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HSE Gears up for Staff and Student Conference: A Look Back at the Faculty of Social Sciences

On March 20, a conference for 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 spoke with some of the university leaders about how their own work at the University has changed over this period.

Today, Andrei Mellville, Dean of the HSE Faculty of Social Sciences, answers some questions about the Faculty.

Andrei Mellville

The Faculty in 2014 and today: what is the main difference?

I believe the main difference is that the Faculty of Social Sciences (FSS), is now an integrated body, rather than the random combination of the former faculties of sociology, politics, psychology and public administration that it once was. It is not a coincidence that our students think of themselves as students of FSS, rather than the smaller respective schools and departments. Over the past five years, we’ve learned to work together in different areas, and we try to listen to and understand each other.

What has been the key achievement over this period?

There have been a lot of ‘key’ things. Foremost is probably our success in the international rankings. We have been ranked among the top-100 in subject rankings in Sociology and Politics & International Studies for the third year in a row. This year, as well as last year, we are the first in Rusia. We have advanced considerably in Psychology and Education. We have improved our position thanks to our publications and an increased volume of citations.

We have significantly improved our admissions numbers, including fee-paying and international students. We have launched new bachelor’s and master’s programmes, as well as new laboratories. Our programmes in public administration and political science have received international accreditation. Advanced academic study tracks in sociology and politics have proven successful. We’ve started developing continuing education programmes. Students are actively involved in project work. We’ve managed to attract more external funding.

What has been the main failure?

First of all, we haven’t yet solved the extremely difficult problem of multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary synergy, both in terms of education and research. I believe we don’t have enough English-taught and joint programmes with international partners. We have a pressing problem with recruitment. On the one hand, we have almost exhausted the resources of the national job market. On the other hand, there are certain problems with international recruitment. Finally, our young and middle-aged staff – the ‘working middle’ – are very overloaded, and this cuts into their research time. We also haven’t solved some of the problems related to the ambivalent position of associated departments.

What would you say to yourself and your colleagues if you went back in time to 2014?

I would probably say the same thing I said back then at meetings in departments: let’s work together! We have joint goals. Let’s be respectful and considerate, but resolute. We have a great deal of work to do!

What is your main goal for the next five years?

One of our main tasks is to achieve a new multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary level of quality in education and research. To do that, we need new educational programmes and new research fields (such as computational social sciences, neuropolitics, psychology and sociology of political participation, mixed methods of social research, and many others). We need to renew our staff, to attract and develop young talents. Internationalization is another one of our priorities.

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: HSE, Faculty of Social Sciences, School of Sociology

Icons: flaticon.com, Freepik

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