A university displaced twice: Irreversible and erroneous losses of human capital

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Due to russian military aggression in Ukraine, two waves of relocating educational institutions from occupied and dangerous territories have occurred over the past nine years (in 2014 and 2022). In the first place, relocation affected those universities that were based in industrial regions before the war and trained professional personnel for large industrial enterprises. The speed of the country’s post-war recovery will depend on the availability of professional specialists able to restore industrial enterprises’ functioning. Therefore, it is necessary to highlight the changes in the human capital of displaced universities due to relocation. The aim of this study is to assess the losses of human capital the displaced universities suffered due to russian military aggression. Using the example of Donetsk National Technical University, which has been relocated twice, the study illustrates the stages in which the organizational structure of one of the university’s divisions changed and the number of teachers decreased in 2014–2023. The study describes the key features of the first and second displacement waves and their implementation specifics. The survey of the resigned teachers demonstrated the losses of human capital experienced by the university over nine years. The benefits for those Ukrainian universities which have hired displaced teachers are exemplified. The results of this study indicate that the experience of displaced universities should be scrutinized at the ministerial level and used to develop strategies for restoring the human capital of the displaced universities and further accumulating human capital in Ukrainian higher education.

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    • Figure 1. Transformation of the Educational and Research Institute of Donetsk National Technical University “Higher School of Economics and Management” in 2014–2023
    • Figure 2. Dynamics of Donetsk National Technical University in all-Ukrainian and international university rankings in 2015–2022
    • Figure 3. Dynamics of Cherkasy State Technological University in all-Ukrainian and international university rankings in 2015–2022
    • Table 1. Performance of 20 former economy teachers of Donetsk National Technical University throughout their employment at other Ukrainian and foreign universities in 2015–2022
    • Table 2. Performance of 12 internally displaced teachers employed by Cherkasy State Technological University throughout their direct employment at the university in 2015–2022
    • Conceptualization
      Oksana Zakharova
    • Data curation
      Oksana Zakharova, Larysa Prodanova
    • Formal Analysis
      Oksana Zakharova, Larysa Prodanova
    • Funding acquisition
      Oksana Zakharova
    • Investigation
      Oksana Zakharova, Larysa Prodanova
    • Methodology
      Oksana Zakharova, Larysa Prodanova
    • Resources
      Oksana Zakharova, Larysa Prodanova
    • Software
      Oksana Zakharova, Larysa Prodanova
    • Supervision
      Oksana Zakharova, Larysa Prodanova
    • Validation
      Oksana Zakharova, Larysa Prodanova
    • Visualization
      Oksana Zakharova, Larysa Prodanova
    • Writing – original draft
      Oksana Zakharova, Larysa Prodanova
    • Writing – review & editing
      Oksana Zakharova, Larysa Prodanova
    • Project administration
      Larysa Prodanova