Applications for the latest round of the HSE University Administrative Staff Development Programme are open until November 30. Participants of the programme will spend two years with their team working to implement their own projects that are important to the university. HSE University Life spoke to graduates from previous intakes of the programme about the challenges they faced in those two years, how the concepts of their projects changed, and what they gained from their participation.
If you have any ideas of how to improve HSE University’s business processes and want to develop your management and communication competencies, you can submit an application to take part in the Administrative Staff Development Programme via your MyHSE Services Account. Applications are accepted until November 30.
‘ABC of Student Exchange as a Promotion Tool’ project (2016–2017)
Our team ended up being a group of people whose work involved supporting undergraduate and postgraduate students. We all cared about international academic mobility and international partnerships. We all wanted educational programmes, in addition to having a main trajectory, to be able to offer HSE University students of all levels the opportunity to gain international academic experience. That is how the idea of the ‘ABC of Exchange’ project came about.
To ensure that international mobility was specifically academic, rather than tourism-related, we needed to coordinate with an overseas partner on all joint academic details before signing an agreement. We needed to understand how to select an international partner so that the pieces of the puzzle fit together and the results of mobility truly strengthened students’ academic experience, rather than spoiled it. This meant that before signing an international agreement, we needed to coordinate with a potential partner on how each other’s academic calendars were organised, which courses could be offered to students while on their mobility programmes, and make sure that students’ home universities transferred all the credits earned on the programme so the students wouldn’t have to study them again. We also had to consider the many nuances in the assessment systems of different countries (and even different universities within the same country), units of effort for courses, as well as day-to-day questions, insurance and accommodation.
We had the idea to create a cheat-sheet for whoever (whether a faculty, programme, or individual specialist) was considering establishing an international partnership for student exchange. Why did we do that specifically as part of the Administrative Staff Development Programme? Because there was not and likely could not be a single department to oversee the whole process on a turn-key basis. There were departments who were responsible individually for international links, student mobility under established agreements, the educational process and the overall framework, implementing specific educational products and supporting the educational trajectories of students. The Academic Staff Development Programme became a platform for representatives of all these offices (or almost all of them) to meet and solve the overall puzzle.
Initially, it took the form of a refresher pamphlet with a set of recommendations and control questions. The problem was the pamphlet’s availability: questions remained regarding who would find out about it and how, why someone might need it at all, and where someone could obtain it. The most obvious solution was to make the material publicly available on the HSE University website. During the process, we ended up with a dedicated ‘ABC of Exchange’ site, which over time became the ABC of Mobility information website.
Today, ABC of Mobility is a full-fledged and independent information resource on organising international student mobility at HSE University. It is supported by the efforts of the staff of the Student International Mobility Office. This resource has instructions on how to prepare a working exchange agreement, implement it to send students to partner universities, and bring participants to HSE University. It also includes detailed instructions on how to organise various kinds of mobility through the university’s corporate systems, as well as the contact details of specialists on international activities in various departments, information on academic credit transfer—including recommendations for aligning the assessment systems of different countries and HSE University—and, of course, recommendations for assessing the working effectiveness of exchange agreements.
To access all the materials on the site, please submit an application via this form. If you have any questions about participation in international mobility programmes, you can contact the Student International Mobility Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘Welcome Aboard: Info Support for International Staff Across Campuses’ project (2017–2019)
Foreign colleagues working at the campuses in St Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, and Perm had a serious need for on-site information support (as demonstrated by annual faculty surveys). They needed information resources adapted to the local realities—websites with the same structure as that of the Moscow campus. That was the origin of the project ‘Welcome Aboard: Info Support for International Staff Across Campuses’.
The most difficult thing for us was the process of transitioning from the state of ‘working group’ to that of an unstoppable ‘team’. Several of us grew close while working on the project together and still talk to each other. But the process itself was quite difficult.
We also had difficulties due to the fact that the team was dispersed across four cities in different time zones and with different work schedules. But thanks to group chats, Google folders and the desire to implement a project the university needed, we managed to successfully coordinate on our joint work.
For me, the most significant result of participating in the project was that the Academic Staff Development Programme gives participants practical teamwork skills and lets us see and hear our colleagues from beyond the four walls of our office (and in our case, from beyond the walls of our campuses). After implementing the project, there was a sense of involvement in general processes and an understanding that in order to approach big goals, your actions must be coordinated. It was also nice to work on a winning project in the end.