With the speed of change regarding the skills that are in high demand on today’s job market (and throughout the economy, in general), the education system now faces new challenges. Effective employees are increasingly expected to possess entrepreneurial skills, as well as join project teams, to further their career. They will become less of a mere staff member carrying out set tasks. Professional qualifications will not be the only prerequisite for success if they are not combined with an understanding of the entire context of one’s job activities. This means not only being able to adapt to changes but also develop one’s own projects, work in a team and maintain ongoing communications.
With this in mind, universities must offer the following:
а) project-based learning: offering students the opportunity to take part in group projects, which will also foster their abilities to work in a team, including that put together by students autonomously; for this, a stronger focus will be put on developing students’ group and teamwork skills by utilizing current instruments for arranging project work (e.g., HSE Project Fair, projects initiated by respective degree programmes, etc.);
b) developing new types of literacy, thereby ensuring effective communication, e.g., in the digital sphere (digital literacy); projects for fostering Data Culture among students will include the development of skills in communication, both with the digital environment (mandatory training in programming and algorithmic thinking) and within it (learning the key aspects of media literacy and digital content creation);
c) understanding general cultural (e.g., economic and legal) grounds for one’s professional activities, while also fostering the ability to apply relevant knowledge in real-life situations; the courses now available in certain fields will be enhanced based on the proposals regarding student project work;
d) options for establishing individual educational trajectories for each student, enhanced with the digital instruments.
The digital revolution in education offers possibilities for qualitatively expanding the learning opportunities for teachers and students alike. With every year, access to the University is less associated with its actual location, while it transforms into a larger educational space. In addition to open events and HSE University’s own educational offerings (open optional courses, online courses, lecture venues in city areas, etc.), the majority of the University’s services and products will become accessible to a wide range of learners throughout Russia via the digital environment.
Furthermore, a student’s individual educational trajectory must be as extensive as possible, as they will have to keep acquiring skills both to launch a career and further develop their professional life. With this in mind, anybody can become a student at any point in their life, and, moreover, their “graduation” from the University might happen further down the line.
HSE University, with its over 20 years’ experience as a research and project-focused institution, will employ a new educational model in 2020-2030, with a strong focus on rapidly expanding possibilities of digital technologies (where the University is a leader today), as well as the potential of various socio-economic fields, which have a practical emphasis. Furthermore, the University’s ability to compete on a global scale and its worldwide reputation will help it to move forward, both in regional and international markets of higher education.
In addition, HSE University’s network projects with other academic institutions throughout Russia’s regions mean that its advanced educational standards will be disseminated among around 50,000 students by 2030, thanks to e-learning and blended learning formats, i.e., HSE University courses, individually selected courses combined to develop particular concentrations and educational programmes. This will contribute to bridging the gap in education quality between larger cities and the regions, through promoting a high-quality and equally accessible academic space in Russia.
HSE University’s MOOC offerings, concentrations built with several online courses and online Bachelor’s/Master’s programmes (the first of these Master’s was launched in 2019) add up to the “soft power” of Russian education, by stimulating the enrolment of students in full-time programmes at Russian institutions of higher education. By 2030, the total number of learners registered for HSE University’s e-courses should reach around 5 million people per year, while the number of learners who shall receive certificates upon completion of studies will likely come to 300,000 per year, with 1/3 of these diplomas going to Russian students, and the rest going to foreign learners. Around half of the certificates will be issued for the completion of English-taught e-courses.
HSE University’s re-orientation towards offering wider-ranging access to its educational products for both the Russian and global communities will require renewal of formats of full-time study under core degree programmes, their design, and new mechanisms to provide support for the academic process.
4.1. Project-focused Transformation of the University’s Core Degree Programmes
Over the course of its history, HSE University has developed by increasing the quantity and enhancing the quality of its student enrolment. Today, potential for growth by bringing in the most talented applicants is close to expiration: in 2019, HSE University, depending on a field of study, admitted 25% to 50% of the strongest applicants in Russia. At the same time, the rapid growth of the University’s reputation keeps attracting more of the top applicants, despite efforts to raise entry criteria. Between 2013 and 2018, without almost any changes in the size of government-funded intake of students, the quantity of fee-paying students increased 4.5 times in Bachelor’s programmes and doubled for Master’s studies, while their quality was rising too (e.g., Bachelor’s applicants saw their average USE grade increase from 75 to 85, which is in line with the minimum USE score requirement for government-funded studies at Russia’s top academic institutions). Further enrolment growth is thus only possible through reducing the selection criteria, which is barely associated with HSE University’s reputation. Moving to project-focused studies, which will be a key area of developing HSE University’s educational programmes up until 2030, will likely mean limiting the number of full-time degree students.
