On September 20-22, an inter-committee session of the Student Council took place at Voronovo. Representatives of student self-governance and the university administration discussed projects that will improve the students’ lives, as well the future of the Student Council itself.
Andrey Kochkin, Chair of the Student Council of the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs:
We have addressed some important issues that student self-governance is able to solve. The session laid the groundwork for solving these problems, while it is up to the local departments to further develop this process. They can start doing it right away, so that the newly elected council can start implementing our instructions immediately.
The session participants talked to Ivan Gruzdev, Director for Internal Monitoring and Student Academic Development, and discussed the impact of Student Teaching Quality Assessment on courses and teachers, as well as the opportunity to change criteria and assign coefficients to them. Issues related to master’s and doctoral programmes were discussed with Anna Korovko, Senior Director for Full Degree Programmes.
In the evening, the participants discussed the role of the Student Council at the university and ways to motivate its representatives with Vice Rector Valeria Kasamara. The Council currently refuses to receive financial support for its activities, since they want to keep the council free of outside influence. But they would be happy to get bonuses for continuing education programmes or other non-material incentives.
The students discussed HSE University’s present and future with Irina Karelina, Senior Director for Strategic Planning, covering topics such as new faculties, challenges faced by the university, and the move to Pokrovka. Both sides expressed hope that such meetings would happen more often.
During the second day of the event, the Student Council presented seven projects. The working groups came up with some solutions to enhance the university environment: they suggested an algorithm for launching student coworking areas and first aid stations; they studied the issue of equipping transition areas in academic buildings; and they discussed how a student’s environment can help him or her relieve stress.
One of the important issues discussed at the meeting was HSE University’s campuses in the Russian regions. Members of the Student Councils from St. Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, and Perm shared their problems with colleagues from Moscow. The most pressing issues turned out to be PE in St. Petersbrug and coworking areas.
Another group came up with suggestions to reform the information environment for international students. Soon, it will be easier for them to be involved in the news agenda, to better understand what is happening at the university, and the process of their adaptation will be smoother.
Some traditional topics were also discussed, such as preparation of conclusions for disciplinary proceedings, Student Council guidebooks, monitoring the new assessment regulations’ application at faculties, and the analysis of local HSE University regulations.
Gleb Garashchuk, Rector’s Assistant
I particularly liked the session for three reasons. First, the Student Council organized it almost completely on their own: the students put together the agenda and took care of all the organizational issues. Second, it was probably for the first time that the chairs of all non-Moscow campuses attended. And third, one of the working groups’ task seemed very valuable to me – to create Student Council guidebooks for new members of the body, student council chairs and committee heads, as well as university students and staff in general. The other groups were also tried to ‘package’ the outcomes of their work as guidelines, which will be also useful for the students who did not come to the session.
Of course, what is most important is not how we thought the session went, but the further implementation of students’ initiatives—but I am quite optimistic about it.
The session has proven that there are many people willing to change the university’s life for the better. This is particularly important before the Student Council elections, which will be held in late autumn.