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Regular version of the site

‘We are Starting the Cooperation on Equal Terms’

The Higher School of Economics and the University of Texas (USA) have recently been working on an agreement on cooperation in public administration. Alexey Barabashev, Dean of the HSE Faculty of Public Administration, told us about this process, as well as the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) Conference which took place in Washington.

― Dr. Barabashev, you recently visited the USA. What was the purpose of your trip?

― The main reason was to participate in the November conference of APPAM (Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management). There are several international associations in public administration, and one of the most important ones is APPAM, whose headquarters are in Washington. The association brings together the leading university departments of public administration, institutions and schools of public administration, public policy and public affairs. The HSE was represented at the Conference by two people: Sergey Efremov, one of our postgraduate students, and myself.

In the summer the Higher School of Economics hosted this association’s conference, and in November the annual general APPAM conference took place in Washington, bringing together about three thousand people. Before the conference there was a basic meeting regarding educational problems where presentations were made on the structure of educational programmes, as well as new methods of processing and analysis.

I delivered on of the presentations at this event. Our team has created a new technological tool for evaluating curricula. We have developed a unique software tool which allows us to evaluate prerequisites for courses, analyze interdisciplinary connections and show the statistics of disciplines’ distribution by type, area and theme.

During the conference we had a very productive meeting with Sandra Archibald, the current APPAM President and Dean of Public Affairs at the University of California, as well as with Doug Besharov, APPAM Vice President, Jeff Straussman, Director of Executive Education at the National University of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and many other leaders in our field. We discussed various aspects of cooperation and agreed that the Higher School of Economics could well be attractive for many universities and research centers in public administration.

― Did anything else interesting happen at the conference?

― There were many interesting things. For example, the Higher School of Economics faces the task of being included into international rankings for universities. There is already such a ranking for university programmes in public administration and in the U.S. it is supported by a governmental agency and the World Report. I was able to meet the specialist responsible for this ranking and she is ready to help us create a Russian ranking in public administration which would be compatible with the international one. There is a trend to shift the responsibility for these ranking from governmental organizations to professional societies. At the same time, there is one requirement: the methods should stay the same, so that there is no bias in favour of one specific university.

― After the conference you visited Texas. Can you tell us about this?

― The second part of the trip was related to developing contacts with our new partner university in the USA. We have long been partners with Indiana University, and through them, we were introduced us to the, Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas. This school publishes the Public Policy Analysis and Research journal, ranked second in the world, and since the last year they have employed both Professor Angela Evans, our long-term partner, who previously held the post of Deputy Director of the Congressional Research Service, and Professor Robert Wilson, Deputy Dean of the LBJ School and one of the participants in our summer conference.

In Texas I had a chance to meet the administration along with leading professors and researchers of the LBJ School to discuss options and specific projects for cooperation. Colleagues from the LBJ School are ready to cooperate with us, and we reached agreement on several issues

Firstly, we agreed that a group of HSE students will go to Texas to participate in the summer school on public administration in June 2012. We have already begun the enrolment process for the group. Following this, a group of American students from LBJ School will come to us in summer 2013. Secondly, our academic PhD students will be able to participate in LBJ’s postgraduate programme. Thirdly, we are preparing a joint online class for master’s students on public administration problems, which will look at national security issues.

This project will use online mixed groups and two lecturers (from the HSE and the LBJ School) to investigate such problems as the administrative aspects of trans-border transit of oil and gas, security administration issues and the current dispute over the European AMD system launch, as well as managerial concerns in the context of Russia’s accession to the WTO. We hope this project will not be limited just to our own Master’s students, but that otherinterested students from other faculties will join in.

― When will this project start?

― We are preparing the online class this year and hope to launch it next autumn. It requires a very precise interaction between our technical services, since intercontinental online programmes are still a rare thing, even for the USA. However, the time difference is 10 hours, which is almost ideal since they have classes in the morning, and our master’s students have evening classes. If this class goes well, we shall develop further forms of cooperation and we hope to launch a double degree master’s programme.

In our agreement we have stated that the double degree programme is a strategic goal. Before this, we are going to organize mutual course validation and online classes. As soon as there are 4 or 5 such courses and classes, we will be able to talk about a programme similar to the one we have with London Metropolitan University. This system involves including both courses taken here and in our partner university

― What other agreements have you reached and will they be formally documented?

― We have also agreed on some educational and research projects, including data exchange on some NGO-related projects. At the moment, we are developing a draft agreement between the University of Texas and the Higher School of Economics. It of course includes questions related to exchange programmes for lecturers and summer schools. Since the universities of Indiana and Texas work closely, we get a system of interrelated partners. And we are getting involved in this system in many areas – education, research, publishing… Two leading international journals in our field are published by these universities (the Indiana University publishes the JPAM journal, edited by Prof. Maureen Pirog, and the leading journal in this field). Of course, establishing such important strategic ties is a great achievement, but the most satisfying thing is that we are starting this cooperation on an equal footing. Russia is seen as an important player, and the HSE as a key country partner, and the professional community is willing to work with us.

Andrey Shcherbakov, HSE News Service

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