‘We’re Moving in the Right Direction’
At a March 27 meeting, HSE’s Academic Council discussed how the university’s development strategy was carried out in 2014.
In 2004, the Higher School of Economics was one of the first Russian universities to develop its own development plan. By 2008, the tasks outlined in the plan had been carried out in full, and HSE staff approved the university’s next strategic document – the Development Strategy to the year 2020, which sets ambitious goals of raising competitiveness on both the national and international market. On the basis of this key development strategy, other university documents were subsequently created that are backed by state financial support, including the Programme of HSE’s Development as a National Research University and the HSE Programme of Innovative Infrastructure Development. International laboratories are also being created that are headed by leading foreign researchers. In addition, HSE has been participating in Project 5-100 since 2013 to raise the global competitiveness of Russian universities, and according to international experts, HSE is one of the project’s top four leaders.
The meeting’s keynote speaker was HSE’s Director of Strategic Planning Irina Karelina.
HSE around the Globe
In 2014, HSE became the third Russian university after Moscow State and St. Petersburg State University to join the QS world university rankings in the social science and management category. QS, ARWU, and Times Higher Education are considered the main international university rankings, and Project 5-100 participants should hold leading positions in the rankings. HSE was the first Russian state university to go through an international audit under International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). In addition, HSE was the first Russian university to be awarded the special Andrew Heiskell Award for Innovation in International Education in January 2015 for its innovative contribution to the internationalization of education.
Many of the university’s academic courses and master’s programmes conducted in English is gradually increasing, though HSE still has a lot to do in way of attracting a large number of international students. The university has both the educational and infrastructural capabilities to do this, HSE Rector Yaroslav Kuzminov notes.
HSE and Other Russian Universities
The Higher School of Economics is among the top three Russian universities by proportion of research and development in overall university earnings. Revenue from applied R&D well exceeds that from state scientific orders, and the university’s main customers are Russian companies, which now account for around 40% of R&D, twice as much as they did five years ago.
Only three years have passed since the Moscow Institute of Electronics and Mathematics (MIEM) was merged with HSE, but the quality of MIEM’s incoming class, as judged by the average score on Russia’s Unified State Exam (EGE), is already among Russia’s top four technical universities after the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI, and St. Petersburg’s ITMO University.
Overall, HSE can be considered an educational trendsetter. The university has started actively using Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) technology, and the number of HSE courses on Coursera is expected to grow from 14 to 60. HSE is also developing its management technologies. Many Russian universities are now studying HSE’s new system for managing its educational programmes and the operations of its academic offices.
HSE and Staff
Three main personnel areas have formed at the university. Firstly, this concerns a system for recruiting staff from the international labour market; the proportion of HSE staff members with a PhD is the highest among all Project 5-100 participants. Secondly, the competition to becoming a faculty member is now open and has become as close as possible to international standards. Finally, the university suggests, and even demands, that its staff participate in various professional development programmes.
HSE and Science
HSE has 22 international laboratories, 10 of which were created in 2014 alone, that are headed by leading researchers. Future plans include attracting some of the world’s best researchers to joint projects with foreign research centres and institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS). Particularly promising is the cooperation HSE’s scholars and RAS institutes carry out in the fields of mathematics, engineering, and computer science.
In addition, HSE’s first two academic journals have been added to leading international citation databases; the journal Foresight was included in Scopus, while the Moscow Mathematical Journal was added to the Web of Science. Additionally, nine HSE journals are being evaluated by Scopus.
The system of academic bonuses has stimulated significant growth in the number of publications by HSE staff indexed in those same databases. Since 2012 the number of those publications more than doubled and citations more than tripled. Most publications are in the field of mathematics, computer sciences, social sciences and physics.
Nearly all the projected indicators for the Development Programme in 2014 were met and in many cases, surpassed. But quantity needs to be enforced by quality. ‘The idea is not to formally enter some kind of ratings,’ insisted Yaroslav Kuzminov at an Academic Council session. ‘The idea is that we should become a global university in reality, in the calibre of our teachers, publications and students, and there is plenty of energy driving us in that direction.’
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