Building a World-Class University and the Role of the University Rankings: A Russian Case
The chapter is devoted to the analysis of the impact of the global academic rankings and the concept of world-class university upon the system of high education both globally and in contemporary Russia. The author analyses the use of the rankings in benchmarking and strategy planning, and demonstrates negative influence of the obsession with the rankings in some countries. The chapter considers the case of the strategy of Ural Federal University (Russia) as one of the examples of both use and abuse of the rankings in large regional Russian university. The author argues for the necessity of organizing transnational associations and consortia of the universities, especially in emerging countries (BRICS nations, for example), to resist neo-Imperial features of today's global Academia. One of the remedies the chapter proposes is to adopt the idea of plural modernities from sociology and to treat global education environment as kind of a multi-polar world. Then, the author argues, the rankings should be supplemented with qualitative comparative analysis of educational systems.
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)
The Global Academic Rankings Game provides a much-needed perspective on how countries and universities react to academic rankings. Based on a unified case methodology of eleven key countries and academic institutions, this comprehensive volume provides expert analysis on this emerging phenomenon at a time when world rankings are becoming increasingly visible and influential on the international stage. Each chapter provides an overview of government and national policies as well as an in-depth examination of the impact that rankings have played on policy, practice, and academic life in Australia, Chile, China, Germany, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United Sates. The Global Academic Rankings Game contributes to the continuing debate about the influence of rankings in higher education and is an invaluable resource for higher education scholars and administrators as they tackle rankings in their own national and institutional contexts.
The great expansion of participation in higher education in Russia in the post-Soviet period was the layered and contradictory result of both conditions established in the Soviet period, and the structuring of reforms after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1992. The Soviet government was strongly committed to the expansion of education across the country, and gender equality was achieved at that time. In the 1990s and 2000s enrolments more than doubled, though the growth of numbers has been reversed since 2008 because of demographic decline of the relevant age cohorts. Employing Trow’s analysis of the growth of higher education systems and Hirsch’s concept of positional goods, among other conceptual approaches, as well as statistical, national, and comparative survey data, this paper analyses social dynamics of the process of increasing participation and equalization of opportunity in Russia. The dramatic higher education expansion in Russia was largely associated with the positional value of higher education credentials, in a society in which the Soviet system of social status had been discontinued, and a new system of status was being built on the basis of post-Soviet rules (which are still evolving). Driven by family aspirations and resources, massification has largely rested on the part-privatisation of the costs of higher education, part of a neoliberal reform package common to the post-Soviet countries. However, higher education expansion has not brought about greater social equity. Expansion, fee-based financing and policy measures such as university excellence initiatives have tended to strengthen the institutional and social stratification of the higher education system, weakening social mobility and social equality.
This paper studies transformations in the role of higher education in Russia as represented in official Soviet and post-Soviet policy documents between the 1950s and 2013. The focus is on the categories defining the purposes and tasks of higher education in the larger context of society and economy. There is a basic dichotomy in relation to the purposes and role of higher education, between vocational training (which is seen as a determining factor in the economic development) and personal development/education (seen as a condition of social development). The balance of these two poles, economic instrumentalism and social instrumentalism, changes throughout the history. The Soviet documents emphasized the importance of both, with the predominance of the social instrumentalism. The transitional period of the late 1980s and early 1990s is characterized by increasing humanistic discourse in regard to higher education. Later post-Soviet documents, reflecting neoliberal policies, largely abandon social instrumentalism and more exclusively promote the economic role of higher education. Economic instrumentalism is the meeting point of two historical eras, with their respective ideologies and political agendas. Connecting Soviet and neoliberal discourses highlights the importance of historical legacies in regard to the economic, applied nature of higher education, and underlines the crucial role of the state, which facilitated acceptance of neoliberal agendas in Russian society. The analysis also contributes to further understanding of the nature of the neoliberal reforms globally and in post-socialist countries.
Our analysis has confirmed the existence of gender wage gap in the Russian academia: on average, male faculty members earn 16-18% more than their female colleagues. Higher Education in Russia and Beyond / №4(14) / Winter 2017 12 Similar results are valid for the comparison of hourly wages. Nevertheless, gender wage gap in the academia in Russia is below national average. Controlled for position, academic degree and work experience, men’s wage ‘premium’ over women decreases to 8%. The main reasons for the wage gap are gender differences in position and seniority, the fact that men are more likely to have an academic degree and on average have longer work experience (both total and in teaching) than women. The problem of ‘glass ceiling’ does exist at Russian HEIs: it is more difficult for women to raise higher in the academic hierarchy, though this might partially be due to self-selection
Global university rankings have become an increasingly influential tool for measuring and verifying academic excellence. Today, it is hard to find a country where higher education policy and leading universities totally ignore the issue of global competitiveness and rankings as public measures of academic quality. The persuasiveness of global rankings has challenged national perceptions about higher education development and involved governments and hundreds of universities in the so-called “ranking game” (Hazelkorn, 2014; Kehm, 2014). At the same time, we can observe different reactions by universities whose institutional strategies were imposed by the fact of being ranked. These reactions concern not only changes in external images and institutional strategies, but also internal changes of formal structures and identities (Gioia, Thomas, Clark, & Chittipeddi, 1994; Espeland & Sauder, 2007; Sauder & Espeland, 2009; Colyvas, 2012). Furthermore, the reactions differ not only between universities of high and low ranks (Hazelkorn, 2007), but also between universities embedded in different academic systems. Following Clark (1983) and Maassen (1996), it can be argued that institutional context—which consists of elements related to disciplinary culture, the academic profession, and political culture—determines the different reaction by universities to global rankings.
In this chapter, we present the case of a university that has recently entered the race for global academic excellence. Our analysis addresses two important issues. We demonstrate how an abstract idea of global rankings is translated into practice in a university embedded in a specific institutional context. We also show how coupling between academic and administrative structures is organized under the pressure of global rankings.