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International Advisory Committee Recommends a More Focused Approach

International Advisory Committee Recommends a More Focused Approach

© Sergey Strokov/ HSE

Members of the International Advisory Committee (IAC) and the HSE administration have discussed the results of the committee’s annual meeting.

In summarizing the recommendations on HSE development, Eric Maskin, chair of the Committee, noted the impressive progress that HSE continues to make. There has been considerable improvement in a number of areas, including recruitment of international students, number of classes in English, research productivity, number of research and study groups, effective collaboration with the Russian Academy of Sciences within two new HSE faculties – the Faculty of Chemistry and the Faculty of Biology and Biotechnologies. The Faculty of Urban and Regional Development also deserves a special mention for its innovative energy.

‘HSE continues to be self-reflective in asking what can be done better in faculty evaluation, improving the university, or streamlining administrative practice,’ commented Eric Maskin.

However, HSE is facing several challenges, one of which involves balancing research and teaching. To strengthen its positions in international rankings, the university needs to boost the number of publications; however, publication activity should not undermine the quality of teaching. The results of students’ evaluation of teachers continues to inform staff decisions.

Furthermore, the IAC was impressed by the success in developing international programmes but expressed concern about their fractional nature, instead recommending offering few large programmes in broad subject areas. Moreover, it is important for domestic students to interact as much as possible with international students because this gives them an opportunity to learn about the rest of the world.

Among other IAC recommendations was the importance of branding, especially in English. Members of the IAC are convinced that HSE University should use only one name in all its international communications.

Patti McGill Peterson, Senior Fellow at the American Council on Education’s Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement/ © Sergey Strokov/ HSE

Finally, IAC members suggest making the work of the committee itself more focused. Eric Maskin proposed identifying two or three particular topics to concentrate on. Patti McGill Peterson, Senior Fellow at the American Council on Education’s Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement, agreed that this would bring more depth to the discussion.

Commenting on the discussion, HSE Rector Yaroslav Kuzminov noted that HSE University is committed to maintaining high quality of teaching. The instructors who receive low scores on teaching evaluations but are good researchers are moved into research positions. However, it is vitally important to combine teaching and research. ‘We strive to involve our best students in research from the very beginning of their studies,’ stressed Kuzminov. That said, HSE University recognizes that not all students envision an academic career for themselves. This implies that not only should researchers be teaching, but also professionals from various industries who could share their expertise with students.

As for making the work of IAC more focused, Yaroslav Kuzminov suggests creating sub-committees focusing on natural science, social studies, economics, humanities, engineering and so on, which would help HSE University solve more specific problems.  As Eric Maskin commented, it could be expert assessment of curricula in the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities.

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