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The goal of Project 5-100 is to maximize the competitive position of a group of leading Russian universities in the global research and education market.

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Project 5-100 seminar-conference in Tomsk

February 13, 2015

The geography is ever expanding when we speak of the seminar-conference to discuss the realization of the roadmaps set by the university-winners (academic excellence projects): on 12-13 February, Project 5-100 participants met in Siberia for the first time – the seminar was hosted by the Tomsk State and Tomsk Polytechnic universities respectively.

The first day of the seminar took place at Tomsk State University. Approximately 250 people participated in the discussion panel. Some of the speakers included: Alexander Povalko (Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Russia), Andrei Volkov (Deputy Chairman of the Council on Competitiveness Enhancement of the Leading Russian Universities among Global Education and Research Centers), Mikhail Antonov (Director of Project Office 5-100) and Irina Karelina (Executive Director of the Global Universities Association).

In his address, Alexander Povalko noted a series of positive results achieved by the university-participants and emphasized the importance of maintaining and developing international contacts including those established during the December visit of the Brazilian university delegation to Russia.

Alexander Povalko talked extensively about the coming meeting of the Council on Competitiveness Enhancement of the Leading Russian Universities among Global Education and Research Centers, which is scheduled for March of this year. This time the assessment of the universities per their “roadmaps” will be conducted with the help of external experts; the presentation will be made not by university rectors and presidents as before, but by the provosts and heads of project offices.

The next speaker, Andrei Volkov, called attention to the fact that other strong national universities are viewing Project-5-100 schools as “examples”. “We believe,” said Volkov, “that you will set the tone for the inevitable changes that will take place in the entire higher education of Russia.”

Mikhail Antonov gave university leaders and heads of project offices a series of methodological recommendations for their coming meetings with the members of the Council in March. He then made a presentation about the interim results of the Project and talked extensively about the key performance indicators which set the development pace for the Project 5-100 participants. Antonov also spoke about the areas in which all fifteen universities were able to achieve significant progress, including the average USE (Unified State Exam) grade and the number of international students.

Irina Karelina shared the plans of the Global Universities Association for 2015 and spoke about a series of new initiatives within the format of the Association. She continued by elaborating on the future plans of the recently created Unified Recruitment Center for international students.

The topic was continued by Elena Chernyshkova (Head of Promotion, Marketing and International Recruitment of the Project Office 5-100). She listed the activities which need to be undertaken to promote the leading national universities: participation in important international events; development of contacts with foreign universities, including those from BRICS countries; creation of a selection system; and preparation of publications for disseminating important news generated by Project participants.

The topic was further discussed in the speeches of a group of experts who made recommendations regarding the positioning of the leaders of Russian higher education. The experts who spoke on the topic included: Megan Brenn-White (Director of Brenn-White Group), Andrei Scherbenok (Professor of the Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO), Joseph Avison (Managing Director for Higher Education of The Chronicle of Higher Education), Denis Konanchuk (Director of Educational Programs of SKOLKOVO Business School) and Yulia Selyukova (Head of University Promotion and Academic Recruitment at Project Office 5-100).

The discussion panel ended with a round table in which the Rector of Tomsk State University Eduard Galazhinsky and heads of several university departments presented the best practices of Tomsk State. “Is a classical university as a totality of principles dead?” asked the Head of TSU. According to Galazhinsky, “a classical university in a non-classical time” can adjust to meet modern challenges but must stay true to itself. The TSU Rector talked about the main development vectors of his university, some of which include involving staff in university management, developing a system for building leadership skills among those participating in projects, and strengthening the communicational component both inside and outside the university. The staffing policy of TSU is based on a purely linear principle – promoting employees according to the length of their term of service and loyalty to the university. “Our goal for the next two years is to establish a system of self-maintaining changes and a deeply-rooted culture of improvement of the university life”, said Galazhinsky. “The most important thing for us is to organize a system that can provide an overview as a means of monitoring the university’s longstanding principle of self-development”, he added.

Elena Sukhanova (Director of the Institute of Educational Innovations) also spoke during the session about how an actively innovative environment is being developed in the university. Galina Mozhaeva (Director of Distance Learning) talked about the ways TSU is developing e-learning programs; and Maria Bulygina (Manager of the TSU Target Capital Management Foundation) revealed the mechanisms of public collection of funds for the university’s endowment fund.

On 13 February the attendees of the seminar moved to Tomsk Polytechnic University. As on the previous day, the host university organized a tour of its research labs and centers, museum and campus for the visitors.

Peter Chubik (TPU Rector) introduced the guests to the best practices of Tomsk Polytechnic. After a brief history of the university, the Head of TPU spoke extensively about the current state of affairs. He talked about the cooperation with the industrial sector and numerous international partner universities. Peter Chubik told the visitors about the university’s unique program of Elite Technical Education which has been running in the university for more than 10 years. The program is designed for training “non-serial” engineers – leaders of the profession. The Rector also listed the measures taken to stimulate academic mobility, to popularize technical education among schoolchildren, and to help graduates find jobs. “We get 1.6-1.7 job offers per graduate”, said Chubik about the high percentage of post-university employment of the Polytech’s graduates. Chubik said that TPU has an original practice – tutorship – whose goal is to strengthen students’ self-governance, develop an atmosphere of understanding and cooperation within the university, and help the students’ professional growth and development.

During the seminar a series of meetings between members of the following networking cooperation groups were held: “Staff reserves of universities”, “E-learning”, “Analysis of internal university environment”, “Cooperation with foreign partners”, and “Single contract, effective contract support of international specialists”.

Apart from traditional sit-down meetings of working groups, the agenda included several special events: a round table dedicated to advance training programs abroad for the administrative and managerial personnel of Project 5-100 universities, a practical seminar for PR services and marketing departments of the universities, and round tables “Development of English-teaching models in bachelor’s programs”, and “Cooperation and competition between Project 5-100 universities in the sphere of publishing”.

The next seminar-conference in June 2015 will be hosted by Kazan Federal University.