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HSE Gears up for Staff and Student Conference: A Look Back at the University’s International Activities

On March 20, a conference of HSE staff and students will take place at HSE. It will consider the university’s development programme and elect the new Academic Council. The previous conference took place five years ago, in 2014, and the university has changed a lot since then. HSE News Service talked to some of the university leaders about what has changed in their area of responsibility over this period.

Today, Vice Rector Ivan Prostakov answers some questions about HSE’s international activities.


Ivan Prostakov

How are HSE’s international activities today different from five years ago?

Today, HSE’s international activities are substantially more intensive than five years ago. Here are just a few of the figures: today we are implementing about 700 international agreements (three times more than in 2013); we employ 168 foreign professionals (eight times more); 3,500 students study at HSE (that is a fivefold increase); we have 57 double-degree programmes (1.6 times more); and we have 39 international research laboratories (twice as many as previously).

These numbers mean that today, we have international cooperation in almost all areas of our studies and research, at all faculties. The geography of our internationalization has also been changing quickly over the last couple of years: we are more actively developing collaborations with universities in China, Korea, Japan and Indonesia. This is a natural process related to geopolitical change, although our cooperation with Western partners hasn’t weakened at all. Furthermore, we must understand that in today’s context, academic exchange with Western European countries and the U.S. has become an important ‘diplomatic’ tool in maintaining dialogue between Russia and the West.

What has been the main achievement over this time?

The most important achievement is that HSE has become recognized internationally. Our reputation has become an important factor of our progress in international rankings; we are getting partnership offers; our lecturers, researchers and experts are in demand on international platforms.

Speaking about more ‘specific’ achievements, it is, undoubtedly, the change in international enrolment. I’m not just talking about the growing numbers, particularly over the last two years (we went, by the way, from 14-16 to 7th place among Russian universities in this respect). We’ve managed to change the international admissions system. While before 2017, only 10% were enrolled as fee-paying students, today their share is 40-45%.

What problem is yet to be solved?

Internationally, we are still seen as a university specializing in social sciences and economics. We should further the internationalization of our natural science departments more actively and promote the ‘HSE University’ brand, since the name ‘Higher School of Economics’ no longer reflects the reality and hampers our positioning as a large multi-disciplinary university.

What would you say to yourself and your colleagues if you were to go back to the time when you were first starting your work at HSE in this area?

I came to this position in summer 2016 and, honestly, I hadn’t expected that I would have to change so much and that so many things would be changing around me. I would probably say to myself and my colleagues that we should view constant change as something ordinary.

What is HSE’s main international goal for the next five years?

The main goal is to become as much of a ‘global university’ as possible. This concept doesn’t have a precise definition, but it is more than just a university with a developed network of international partners, English-taught programmes, international students and staff.

We’ll be developing partnerships with regions where our presence is clearly insufficient, particularly with Asia and post-Soviet countries. We’ll be gradually moving into Latin America and Africa. We’ll be developing our ‘institutional’ presence, which may evolve in various forms: from opening additional campuses to offering HSE’s programmes at international universities, which becomes an interesting and promising case taking into account our success in e-learning. This resource is yet to be utilized in terms of our global positioning.

Finally, we need to simply take more advantage of the opportunities for development contained in our everyday and professional communications with international staff, partners and students. Representatives from over 70 countries are already present at our campuses. Probably, to become global, we should fully recognize this fact.

The conference agenda has been approved by the Academic Council and includes the following items:

  • Review of the report on the ‘HSE Development Programme for 2009–2015 and up to 2020’ and discussion of its progress since 2014;
  • Discussion of the key points in the HSE University Development Programme up to 2030;
  • Election of the HSE Academic Council;
  • Election of a representative body representing the interests of HSE staff.

When and where will it take place?

The conference will take place on March 20, 2019, at 1pm, in the HSE building on 57 Trifonovskaya Ulitsa, Moscow (Conference Hall).


Photos by HSE University

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