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Regular version of the site

‘Consolidation Will Create New Opportunities for Research and Education’

Andrei Melville, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences

Andrei Melville, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences
© Mikhail Dmitriev/ HSE University

Andrei Melville, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, spoke with the HSE News Service about the merger of two schools and the outlook for political science at HSE University.

In recent years, HSE has undergone a number of structural transformations as part of the university development programme. These transformations have included consolidation of university divisions and have been aimed at strengthening a multidisciplinary approach to research and educational programmes, as well as consolidation of education, research and development.

As part of these transformations, at a meeting on April 26, 2019, members of HSE Academic Council decided to establish the School of Politics and Governance as part of the HSE Faculty of Social Sciences. Starting September 2, 2019, the new School will consolidate the current School of Political Science and the School of Public Administration.

Under the HSE Faculty of Social Sciences, the new joint school will also work together with two research institutes — the Institute for Applied Political Studies (established in 2019) and the Institute for Public Administration and Governance – which became affiliated units of the Faculty of Social Sciences. This decision, like the previous ones, also follows from recommendations made by the International Council of the 5-100 Project on developing multidisciplinary educational and research programmes and projects, as well as from the joint commitment to develop areas that are important for the university.

Because both political science and public administration feature strong staff and international recognition, they play an important role in HSE University’s development. In particular, activity by the staff of the School of Political Science (and their colleagues from other departments) contributed to HSE’s placement in the top 100 universities in the QS Politics & International Studies Subject Ranking over the past three years; for the last two years, the school has ranked first among Russian universities. In 2018, HSE entered the top 200 of the ARWU Political Science ranking for the first time, demonstrating the best result among Russian universities. Following the results of the international accreditation a year ago, our political science programmes were assessed as being ‘fully compliant with international standards.’

Prospective students with top academic performance apply to our political science programmes, which are undergoing dynamic development. Students learn modern theories and methods, primarily quantitative, but also qualitative, actively participate in academic and applied projects, and apply for PhD programmes of the world's leading universities. 

 While we have many things to be proud of, we always strive for more, looking for opportunities to integrate research and education in the related areas of political science and public administration

After a series of consultations, the HSE Academic Council therefore proposed the establishment of a joint unit aimed at fostering multidisciplinary development of political science and public administration. In making its decision, the Academic Council relied on international experience. Many leading universities, such as the London school of Economics and Political Science, Harvard University, Georgetown University, and Cornell University feature joint departments of politics and public administration (Department of Politics and Government, etc).

Above all, this decision will lead to the creation of new incentives and focus areas to develop political science and public administration research at HSE, which will also result in interdisciplinary synergy. Consolidation will create new opportunities for research and education, including greater mutual integration of these areas. The development of political science in our university can also help in solving a number of challenges that have built up in field of public administration.

We will work on creating multidisciplinary research groups that focus on big projects involving international scholars. In the future, the faculty may establish new international laboratories and joint master's programmes. New funding will of course be required for research activity. At the same time, political science at HSE, integrated into the global political science discipline, should be well positioned not only maintain but also advance its leadership in Russia.

The staff of the new joint school, the Institute for Applied Political Studies and the Institute for Public Administration and Governance at the Faculty of Social Sciences will collaborate with other departments in the faculty on a new strategy aimed at developing globally competitive research and quality education in joint areas, updating and expanding programmes’ academic councils, and supporting their work, credibility and efficiency. In particular, we plan to create an International Advisory Council that will include leading representatives in Politics and Government.

In conclusion, I want to repeat the comment I made at the HSE Academic Council meeting when we agreed to merge the two schools, and which I posted on my Facebook page: As long as I am alive and work at HSE, I will do everything I can to maintain and strengthen political science at our university.

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