4.1.1.Full-scale Move to Project-based Studies by 2024
Student project activities will root in their participation in teams focused on fundamental and applied research, professional practical projects in such areas as engineering, design and communications, software development, management, marketing, etc. HSE University’s transfer to project-based studies, starting from the first year of Bachelor’s studies (this commenced in 2018 in engineering fields of study, as well as in Design and Communications), helps to significantly boost motivation in top students, geared for research and project work, as well as prevent their “burnout” in their junior years of study from working solely on academic tasks. Therefore, HSE University will operate as a research and project-focused institution not only for its staff, but also for all of its students.
Solving this task will require engaging the human resources and organizational potential of HSE University’s research and project centres in full measure, as well as restructuring resources of these subdivisions and the entire University alike. With this in mind, the total number of research and study groups, project-based study groups and laboratories will be significantly increased, while the provision of support for other types of academic and project work will be enhanced.
The student population will be aligned appropriately with the University’s current capacity for ensuring project work. Thus, HSE University’s “core” enrolment in Moscow will be limited to 35,000 students, including 7,000 international students. For this purpose, starting from 2020, the admission of applicants in Moscow will be reduced to 80% of the current intake, with the cutoff coming to 60% for certain fields. In turn, restrictions on admissions at the St. Petersburg campus will be imposed from the 2021-2022 academic year. However, no restrictions will be introduced for the campuses in Nizhny Novgorod and Perm. HSE University’s regional campuses will expand to a combined total of 15,000-20,000 students, with up to 3,000 international students included in this total.
4.1.2. Organizing Project-based Studies
Learning models and curricula of core degree programmes at HSE University already include a practice-oriented component. By 2024, this will become a mandatory part of all its programmes, regardless of their degree level and field or mode of study. With this in mind, students will take active part in HSE University’s research and project work. The project work will thus be at the core of programmes, with other educational components built on it. The type of projects (academic, applied, etc.) will define student educational trajectory, though certain educational programmes may provide for variations in the focus of trajectories.
Organization of project activities for all students would require extensive cooperation with employers, as well as the various research and scientific centres based out of HSE University (as part of its analytic and research subdivisions). So as to ensure this, a Network Office will be put together under the administration of HSE University’s academic block, with respective representatives in faculties. This office will provide support in order to ensure cooperation with industry-based employers and organize project activities with students in all University’s institutes/major research centres.
Project-based studies by way of conducting research will be carried out through participation in research and study groups, research laboratories and student research sections set for all research teams (including informal research groups within departments and schools), as well as through involving students in “grown-up” projects in fundamental and applied research (as research assistants/volunteers).
4.2. Variability in Educational Trajectories
Advanced HSE University’s research and project resources, along with its direct interaction with state institutions and major corporations, will generate greater opportunities for students as they pursue high-quality educational trajectories.
With the high rate of change on today’s job market, e.g., demand for particular skill sets, HSE University must rely on an effective model to quickly adjust and re-configure its degree programmes. As such, this model can offer a new format for organizing educational programmes, for which the University will serve as a platform for developing student individual trajectories, characterized by the following components: modules, consisting of courses, projects and research/project seminars; modules, focused on fostering inter-subject skills, and their respective configurations. This approach will help to boost the variability of students’ educational trajectories, while also ensuring that the volume of educational content is preserved. To this end, in 2020-2021, HSE University shall carry our serious reforms with a view to expanding the selection of programmes and student educational trajectories, with due consideration of the most straightforward positioning of various programme offerings and trajectories. These trajectories will be both applied and academic in nature.
Programme offerings will allow for three types of educational trajectories:
- General trajectory, that is, the one without strict requirements as to learners’ professional competencies, with the exception of a programme’s core courses. At the Master’s level, such programmes may primarily be aimed at graduates of Bachelor’s programmes, who wish to update their knowledge or shift it towards another field, as well as graduates of institutions with an insufficient skill set for studies at HSE University.
