International councils at universities will help Russian universities to become global


During a long time Russian universities were closed for international cooperation, being isolated from the global educational community, they lined up the learning process, not taking into account the best practices that existed abroad. In the XXI century it became clear that globalization has occurred in all spheres of life and the continuation of the "non-participation" policy on the part of universities will lead to a lack of experts competitiveness and, as a consequence, to the decline of the country economy. How to adjust to the global model of the university, how to become a significant part of the international high school, if from a dozen leading Russian universities only two are known abroad? These issues bother not only the Project 5-100 participants but other Russian universities as well.
 
Project 5-100 entered the second phase of the universities roadmaps implementation - universities have a little less than five years for their plans implementation. George Winkler, the chairman of the ITMO University International council, the former president of the European University Association, believes that the universities participating in the competitiveness improvement program, while developing their roadmaps, need to think about how to preserve financial stability after the project end in 2020. The funding support from the Ministry of Education and Science will fall sharply, and universities must be prepared for the transition to self-financing of their future development, which should not stop after five years.
 
International relations in the field of education, accompanied by extensive business contacts and opportunities will help to stay afloat.
"We are here not only to advise. We want to establish well-functioning contacts between the universities of Russia, Europe, USA and other countries. Russia should join the network of the leading centers of education," Debra Stewart says, the ex-president of the USA Graduate Schools Council.
One of the primary tasks for modern Russian universities is the university recognition increasing on the international arena. A big set of tools is used: the participation in global conferences and higher education exhibitions, the support of events of global and national significance. The main thing, according to the International council members is not to try to cover all possibilities, but to select the most significant events. The striking example is the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies; ITMO University is its official organizer in St. Petersburg.
This event is of world importance, it includes a series of activities that will be of interest to both the scientific community and to people who are far from science.
 
The question of attracting the foreign students and teachers to Russian high schools is very important because their number is an important indicator of university globality. Domestic institutions of higher education have to change stereotypes about education in Russia. One of the most effective ways to overcome them, according to Daria Kozlova, the director of the International Development and Partnership Institute, is the carrying out of short-term schools for foreign students. Courses last from two to four weeks; this is the best term for initial acquaintance with the educational environment at the university. Further - it is up to the participants of the schools: they, being the pioneers of education in Russia, may attract new foreign students who want to repeat their experience.
 
The change of the language environment at the university, which also affects the attractiveness of the university for foreigners, cannot occur instantaneously, the experts say. It must be created gradually: create additional English classes for the teaching and administrative staff and try to select new employees from those who are able to write freely and express themselves in a foreign language.
"The International council includes representatives of the global education community with significant experience and authority, who contribute to a more rapid university objectives achieving. They attract foreign students, professors, speakers, organize joint training programs with us. Thus, in the ITMO University development the University of Rochester actively participates represented by Xi-Cheng Zhang, the Optics Institute director. Our support for the scientific part - Yury Kivshar, the professor at the National University of Australia and Yury Gunko, the professor of the Trinity College Dublin. They help our international laboratories to comply with this status. Paul Urbach, the professor at the Technische Universiteit Delft, the chairman of the optical design researchers community, defended the road map in Tomsk with us. So many things depend on the International council," Daria Kozlova says.
Let us remind that the ITMO University International council was established in 2014 and for the first time held a meeting to mark the opening of the official branch of the university in Brussels last November. The next meeting is scheduled for October 2015.