HSE Elaborates a New Development Programme
In June, an extraordinary Academic Council session, which attracted a broader range or HSE staff and students, discussed the key areas of the university’s development. The ideas expressed, as well as suggestions from faculties and campuses, will provide the basis for a new HSE development programme, which will be discussed at the university staff conference in autumn.
Why Have a Development Programme?
A development programme is a strategy to develop HSE as an international cutting-edge centre for research, education, analysis, consulting and projecting. This is the main document that the university uses to plan its activities in teaching, research, staff policy, infrastructure, knowledge communication etc. The current development programme was approved in 2009, and covers the period up to 2020.
Rector Yaroslav Kuzminov noted that one of the goals was to turn HSE into an R&D university. Another important goal was to make HSE ‘visible’ on the global academic market. A lot has been done in this regard. For example, HSE is the third among Russian universities by the volume of research carried out, and the HSE Business Incubator is seventh in a global ranking of university incubators. In addition, HSE is present in 26 global rankings by subject (including QS, ARWU, THE and US News&World Report) and has climbed into the Top 100 in four of them.
HSE has traditionally been one of the top three Russian universities by the quality of enrolment. In 2017, over 35,000 students were studying on 234 graduate and 68 doctoral programmes, with 2,760 of them being international students. They were taught by 3,700 lecturers and tutors. Over 1,150 professionals were doing research at HSE.
HSE is the world’s fifth university by the number of online courses offered through Coursera. Despite this fact, the university hasn’t yet mastered the whole range of opportunities offered by digital technology, and this is one of the tasks for the next years, the rector believes.
The 2009 development programme included provision of high-quality dorms for all of the students, and this goal has been achieved. ‘Importantly, we are constantly improving the quality of services offered to our students,’ said Yaroslav Kuzminov, ‘This is an important factor that has allowed us to attract the best students from various regions of Russia and internationally.’
What Comes Next
The Academic Council session included working groups in several areas of university activities, from research and human resources, to infrastructure and social care for staff and students.
The discussion revealed that sometimes the faculties are not aware of interesting research carried out and successful examples of best practices in research organization implemented by their colleagues in other parts of the university.
The working group on organizational structure and finance discussed the opportunities and risks posed by the transition to a ‘digital university’ model. The ‘Markets and Resources’ session mentioned a serious gap between fundamental research, applied research and expert analytical work on the one hand, and the continuing education field on the other. As a result, the university isn’t using its competitive advantages to maximum effect. The potential of student projects is also not being fully used.
The participants of the session on student and alumni affairs warned that in the near future, HSE will have to deal with a new type of prospective students, from the so-called Generation Z. HSE should be prepared for it, in terms of teaching and technology.
The university, according to the participants of the relevant working group, is becoming a big educational platform, where each student can form their own individual educational track, which erases the boundaries of fields and sometimes even levels of education. In the ‘digital learning’ context, the teacher’s role is also changing. In particular, the feasibility and applicability of the classical lecture format are being questioned, and there is an evolving question about whether the lectures would be better conducted online. This is important when dealing with international students as well, and the session about international cooperation discussed the necessity of HSE to work in CIS and South-Eastern Asia, and to adjust the programmes for international students (for example, in part-time forms, or in the form of a year-long applied master’s programme, which doesn’t exist in Russia yet, but is very popular worldwide).
The opinions discussed as part of the sessions will be analyzed and summarized as part of the new version of the HSE development programme’s preparation. It is expected that the draft programme will be discussed at the next HSE staff conference in autumn.
Okna Rosta, HSE University's bulletin, published a two-part interview with Rector Yaroslav Kuzminov about HSE’s Development Strategy this fall, and The HSE Look is glad to present it to our English-speaking audience as well.
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