Applicants shall be admitted to respective groups of degree programmes within major areas of study (the Humanities, Economic Sciences, etc.) At the same time, applicants shall initially select a certain research or project seminar to participate in as the key element of their trajectories, to be held along with their courses, while also independently putting together the rest of the curriculum according to their own needs. With this in mind, Faculty-wide pools of courses will be created, which will be available to all Master’s students according to specific areas of study. Moreover, students will be able to receive guidance on developing their own individual trajectories, as well as course selection.
- Applied trajectory will be focused on specific segments of the job market and set strict requirements with respect to basic competencies. This particular approach will include obligatory work placement in existing companies and organizations partnering with HSE University.
- Research (academic) trajectory/programme will be implemented in affiliation with respective doctoral schools and will be available for students, who have already demonstrated tangible research results. These students shall be admitted to Master’s programmes with the already-formulated research topic and their studies will be centred around a respective research project. Students in Master’s programmes affiliated with doctoral schools will be provided with financial support (scholarships, grants, etc.), coming to at least 80% of the average salary for the given region, and international mobility opportunities (internships and participation in conferences with papers/reports). This approach will help HSE University to retain the most talented students, who are interested in pursuing high-quality education, as well as avert their possible relocation abroad.
Platform-based approach to building educational trajectories will also facilitate HSE University’s implementation of the “expanded Bachelor’s/Master’s” model, that is the model allowing for highly customized student trajectories, including those allowing them to study outside of just one field (this is of particular importance for students interested in supplementing their trajectories with study blocks from other concentrations).
Although the design and reform of degree programmes is an ongoing process for all levels of instruction at HSE University, particular emphasis is placed on Master’s programmes. Furthermore, even though demand for the University’s’ Master’s programmes is still high (e.g., HSE University is the sole academic institution in Russia with 3,500 fee-paying students at the Master’s level), it still is well below the demand for its Bachelor’s and Specialist programmes. This is largely driven by the specifics of the Russian job market, whereby a Bachelor’s degree is sufficient for employment in many sectors, as well as the educational market, where Master’s programmes are often merged with continuing professional training.
HSE University has also developed internal restrictions on the development of Master’s programmes:
- programmes are not often aimed at particular segments of the job market (as a result, they do not feature the desired level and specifications with respect to professional competencies), and this is not always feasible due to specifics of the industry;
- the student cohort is extremely differentiated, e.g., with respect to base competencies, thereby requiring adaptation of relatively weaker performing students through having them repeat basic courses; in turn, such courses have already been pursued by learners at top universities and would not be of interest for them;
- low variability within programmes with a small cohort lowers student motivations for study;
- up to 10% of the best HSE University graduates of Bachelor’s programmes continue studies at top foreign universities, which sharply limits possibilities for compiling strong student groups with a focus on research at the Master’s level.
The proposed reform model is expected to slacken all these limitations.
As the job market transforms dynamically, narrow specializations, which bear the risk of becoming of low demand over the long term, will only be taught as part of professionally-focused Master’s programmes or modules of courses integrated into degree programmes as their part.
Moreover, upgrading the model for designing core degree programmes shall require the transformation of educational standards. The new design for programmes will also demand internal effort to reverse the inertia with respect to extensive development of the degree programme portfolio, i.e., the University will move from expanding its range of programmes to rather providing more opportunities for learners to “craft” their own pathways with the educational products offered.
A key hurdle to this process is finding the configuration of learning framework in the context of federal legal restrictions. A working version of such configuration is set to be developed for Bachelor’s programmes in 2020 and Master’s programmes by 2021.
4.3. HSE University’s Methodological Ecosystem and Validation of Education Quality
With multiple learning trajectories in place for students, it is essential that HSE University maintains a well-rounded system of methodological support, which can set the standards for the educational process, as well as affirm corporate standards in teaching, provide support to faculty and curriculum developers, who are involved in this process as both authors and users.
In order to maintain quality control over various learning components and determine the extent of learning of educational products outside of HSE University, a system for external (with respect to the educational process) assessment should be in place (e.g., international certificates and accreditation), both for individual components of a given programme and skills beyond the curriculum elements. Special attention will be paid to developing/finding options to assess digital and meta-subject competencies. At the same time, additional automated digital solutions will be developed, thereby allowing students to monitor own academic performance in the course of their studies.
