The HSE Student Council held its first meeting with the newly appointed Rector Nikita Anisimov. Academic Supervisor Yaroslav Kuzminov and Vice Rectors also participated in the event. The meeting discussed Student Council’s suggestions on improving the assistants projects, the opportunities to teach minors on-site, the new model of student housing, as well as the problems of doctoral programmes’ development and support for the buddy system for international students. Below, HSE University Life offers its coverage of the event.
Before moving on to the key problems and suggestions, the students presented the structure of the Student Council. The rector spoke highly of the self-governance system at HSE University: ‘I have worked at four universities and can say that student self-governance at HSE University is the best’.
Rector Anisimov asked the Student Council’s Social and Information Committees to help inform HSE students and applicants about how the new academic year is going to begin at the university: ‘The underage students who enrol at HSE University should know that the university will be responsible for their vaccination’.
The Education Quality Committee spoke about such projects as Teaching Assistants, Digital Assistants, and Study Assistants. The main issue that students believe requires Rector’s involvement is the creation of a digital platform that would match requests for assistants with student applications. The initiative was supported by Sergey Roshchin and Nikita Anisimov: they suggested the IT Office implement this project together with the students. A new department of HSE Student Council, Digitalization Committee, will facilitate this.
The suggestion to move some of the minor classes from remote to on-site format caused a discussion. The Student Council stressed that students are deprived of the opportunity to have on-site language classes, work in the labs, or communicate with students of other degree programmes. Sergey Roshchin mentioned that the last 18 months had demonstrated that successful online language learning is in fact possible: everything depends on teaching methods that might need to be adjusted.
The new approach to student housing caused the most active discussion. Mikhail Popov, chair of ‘Business in .Ru Style’ student association, suggested creating an app to collect information about apartments available for rent—in addition to the rental housing, which the university is preparing. The Dorm Committee believes that this will help create a platform that will allow the students to look for convenient rental options from reliable landlords. Vice Rectors Alexander Shamrin and Vladimir Samoylenko approved the idea and asked the IT Office to look into it.
For the first time during such meetings, representatives of the HSE Doctoral Student Council spoke. They brought up the problems that doctoral students are facing: low rate of thesis defences, shortage of teaching positions, low scholarships, insufficient digitalization of organizational processes, and strict requirements to academic publications.
Yaroslav Kuzminov and Maria Yudkevich suggested the Doctoral Student Council involves not only students from different HSE doctoral schools, but also other early career researchers (including early career teachers and senior students aiming for careers in academia). Yaroslav Kuzminov and Maria Yudkevich believe that doctoral students’ interests and concerns are closer aligned with the interests of the teaching and research community, rather than the students. Maria Yudkevich also thinks the Doctoral Student Council should support academic self-organization. Vadim Radaev provided some details on how dissertation councils work and Sergey Roshchin talked about the plans on digitalization of operations at doctoral programmes.
The last question concerned supporting the buddy system for international students. The students said that they need to buy a platform solution, which would allow to match buddies and international students. It is also necessary to create HSE’s own app. The rector supported the idea of co-funding the existing platform solution and emphasized the need to create a new alternative product together with the IT Office.