University recruitment policy and competitive abilities discussed at 6th RAHER ConferenceOctober 20, 2015
A round-table discussion “Approaches to the University Management System Improvement through the Development of the University Leadership Skills. Experience of Project 5-100 Universities” took place on 15 October. The concept and carrying out of the meeting was spearheaded by Project Office 5-100 and became part of the program of the pre-conference day of the international Conference of the Russian Association of Higher Education Researchers (RAHER) entitled “Rethinking students: ideas and new research approaches.
Participants in the discussion -- led by Mikhail Antonov (Director of the Project Office), Larisa Taradina (Head of International Programs of University Leadership, Project Office), and Denis Konanchuk (MSM, SKOLKOVO) -- discussed managerial transformations in leading Russian universities.
Antonov identified several primary components of this process. First, Project 5-100 universities are undergoing optimization of a new managerial level, which includes both supervisory boards and international academic councils. Second, a new aspect has been added to the main functional areas (science, education, cooperation with the industry of universities) which can be labeled “internationalization.” The speaker also noted that the universities’ participation in Project 5-100 has triggered changes in HR and international services of universities.
Irina Karelina (Director of the development program of NRU HSE) spoke about the transformation of personnel policies, using the case of Higher School of Economics as an example. According to Karelina, global competitiveness means that there are no borders for universities in terms of science, education and information exchange. Such a university environment is capable of attracting excellent staff from the outside, which stimulates competition for teaching and professor positions in HSE – there are from 7 to 20 candidates per place. What is more, even our former compatriots living abroad are willing to participate in the contest.
Vladimir Vasiliev (Rector of ITMO University) presented the case of his university that has gone from being completely closed to foreigners in Soviet times to a school that is now successfully implementing an internationalization strategy. “We needed an enormous transformation”, said the Rector, “It quickly became clear that the effort of our own managers wouldn’t be enough”. Vasiliev stressed that the entire team that is now dealing with internationalization has been hired from the outside.
Yuri Pokholkov – President of the Russian Association of Engineering Education, Head of Organization and Technology of Higher Professional Education at TPU and former Rector of TPU – shared his experience of training professional managers within the university. He initiated the launch of the MBA Program “Management in Science and Education” in 2007. So far, about 70 specialists have seen their competencies elevated by this program. One of the key qualities of a university manager, according to Pokholkov, is being able to set strategic goals and form a development concept for the university while simultaneously considering all changes in both the external and internal environment. According to Kirill Zinkovsky (Academic Director of the Master’s program “Management in Higher Education” at HSE), the acquisition of leadership skills – if they do not come naturally --are essential for a university manager. Zinkovsky believes that this program is a type of an experimental lab which unites very different, but very motivated students.
Alexei Kluev (Chief Editor of the journal “University Management: Practice and Analysis” and Director of the Institute of Public Administration and Entrepreneurship at UrFU) focused on management technologies for multi-campus universities in his presentation. He took time to complain about bureaucracy, which, in his view (shared by many) hinders the management of university facilities located at a distance from each other. Victor Demin (Provost for Research at TSU) outlined his university’s efforts in preparing managerial personnel: strategic sessions, which have attracted hundreds of university representatives, as well as the School of Leadership. He noted that within TSU’s “roadmap” the university is currently working towards completion of 150 different projects involving more than 1000 people, who, thanks to these projects, feel that they are now part of university management.
Summing up the discussion, Larisa Taradina reminded the participants that most countries simply hire foreign expert teams, independently organize one-time programs, or pay no attention to this matter at all. She hopes that Project 5-100 will help to create a sort of “collective mind” in Russia – a community of university managers which will call attention to and stimulate the training and re-training of professional university administrators and managers. A systemic approach to this matter would, without a doubt, enable the universities to develop more effectively within the framework of Project 5-100.