Furthermore, tailor-made design of degree programmes and validation of educational solutions would require mainstreaming digital technological solutions in order to ensure the proper implementation of such procedures.
4.4. Exploring the Potential of Digital Technologies
The University’s digital transformation will open the way to a common open educational space, which will be equally accessible for all potential target audiences, introduce instruments for ensuring the quality of training, and create new opportunities for students to enhance their educational experience.
With the scope of its educational activities changing, HSE University will bring a new quality of training owing to its development of digital educational technologies and tools, which, in turn, will facilitate in-depth learning of materials, including the option for assessment in the course of a student’s progress along his/her educational trajectory, while also helping to free teachers from routine activities and ensuring that students receive comprehensive feedback, an individual approach to their instruction and efficient training.
While keeping face-to-face interaction between students, doctoral students and teachers (e.g., consultations, joint research and projects), instruction for all core courses and certain electives will be based on a blended-learning model, which will include 2nd generation e-courses, i.e., those relying on AI for knowledge generation and assessment, augmented and virtual reality technologies, simulators, and smart training devices. In turn, the University will gain more infrastructure for developing and implementing digital technologies, including virtual laboratories in various fields of study.
HSE University will develop digital services for building individual student trajectories, digital portfolios, digital tools for objective evaluations, self-evaluations and mutual evaluation of performance (both cross-professional and profession-specific competencies). Digital portfolios will be end-to-end in format and, therefore, feature all degree levels, including continuing professional qualifications and other optional courses.
Moreover, HSE University’s educational digital resources will be integrated with its next-generation learning management system, thereby ensuring equal opportunities for all learners and the delivery of various learning formats and modes, e.g., network interactions through the use of HSE University’s courses/content by its partner universities. In order to effectively introduce and operate the system, the University will design teaching methods, which will be geared for digital content, as well as methods for adapting courses for digital content and converting analog content to digital formats.
4.5. Adding In-demand Cross-Curricular and Meta-subject Competencies to Education Programmes
Universal competencies (e.g., critical and creative thinking, teamwork skills, cross-cultural communication skills, etc.) have become staples of professional life that are in demand on the current job market. That’s why HSE University will ensure the mass learning of such skills by students and continue to develop mechanisms to evaluate them.
All students will obtain communication, digital and data skills, while Bachelor’s and Master’s training will be enhanced through including an additional track with a focus on digital technologies.
Furthermore, all students will have the opportunity to acquire general cultural competencies, which promote efficiency in professional and everyday activities. These, at the first stage of the development programme implementation, may include competencies in economics and law, as prerequisites for successful self-realization as both a citizen and market participant. Learning them will involve both applied (instrumental) aspects and theoretical foundations. In addition, such competencies will be taught as part of elective modules under respective degree programmes.
General cultural practical competencies (e.g., in economics and law), as well as digital competencies and communication skills, will be pursued by students in the 2020/2021 academic year as mandatory elements across all degree programmes. With this in mind, learners will be provided with the opportunity to boost their entrepreneurial competencies in business and the social sphere as part of project activities at HSE University, as well as its business incubators.
4.6. Encouraging Student Involvement
HSE University has traditionally set high standards for student involvement in academic processes throughout their participation in courses (cumulative grading systems, regular interim evaluations, well-defined requirements for learning outcomes, etc.) This is coupled with one of the most advanced mechanisms for student feedback in Russia (teaching quality assessments, “Best Teacher” voting, etc.)
The new approach for building educational programmes will be underpinned by the extensive involvement of students in determining their educational trajectories. For this, HSE University will use the following:
- incentives and teaching tools to encourage students to engage responsibly and proactively in defining their educational pathways and acquiring given competencies (self- and mutual evaluation, awareness, etc.);
- mechanisms for tutoring/mentoring, which is essential for HSE University with a variety of educational opportunities provided, which shall include the following:
- automated services with recommendations for building personal competency maps and individual curricula;
- a system of “cascade student mentoring”, whereby students in their senior years mentor junior students (of respective degree levels): e.g., doctoral students to Master’s students, Master’s students to Bachelor’s students.
