‘The Higher School of Economics is blessed to have very talented students’
We spoke to Joshua Hawley, Ed.D, Professor at the Ohio University, USA, who came to the Higher School of Economics to conduct longitude research and deliver a course on Educational Policy at the HSE Faculty of Public Administration.
- How long have you been cooperating with the Higher School of Economics? How did you establish partner relations?
- This is my third visit to Russia:I have already been to Krasnoyarsk, Tver and Tomsk. I came to Moscow at the invitation of Isak Froumin, acting Vice Rector and Academic Supervisor of the HSE Institute for the Development of Education. I taught a course on Educational Policies. The major part of my audience were undergraduate students of the Faculty of Public Administration. Apart from that, one of the purposes of my visit was work on the research of educational and labour trajectories of school and university graduates together with Dmitriy Popov, researcher at the HSE Institute for the Development of Education. When I came here, we discovered a mutual interest in the problems of student dropouts, which the HSE is starting to study today.
- What was your course about?
- Generally speaking, the course allows the students to get an understanding of how the U.S. and Russian educational systems work, how educational policies are applied in these countries, including their comparison to world trends. It turned out that globally, and this was a surprise for many students, educational strategies in US and Russia are not very different. We can say that Russian and American educational policies are in many ways similar.
- Did anything in the Russian educational system seem surprising to you?
- From my point of view, Russian education continues to be very narrowly specialized, and this is a legacy of the Soviet planning system, a result of educational models from Cold War times. I have seen similar situations in other post-Soviet countries, such as Kazakhstan. But in the modern world everything changes rapidly, including technologies and the labour market. And a specialization which exists today can disappear overnight. In the U.S. education system the focus is much broader.
- What impressions of Russian students did you get?
- I can say that the Higher School of Economics is blessed to have very talented students! I was impressed with their level of English. And they showed good results in classes, taking in account that they haven't had any courses on education before.
- Could you tell us about the research you are working on, are there any specifics in the study of dropouts in Russian and US universities?
- In the US I have been studying how institutions help students graduate, and here we are interested more in the reverse:how institutions help students fail. But it's the same concept, the same statistical procedure. But we are only at the beginning of our study, and I believe the results will be very interesting, and we shall publish them in a joint article.
- Why is the Higher School of Economics interesting to you?
- Firstly, the HSE conducts many studies based on quantitative methods, and secondly research of education and universities is developing very actively here. These two factors are very important for me, and additionaly, I personally know many people working here, I met them at conferences and have experience of conducting joint projects with some of them.
The HSE has some advantages even compared with my home university. I was pleasantly surprised with the system of research and educational laboratories which allows even undergraduate students to be involved in research work.
We also had an interesting discussion during the Institute for the Development of Education's weekly seminar, where I spoke about dropouts in US universities ( Presentation for the report)
And of course the April Conference seemed quite interesting to me. I delivered a report on the outputs of higher education in the engineering, technological and scientific spheres.
- Do you have any plans for further cooperation?
- Initially, we shall continue the joint research on student dropouts in Ohio University as well as at the HSE. And secondly, the Ohio University is now considering opening an office in Eastern Europe, as part of its internationalization strategy. And from my point of view, the HSE could become a potential base for such an office.
Lyudmila Mezentseva, HSE News Service