legend about how Donat Smirnov reprimanded a teacher who had been talking angrily to a student.
The Department of Human and Animal Physiology was headed by Professor, Doctor of Biology Aleksandr Dmitriyev. He was one of the leading physiologists in the country and an authority in the field of human higher nervous system research. He summarized extensive experimental material in a university course book called “Higher Nervous Activity” (Vysshaya Shkola Publishing House, 1974).
In 1963, on the initiative of Professor Vasily Konaryov, the Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology was organised. V. Konaryov, currently Member of the Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Honoured Scientist of the Russian Federation, is one of the leading Russian scientists and scientific organizers in the field of biochemistry, molecular biology, and plant genetics. He has written course books and monographs in biochemistry and molecular genetics of cultivated plants. V. Konaryov’s students have become leading specialists and directors of scientific establishments. Among them is Honoured Scientist of the Bashkir Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, Professor Radik Akhmetov, who has contributed greatly to organizing and establishing the Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology. He headed this department for 17 years. Director of the Institute for Biochemistry and Genetics of the Ufa Scientific Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vice-President of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Bashkortostan, Professor Vener Vakhitov, one of the leading Russian scientists in the field of molecular biology and genetics.
Professor of the Department of Plant Physiology Grigory Zabluda was one of the leading Soviet scientists in the field of plant physiology research, and contributed freatly to th establishment of experimental plant physiology.
In the 60-70s young scientists started working at the Faculty to later become Professors and leading teachers of the University: among them were B. Mirkin, R. Minibayev, R. Akhmetov, M. Bayanov, G. Kyzyakhmetov et al. Great input to the development of geobotanical and environmental research has been provided by Honoured Scientist of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Bashkortostan, Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Bashkortostan, Professor Boris Mirkin. His scientific and pedagogical school for vegetation research and botany specialists training has been recognised all over the world. Another botanist, Honoured Scientist of the Republic of Bashkortostan, Honoured Mamber of the Academy of Sciences of the republic of Bashkortostan, Rufil Minibayev, is the founder of an algological scientific school in the Republic. Large contribution to the establishment of algological research has been provided by Honoured Scientist of the Republic of Bashkortostan, Professor Grigory Kuzyakhmetov. Honoured Scientist of the Republic of Bashkortostan, Professor Mukamil Bayanov is an authority in the field of fauna research. Thanks to efforts by Professor M. Bayanov, the Faculty has unique staff for training professional zoologists. Over several decades the Department of Zoology has been the only organize scientific unit in the Republic of Bashkortostan that is engaged in systemic fauna research.
Professor, plant physiologist, Teya Emikh headed the Faculty in 1964-68.
In 1968-70 the Faculty was headed by zoologist, Associate Professor M. Bayanov, in 1970–75 – by botanist, Professor R. Minibayev. In 1975 microbiologist, Associate Professor Burkhan Nugumanov was appointed to the Dean’s post, and in 1980 he was succeeded by R. Minibayev. In 70-80s the Faculty had stable professional scientific and teaching staff, which allowed to reach high scientific and methodological levels in its academic work. In the same period the material and technical facilities of the Faculty were developed, the construction of the third floor of the Biology Building was finished. It made possible organizing a reading hall and providing room for a zoological museum.
In 1991 the Faculty staff chose Associate Professor, zoologist, Ivan Dyachenko to the Dean’s post. He headed the Faculty for 10 years. Without exaggerating, those years were most complicated and harsh for the Faculty staff. In spite of all the hardships the University managed to keep the scientific and teaching staff of the Faculty of Biology. In those years the non-budgetary (paid) form of tuition was introduced. In 1997 the first students of the Ecology major were admitted.
In 2001 biochemist, Professor Rinat Ibragimov was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Biology. At present the staff concentrate their efforts on improvement of qualified specialists training and carrying out biological and ecological research. Over the past years the Faculty of Biology has been among the leading academic and scientific University units. In 2002 the Department of Ecology was established, which coordinates research in the corresponding field and is responsible for graduating ecological specialists. In 2003 students of the Ecology major started being trained. Since 2002 students of the Molecular Biology major have been admitted.
In conclusion, it should be noted that since its foundation the Faculty of Biology has grown in terms of its structure and staff and became one of the leading Russian educational and scientific centres in the field of biological sciences. It provides qualified staff to scientific and manufacturing establishments, enterprises engaged in biological, agricultural, medical, and nature-preserving activities, educational establishments.
 

Professor R. Ibragimov