4.7. Forming Regional Networks for HSE University’s Network Educational Projects
Over the next decade (by 2030), HSE University will rely on its accumulated experience using network-based interactions and e-learning resources to expand access to its educational products offered via its partners, including regional universities.
With this in mind, the University will expand its admission of new students outside of its campus in Moscow, by setting up network programmes in partnership with Russian and foreign universities, while also benefiting from the digital technologies (primarily, online courses). For instance, by 2030, the number of students enrolled in network programmes co-launched by HSE University will increase to 50,000; the number of online students (including international learners) eligible to receive certificates (as well as micro-degrees and degrees) – up to 300,000.
With the aim of further contributing to the education system in Russia’s regions, HSE University will continue to create and distribute digital educational content, while also strengthening its leadership positions on international and national educational resources, e.g., Coursera and the National Open Education Platform. By 2024, online versions of “core” courses taught under degree programmes in Economics, Management and Computer Science will be created; furthermore, the selection of fields will be extended, by, for instance, adding courses developing overarching competencies (e.g., digital literacy, entrepreneurial culture, etc.) The implementation of these products, together with the University-supported system for validation of learning outcomes attained under network partnerships, will allow regional universities to utilize HSE University’s academic achievements, as well as maintain high quality of the services rendered in the regions.
4.8. Master’s of Science and Doctoral Programmes
The doctoral schools hosted by the University will become a source of qualified research staff for academic and corporate (R&D section) job markets: through the customization of trajectories of graduate studies, doctoral students will be able to select between academic sector (e.g., research staff training under institutional partnerships with regional universities) and the corporate sector, which offers jobs for analytics and researchers.
One of the key resources for developing doctoral programmes will be the inclusion of all doctoral students in the University’s research projects on a salaried basis.
Applicants for the designated doctoral programmes will be admitted via research project teams (75% applicants will have project work experience and their own research topic within the framework of their project), which will help to ensure relevant research topics, aimed at supporting academic sphere and infrastructure, as well as promoting activities envisaged by the Federal Project “Development of Staff Potential in Science and Research” of the National Project “Science”.
4.9. CPD Programmes as a Key Activity at the University
HSE University will develop CPD programmes across all Faculties; this will help extract additional value fromthe unique intellectual resources of the University: the share of income from CPD programmes in extra-budgetary income will be increased to 30% by 2030, partially due to re-orientation to corporate learning programmes. The success in developing CPD programmes will be evaluated with quality metrics, such as high (at least 65 points) NPS indicator (i.e., readiness of a programme’s alumni to recommend it others) and a share of the participants in the “Expert-200” rankings of the top Russian companies among corporate clients (at least 20%).
HSE University is aiming to enter the segment of high-margin programmes, including degree and non-degreeExecutive Education for business and social spheres (e.g., education and health care), as well as develop CPD programmes for the mass and sectoral segments, along with individualized products.
To meet its set objectives, the University will re-organize its CPD systemby overcoming current fragmentation (i.e., integrating a number of current subdivisions and establishing new structural units); further professionalization of CPD administration, including introduction of management by KPIs; expanding into new markets; developing online products and updating the University’s programme portfolio; introducing advanced methods in design and promotion of educational products on the Russian and global markets alike; implementing digital learning technologies and shared operational services; and creating a world-class infrastructure.
4.10. Corporate Transformation of Business Education
HSE University will create an in-house world-class business school, which will will be a priority partner of leading Russian companies in developing their personnel as well as management concepts and methods. The school will be built on a globally dominating model of a “University’s business school”, and thus will rely on an integrated portfolio of programmes, from Bachelor’s to ЕМВА; expert teaching communities (academics and practitioners); and on an extensive network of centres and laboratories engaged in advanced research in management. Due to the variety of fields covered at HSE University, this project has an advantage of expanding into a multi-disciplinary basis.
A substantial distinction of the Business School at HSE University will be its focus on education and development of globally competitive and socially responsible business leaders for the Russian digital economy. Also, the School’s educational programmes also will be designed to instil in students the key contemporary managerial competencies, such as entrepreneurship, project-based approach, applications of digital technologies, and systemic internationalization.
