What Country is the Best for Professors?
On October 23rd 2012, the latest in a series of regular seminars ‘Topical research and development in education’ took place at the HSE Institute for Educational Studies. Martin Finkelstein, Professor at Seton Hall University (USA), spoke on ‘How the national context influences professors’ academic achievements and careers: a comparative analysis’.
Maria Yudkevich, Vice Rector of the HSE and Director of the HSE Center for Institutional Studies, introduced Martin Finkelstein as one of the leading US economists studying academic work environments and academic careers. He is one of the participants of the ‘Academic Salaries in 28 Countries across the World’ project, which the Higher School of Economics is also involved in.
The researchers tried to evaluate professors’ salaries and contracts in various academic systems around the world. Not only were official salaries taken into account, but also other benefits, including bonuses for medical aid, money earned from private classes, and bribes from prospective students. According to Maria Yudkevich, in terms of living standards for professors, Russia is second from bottom among the 28 countries researched.
However, during his seminar Martin Finkelstein focused not on data and the conclusions drawn from the study, but on the general conceptual framework of the project, which allowed his team to compare career trajectories in different academic systems. Different countries have different conditions for professors, as well as different academic disciplines and academic institutions. It is possible to compare national academic contexts in two ways: first, through career structure, which includes getting an academic position, career growth and further opportunities, and second, though working conditions and the structure of incentives offered by academic contracts.
The speaker outlined five key models for the organization and structure of academic work: European, North American, Latin American, Russian-Chinese, and hybrid.
At the end of his speech, Martin Finkelstein revealed some of the researchers’ plans for further study. In particular, they plan to carry out a large-scale study comparing the profiles of countries on the basis of selected indicators, to compare these profiles and to try and unite them in clusters. ‘A more precise classification of national contexts will allow us to create multi-variant models, on the basis of which we shall be able to evaluate the shaping influence of these contexts on academic work and professional academic sphere as a whole’, the speaker said.
Participants of the seminar included Evgeniy Knyazev, Director of the HSE Center for University Management, Olga Mashkina, Deputy Dean of the Pedagogical Department at the Lomonosov Moscow State Unviersity, and Tatiana Abanikna, Director of the Center for Applied Economic Studies at HSE Institute for Educational Studies (IES).
Summarizing the seminar, Irina Abankina, Director of the IES, emphasized the importance of efforts to create theoretical models of academic systems: ‘The researchers have managed to outline the key parameters differentiating one model of national academic context from another according to their internal organization’.
Alina Ivanova, specially for the HSE News Service
Researchers at the HSE Institute of Education have used regional data to describe, for the first time in Russia, how inequality in access to education affects different parts of the Russian Federation. The research findings reveal that the key determining factors are the local economy and the proportion of people with a university degree: urbanised regions with well-developed economies and educated inhabitants are more likely to have good-quality schools, with a large proportion of students scoring highly in the Unified State Exam and going on to university. In contrast, poorer regions with low human capital see many of their school students drop out after the 9th grade, limiting their chances of further education.
Additional certification and training courses can not only affect an employee’s pay grade and career, but their sense of control over their life. Employees who have ‘upgraded’ their professional knowledge and skills find it easier to manage problems both in their personal lives and in the workplace. However, the trend does not hold equally for men and women. A study by Natalia Karmaeva and Andrey Zakharov of the HSE Institute of Education shows that men reap more benefits than women.
Unlike many other countries, Russian children’s educational path is decided from an early age. Starting with the first grade, parents try to send their children to schools where they can remain until they graduate after either the 9th or 11th grades. Moreover, many families do not use the opportunity available to them to transfer their children to a better school partway through their education. The result is that inter-school mobility remains low and a child’s educational path is often hard-wired early on, HSE University sociologists in St. Petersburg found.
Children from families with high professional and educational status are twice as likely to enter a prestigious university as their peers from low-resource families, HSE University researchers have found. The ‘privileged’ adolescents benefit from strong family attitudes towards a good education, parental investment in their studies and the high academic performance associated with it. At the same time, even when they have good grades, students from poorly educated families do not even try to get into prestigious universities.
Russian doctoral school — that only recently switched to the model of structured programmes — is once again at a crossroads. Which is better: the new model or traditional mentoring? And should postgraduate students be considered young scholars or ‘mature’ students? In her report to the Tenth International Russian Higher Education Conference, Natalia Maloshonok shared the views of doctoral research advisors on these and other questions.
On June 18, the third International Partners’ Week ‘Academic Agility: Preparing Students for an Uncertain Future’ began at HSE University. The event brings together representatives of more than 30 universities from 16 countries, including France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Turkey, the USA, Finland, the United Kingdom, and China. They have all come to Moscow to learn more about the kind of learning experience HSE University can provide, as well as to discuss practical challenges and solutions regarding international mobility.
On May 23-24, following the Days of the International Academy of Education held earlier this week, the General Assembly of the International Academy of Education took place at HSE University Moscow. The assembly brings together education researchers and experts from all over the world, and this is the first time that the biannual meeting was held in Russia. Over the course of two days, members discussed joint projects and publications and met newly inducted members who had the opportunity to introduce themselves and present their research. Members also took part in small group discussions on a variety of topics, including digital literacy and math education.
On May 20, the Days of the International Academy of Education commenced at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. Experts from all over the world engaged in identifying global education policy trends will hold a series of meetings, master classes, seminars and open lectures. They will share their experience with Russian researchers, instructors and education policy makers over the course of three days.
The more a student engages with various activities on campus, the higher their odds of success post-graduation. According to a study by HSE researchers, not only academic but also research and social engagement, such as participation in student organisations and events, can be linked to the development of critical thinking skills which are essential for general wellbeing as well as career advancement.
The first meeting of IOE Expert Committee, which includes six international experts in education from five countries alongside three Russian experts, was held on October 19-20. The Committee gave an independent assessment of the Institute's activity and recommendations for finalizing its development strategy until 2024.