Ivane Javaxishvilis saxelobis Tbilisis saxelmts’ipo universit’et’i, often shortened to its historical name, Tbilisi State University or TSU), is a public research university established on 8 February 1918 in Tbilisi, Georgia. Excluding academies and theological seminaries, which have intermittently functioned in Georgia for centuries, TSU is the oldest university in Georgia and the Caucasus region. Over 18,000 students are enrolled and the total number of faculty and staff (collaborators) is 5,000. According to the U.S. News & World Report university rankings, TSU is ranked 359th in the world, tied with the University of Warsaw.
The university has five branches in the regions of Georgia, six faculties, 60 scientific-research laboratories and centers, a scientific library (with 3,700,000 books and periodicals), seven museums, publishing house and printing press (newspaper Tbilisis Universiteti).
The main founder of the university was a Georgian historian and academician, Ivane Javakhishvili. Among co-founders were also several scientists, including Giorgi Akhvlediani, Shalva Nutsubidze, Dimitri Uznadze, Grigol Tsereteli, Akaki Shanidze, Andrea Razmadze, Korneli Kekelidze, Ioseb Kipshidze, Petre Melikishvili and Ekvtime Takaishvili. Professor Petre Melikishvili, a Georgian chemist, became the first rector of TSU.
The Rector of TSU since September 2016 Giorgi Sharvashidze. TSU has six faculties: Law, Economics and Business, Humanities, Medicine, Social and Political Sciences, Exact and Natural Sciences and the International School of Economics at Tbilisi State University as an autonomous graduate school of economics.
Tbilisi State University was founded in 1918 owing to the leadership of Georgian historian Ivane Javakhishvili and the group of his followers. It was the first and the only educational body of this type in Caucasus Region by that time. The university is housed in the former building of Georgian Nobility Gymnasium constructed by the architect Simon Kldiashvili from 1899 to 1906.
Georgia has a tradition of education, as evidenced by the functioning of the School of Philosophy and Rhetoric of Phazisi in Colchis (4th century); as well as the setting up of cultural-enlightenment centers in Palestine (5th century), Syria (6th century), Greece (10th–15th centuries) and Bulgaria (11th century); Gelati and Iqalto Academies in Georgia (11th–12th centuries); However, as a result of political-economic decrease and at last becoming the colony of Russia, there had been no national higher educational Institution in Georgia for the next few centuries.
After Georgia became independent and declared itself a national democratic state, one of the first achievements of the Georgian people at the beginning of the 20th century was the foundation of the Georgian National University in Tbilisi. Afterwards, through the Bolshevik and Communist period, in spite of the forced ideology and fierce censorship, Tbilisi State University maintained schools in mathematics, psychology, philosophy, linguistics, and historiography. The foundation of the Academy of Science of Georgia and other higher educational institutions was encouraged by the university.
The university was opened on 26 January 1918, the day of remembrance of the Georgian King David the Builder. A church in the University garden, named after the King, has been functioning since 5 September 1995. In 1989 the university was named after its founder – Ivane Javakhishvili.
Petre Melikishvili, a chemist and professor, was elected as the first rector of the university. At its commencement, the university had one faculty – that of philosophy. Ivane Javakhishvili, a Georgian historian, delivered the first lecture. At the beginning of 1918 the board of professors and lecturers numbered 18, the student body of the university counted 369 students and 89 free listeners.
Today the number of professors involved in tuition and training amounts to 3275, including 55 academicians and corresponding member of the academy, 595 professors and doctors, 1246 assistant professors and candidates of sciences.
Over 35 thousand students are studying at the University and its eight regional branches. Important changes at the university began on 25 April 1994, when the scientific council of the University adopted “The Concepts of University Education”, according to which since the year 1994 the university has transferred to the two-stage form of study (the step-by-step rearrangements were launched in 1992).
At the end of the I stage of the reform implemented, at the beginning of 2005, the bodies functioning at TSU were: 22 faculties with 184 chairs, 8 branches with 46 faculties, 3 scientific-research and study-scientific institutes, 81 scientific-research laboratories and centers, 161 study laboratories and rooms, clinical hospitals and diagnostic centers, publishing and editorial houses, the library with 3,650,000 items, 5 dormitories. 95 educational programs were used at the bachelor’s course, 194 at master’s studies, and 16 at the single-step tuition. Schools that came into being at Tbilisi University were:
The chairs and scientific research departments serve for preparation of postgraduate students and scientific degrees. 26 qualification councils operate for conferring scientific degrees in almost all fields of science.
Medical education was restored at the university in 1994. Originally the specialty of medicine was opened at the faculty of biology and medicine, and the faculty of medicine became an independent unit in 2000. A center for the Management of Health Care and the Department for Continuous Medical Education were opened, and the board of trustees of medicine and medical information service were founded. The university diagnostic center provides the health care of the professors and lecturers and collaborators of the University.
A printing press was set up in 1923 and a publishing-house in 1933. The University Archive was founded in 1933. The scientific edition “The Proceedings of Tbilisi University” has been publishedisince 1919. The program Textbooks for Students has been functioning since 1996. The University publishes two weekly newspapers “Tbilisis Universiteti” (since 1927) and “Kartuli Universiteti” (since 1998).
International conferences and symposia have been held at Tbilisi University such as International symposia of psychologists (1979, 1986), symposia on Georgian art (II-1977, IV- 1983, VI- 1989), international symposia on the teaching of the Russian language and literature (1980, 1984, 1988), problems of German literature (1983, 1989), Classical philology (1969, 1975, 1980,1990, 1995, 1996), religion and ethics (1907, international private law (1985), international symposia on Kartvelian Studies (I-1987, II-1988, III-1995).
Caucasian studies is one of the major trends of scholarly research. “Caucasica”, an international scholarly journal, has been published since 1998.
International conferences dedicated to major problems of the present day have been held at the University: “Caucasus, problems of democratization” (1995), “The law reform in Georgia” (1995), “The University reform in Georgia” (1995), “Hellenistic Studies over the centuries” (2000). Summer schools are held for foreign scientists in Kartvelian studies (Kartvelologists).