Furthermore, the criteria of the School’s success will be its professional recognition through the “star” careers of its alumni, and through international programme-based (EPAS and АМВА) and institutional (EQUIS and AACSB) accreditations, as well as its consistent progress in Top-100 and Top-50 of the global rankings of business schools, either in their given programmes (Financial Times, The Economist, etc.) and in world subject-based rankings “Business and Management” (QS).
The Business School’s eco-system will evolve out of its partnerships with top global business schools (including those from Top-20 of The Financial Times rankings), leading corporations and entrepreneurial firms. The School will also host a new national resource centre for case studies with an option for external purchases of the rights to use its materials.
4.11. Global Outreach and Exporting Educational Products
HSE University is one of Russia’s leading exporters of educational products and, as such, one of the few universities in the country able to employ a selective policy for admitting international students. The high academic performance of international students (in recent years, their performance has come to 92% of that of their Russian counterparts) and the ever-expanding offerings of HSE University’s MOOCs contribute to the University’s global reputation. At the same time, HSE University possesses the best opportunities for English-speaking students (e.g., English-speaking programme offices, overall bilingual environment, and Russian students’ fluency in English). This, in turn, will allow the University to increase its intake of international students to 7,000 learners while maintaining and even bolstering up its selection process, and also ensure the rapid growth of online certificates issued by HSE University on global markets and the promotion of fully digital Master’s programmes on these markets. By doing so, the University plans to make a significant contributions to the implementation of the Federal Project “Export of Education” (under the National Project “Education”), which foresees an increase in the number of foreign persons studying at institutions of higher learning to around 425,000 persons by 2024.
The further enhancement of the internationalization of the education services will ensure access for larger number of Russian students to academic mobility opportunities at world-class universities and growth of the number of international students in HSE University’s degree programmes, while also ramping up the availability of the University’s own courses and modules on global online learning platforms.
In addition, the University will offer more opportunities for academic mobility to students, thanks to the development of double-degree programmes and support for learners wishing to take part in summer and winter schools, held at leading academic institutions. Almost all students will obtain international experience, not only through academic mobility, but also through participation in international conferences and schools, internships with international firms, volunteer work with international students and faculty, both inside and outside of Russia.
The development of Bachelor’s programmes in wider areas of study means that HSE University will be able to design and launch trajectories taught entirely in English (or other foreign language) within Russian-taught programmes, thereby expanding possibilities for individual educational trajectories for exchange students and enhancing the salability of HSE University’s offerings for international students.
In order to ensure stable growth in the number of international students, HSE University will devise programmes (including network programmes) together with its international academic partners, as well as re-orientate its programmes to new markets, including those of former Soviet Republics, where the University will be able to compete with the top Russian and international academic institutions in terms of the quality of its educational products.
The increase in the proportion of Russian students in English-taught educational programmes and the share of student works (terms, theses, etc.), as well as graduate research completed in international languages, will, in turn, help to further deepen HSE University’s level of internationalization and enhance its reputation outside of Russia.
Moreover, in response to growing demand on the part of Asian and African countries for graduate studies (specifically, at a Master’s level), the University plans to implement the “Bachelor’s at a Foreign University-Master’s at HSE University” trajectories, in partnership with international universities, which specialize in Bachelor’s instruction. To this end, a system will be developed to prepare Bachelor’s students at partner universities for their subsequent admission to HSE University’s Master’s programmes.
A key area for educational export would be the development of educational programmes, which would be entirely offered online (both in English/foreign language and Russian). The launch of the first English-taught online Master’s programme (for both HSE University and other Russian institutions) in Computer Sciences, in partnership with Coursera, in 2020, will allow the University to enter budding eLearning markets for core degree programmes (Bachelor’s and Master’s) at the outset.
HSE University will also expand its interdisciplinary schools for international students, held both internally and in conjunction with the University’s partner institutions overseas.
 A designated doctoral programme is a special programme, implemented by a doctoral school at HSE University. The key feature of this programme is the mandatory training programme for doctoral students. During the first year of studies, doctoral students take advanced courses in core field-specific courses, as well as courses related to the development of academic skills and knowledge. In their second year, doctoral students pursue specialized courses, some of them taught at HSE University, and others – in foreign universities (read more about the programme here).
 For instance, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Haas School of Business, University of California at Berkeley, Business School at Instituto de Empresa, Said School of Business, University of Oxford.