City within city – Laval within Quebec
An agreement on cooperation between the Moscow HSE University and the Laval University, one of the major centers for higher education in Canada, was singed last year. But the real partnership is going to start this year.
The success of this cooperation success depends on HSE professors, tutors, undergraduate students, and post-graduates. Irene Maltseva, head of the HSE Center for cooperation with France and French-speaking countries, and the initiator of this bi-literal agreement, talked to us about opportunities for cooperation and Laval University's position as a unique university.
— Laval University is the oldest in Canada, and the largest and the most prestigious institution in North America that offers a higher education in French. Many programs are taught in English. And the most pleasing thing is the large amount of students learning Russian. It is a unique situation for a western university.
We received an invitation from Quebec. During our visit we met the heads of the International Department of Laval University. We negotiated successfully and reached an agreement. But this is a general agreement only. To implement special academic programmes we need to develop additional agreements on cooperation between specific faculties.
Currently, Canadian partners are searching for equal cooperation. So, from their point of view, if the HSE sends ten students abroad they only feel obliged to send ten students only. Also, like it or lump it, we are constantly asked about curricula in English in the HSE University. The first step is obvious. A reciprocal willingness for cooperation is demonstrated by this agreement.
— Where can we find comprehensive information about the University and its Departments?
— The HSE Center for cooperation with France and French-speaking countries has published a comprehensive presentation about the Laval University on the HSE French Center Web-page. From my point of view, I hope it provides students and tutors with all the information they need. It is available for everyone on the HSE French Center webpage but unfortunately it is quite difficult to find this within the HSE website. I hope this interview will help you.
— Who is the target audience of the programme?
— It will be useful for all of those interested in starting cooperation with Laval University. Moreover, it may provide HSE departments with the new ideas and inspiration. The visual presentation is focused on Laval university life. We want as many people as possible to get information about Laval University.
— Why is it so important for you to inform everyone, including students, about the agreement?
— As it is generally agreed, initiatives usually come from below. Our students are extremely creative and full of ideas. From my point of view, I hope everybody would be interested in visiting Canada to study. Particularly because education is free there and scholarships are available.
— What will be your next step when all the students` applications are received?
— The HSE French Center will be an intermediary only. After the department with the highest number of requests for cooperation is revealed, we will write to our partners in Canada to initiate bilateral negotiations on cooperation between possible partners. It is rather silly to ignore these opportunities, isn't it?
— Have there been many applicants?
— It must be mentioned at the beginning that Azer Effendiev, the Dean of the HSE Faculty of Management was among the delegates in Canada. He has already reached some agreements. And the reason is obvious; the Faculties of Management and Law are interested in this cooperation.
— What is the system used by Canadian universities? Is it the bachelor and masters` system?
— Yes. You are quite right. An American bachelors-masters` system is in use there.
— Does this cooperation program target undergraduate or postgraduate study?
— I believe it is relevant and interesting for everyone. But it depends on the Faculty. General training abroad is preferable for 4th year bachelors` students. These students are well trained and able to select interesting courses. They are well suited to a masters` program. But it will be even better to implement a joint diploma program as part of masters courses.
— Is it possible to implement a joint diploma program within this cooperation project?
— Why not?
— Let's speak about the Laval University Faculties which are most promising for cooperation.
— Laval University is a leader in international student mobility. There are 17 faculties. But the most promising for cooperation with the HSE are the Faculties of Administrative Sciences, Law, Philosophy and Social Sciences. This means that the HSE Faculties of Management, Public Administration, Law, Philosophy and Sociology are potential partners for the Laval University.
The Faculty of Law of the Laval University is recognized as one of the best in Canada. There are programmes in notarial, business, international and trans-national legislation. The university trains postgraduate students in all fields. Also a research-group conducts studies in international and trans-national legislative aspects of economic integration. National and international business law is taught and there is a Master's programme in international affairs. Also Laval University has special programmes such as environment protection legislation.
The Laval Faculty of Philosophy has developed an original curricula with a special stress on Greek and contemporary philosophy. The faculty helps students to develop their analytical and critical thinking and provides them with a high level of knowledge in philosophy. The graduates are also well versed in written and oratorical skills.
— I'd like to ask how Canadians provide such a large number of philosophers with jobs...
— Probably it will sound strange for us but there is a high demand for Faculty of Philosophy graduates in many different spheres of both business and the public sector. I think that the analytical and critical skills of Laval alumni provide them with the ability and opportunity to develop in any environment. The faculty also holds conferences, international symposiums and regular lecture courses with foreign tutors. It encourages student participation in international programmes with partner universities.
I'd particularly like to mention that not only is the HSE - Laval partnership a real thing today, but there is also the possibility of a Russian-French-Canadian trilateral alliance.
I also think it is necessary to speak about the Faculty of Administration Sciences. The potential partners from our side are the Faculty of Management and the Faculty of Public Administration. Today management and public administration are rarely divided at the Western universities but there are curricula for both of them. Students develop good administrative skills, which they need in both business and the public sector.
15 years ago the Universite Laval Faculty of State Administration was the first French-language faculty to receive the prestigious Association for Business Schools Development accreditation. In addition to Bachelor, Masters and Post-graduate programmes the Faculty also offers MBA programmes in 13 different areas of specialization. The Universite Laval faculty of Administrative Sciences is the only university in Quebec that provides a full cycle of studies up to doctoral level.
The Faculty of social sciences is a prospective partner for the HSE faculty of Sociology. The Faculty of Social Sciences offers Bachelor and Master programmes and is famous for its inter-disciplinary and inter-faculty courses. Courses in sociology, anthropology, economics, psychology and political sciences are offered. There is also a modern research institution that makes it possible for students to implement theory and conduct both theoretical and applied studies.
— And what is the number of students in Laval?
— A huge number - more than 38000, and 3600 of them are foreigners. There are 1500 professors and 200 student associations in the university. Laval University offers 325 joint programmes with international universities and also provides the opportunity to conduct research for doctoral work under joint scientific supervision. The Center for Russian language, history and cultural studies is well established at the university. Through this center the students receive scholarships to study in Russia.
— Are there any opportunities for the HSE tutors to receive trainings in Laval University?
— I think so, yes. First of all, there is the opportunity to conduct joint scientific research. Secondly, we can collaborate within the "invited tutor" format. It is a commonly adopted practice around the world. Our international colleagues always invite tutors from different countries as lecturers.
Scientific research, joint educational and scientific events, scientific seminars and conferences offer a lot of opportunities for cooperation. As we say in Russia, all you need to do is wish.
I also think that the HSE industrial managers should have a look at the Laval University infrastructure because it really is superb. The university provides students with excellent accommodation. For example, it offers more than 2000 single rooms in the campus.
— And what can you say about the campus as a whole?
— It is enormous! A city within a city! Naturally, the university is not in the center, it is in the suburbs and the territory is the size of a Moscow district. There are buildings where the students study, a large sporting complex, a special building for the students' theater and even a concert hall
Ekaterina Berezner, the HSE News-Service