There is no need to fear for the future of metallurgy
Cooperation between the Metallurgical Faculty and Košice Steelworks from the point of view of Dean Iveta Vasková
Do you know the history of the Metallurgical Faculty and do you know how long its cooperation with the Košice steelworks has lasted? What are the foundations it has been built on and what is its orientation at present? What is the role of this educational institution with regard to the European Union’s strategy? How does it cope with the decrease in young people’s interest in studying technical specializations? Answers not only to these questions, but also a range of interesting information were provided to steelmakers who accepted an invitation from U. S. Steel Košice Women´s Network and came into the sloping conference hall to attend a nearly one and a half hour afternoon meeting with the Dean of the Metallurgical Faculty at the Technical University of Košice Iveta Vasková on Thursday November 26.
There is no need to fear for the future of metallurgy. As a matter of fact, observes Ms. Vasková, who is a top-ranking expert in this profession, society cannot exist without information technology and information technology cannot exist without metals. There is no more truthful statement concerning the future of metallurgy and the science based thereon. Existing activities and outcomes of the faculty during its more than sixty-year history, closely connected with the steelmaking plant near Košice, in spite of not most favorable current conditions and factors, predetermine it for further development and progress as well.
The contemporary economic environment is ever more dynamic, traditional working professions gradually cease to exist or are necessary for society to a much lesser extent and, on the contrary, other newly-arising fields suffer from an acute shortage of top experts. “For this reason, universities have to be able to adequately react to a fast-changing environment, because it is education connected with practice which is the real key to success. This need has also become the vision of our faculty,” added Iveta Vasková, before she dealt in detail with cooperation with U. S. Steel Košice and its possible development. Its beginnings go back to the 1960s, and are closely related to production start-up at the former East Slovakian Steelworks and the solution of many research and development tasks. Major interest in increase in qualifications was moreover also characteristic for this period, especially in the form of distance learning as well, having been profusely supported by the Company.
“The Metallurgical Faculty is currently prepared to open the door still more substantially to practice at U. S. Steel Košice, namely in the fields of education or science and research, but tere are more forms as well. I appreciate the excellently managed plant tours within your company, holiday placements as well as summer internments, which are very popular among students. It is always possible to improve in some areas,” Iveta Vasková added. One of them she mentioned was for example the field of final dissertation preparation, the subjects of which have been annually announced by the Košice steel company for all the Technical University undergraduates. It should possibly be taken into consideration, she suggested, to assign goal-directed subjects for bachelor dissertations for metallurgy faculty students as well. She appreciated the very good cooperation when organizing students’ specialist research conferences, as well as the participation of experts from the plant in its appraising committees, joint events in the form of seminars and workshops, faculty employees’ and graduates’ educational stays at the steelworks, which help to improve the educators’ professionalism, as well as connect education to practice. She singled out as exceptionally important the cooperation in the area of research and development oriented towards continuous steel casting modeling, combustion and thermal process optimization and material research, and also emphasized the joint laboratory for flow process simulation during continuous casting and an integrated system of ladle, tundish and mold water models.
“It is vital for the future that we jointly enhance even more the public and mass media awareness of mutual cooperation between the Metallurgical Faculty and U. S. Steel Košice, especially of its importance and orientation, and help each other when popularizing study, by promoting examples of good practice. This will surely mutually enrich us,” she predicted, outlining the possible development of mutual relations.
According to Dean Iveta Vasková, the Metallurgical Faculty expects its own transformation process, and the management also has a possibility change of name in mind, though no decisive word has yet been mentioned. Participants in the meeting then also discussed this topic with their guest, as well as an initiative to consider preparation of a specific cooperation plan for a longer time period.