Preface: Challenges and advantages of exploring post-Soviet higher education
We hope that this study will make one more step in the gradual movement towards opening up opportunities for research on the post-Soviet space built on transparent data and keen academic interest. The demand for a thorough grasp of post-Soviet higher education transformations in each former Soviet Republic seemed natural at the start. Basically, we assumed that national higher education systems reflect changes in societies and the economic and political environment. The institutional landscape of higher education, the structure of the system and the set of ‘rules of the game’ can tell us a great deal about the society in which they are rooted.
This book provides an overview of the major findings of the comparative research project, Changes in Networks, Higher Education and Knowledge Society (CINHEKS). The main aim of this international comparative research project is the analysis of how Higher education institutions are networked within distinct knowledge societies in two key regions of the world: Europe and the United States of America. This research project was carried out in four European countries (Finland, Germany, Portugal and the United Kingdom) and in two different states in the United States of America. In addition, during the course of the research, a team from the Russian Federation joined the CINHEKS study. The analysis is contextually grounded in a comparative policy analysis focused on the main developments and understandings of the ideas surrounding the term knowledge society, in all countries concerned. Empirical elaboration is established via a series of sequential studies, each building, incrementally, on the previous study. These studies include institutional profiles of higher education institutions, institutional case studies, and an international comparative survey that illuminates academics’ social networks. The research findings broaden our understanding of the differences and similarities in how higher education institutions and individual academics are networked within and between societies that understand themselves as knowledge societies. The book introduces a novel analytical synthesis, which asserts contemporary societies have evolved into Networked Knowledge Societies. Methodologically, the book both challenges and raises the bar for previous approaches in comparative higher education, in terms of research design, execution and lays the groundwork for a new generation of international comparative higher education research. (from Springer website)
Student attrition in postsecondary education is a significant public policy problem. Nations invest substantial resources in college systems, and when students leave, this investment is lost. To understand the factors that influence student attrition in US and Russian public universities, we use the perspective of academic momentum, defined empirically as measures representing student enrollment and study progress. Using a discrete-time event history analysis of samples of eight US and two Russian universities, we provide support for the central claims of the academic momentum theory that undergraduate students who progress through college more rapidly have a lower likelihood of attrition. However, a more detailed analysis reveals variability in the relationship between several academic momentum measures and student attrition, depending on a university’s selectivity and the student’s chosen academic field and gender.
This volume provides a critical perspective on the Soviet legacy of superpower competition in the higher education systems of China and Russia. The book examines the tensions among multi-level forces that strive to advance progressive university policies and practices on the one hand, and on the other hand work to restore old-style hyper-centralization and indoctrination. It tracks the de-Sovietization of higher education, which aimed to integrate Chinese and Russian universities into global higher education but resulted in inducing status anxiety in the global hierarchies of knowledge development.
The concluding chapter takes stock of the book’s core notion of high participation systems (HPS) of higher education, in the context of the eight country studies and seventeen HPS propositions. The propositions engender extensive, though not unanimous, support. Declining institutional diversity and more complex governance are broadly agreed, but Finland and Norway differ from the other cases in stratification and equity. The HPS theory and findings are compared and contrasted with Martin Trow’s seminal work. The book ends with a central and enduring tension in HPS. Higher education as self-formation empowers individual agency in HPS on a larger and more inclusive scale. Yet, in HPS those without higher education are more disadvantaged; the average graduate has less social and occupational distinction; and secular tendencies to intensive competition for elite education and institutional bifurcation lead to greater inequality in educational and social outcomes, unless Nordic-style values are sustained.
The chapter examines how the Russian federal government has been driving international student recruitment with attempts to force the modernization of higher education (HE) and promote soft power interests. We provide an overview of Soviet policies related to international student mobility, scrutinize the cyclic and multi-rational educational transformation that has been taking place since the 1990s, and reflect on the implications for the future. We explain the rationale of HE internationalization in contemporary Russia and show that the government’s reforms have focused on the political rationale inherited from Soviet times, combined with the heavy-handed modernization policy to fit in the context of global competition. This curious combination encourages higher education institutions to fixate on meeting government-led performance indicators, preserving the current structure of student mobility concentrated in a few institutions, and creating constraints for the development of academic excellence in Russian HE.
The quarter-century evolution of the Russian institutional landscape consisted of periods of rapid marketization and state-driven correction. The ‘natural’ diversification times were followed by a selective system segmentation into several tiers. During the post-Soviet period most higher education institutions changed their profiles (even though keeping their old names). Many new institutions have emerged; they form entirely new groups of higher education institutions. Yet, the Russian higher education design is still work-in-progress. The development is under path-dependency effect originated both from the Soviet and post-Soviet periods. Different stakeholders participate in the ongoing process of consensus-building, either in the policy-making field or public discussions