Conclusions of the international conference «Lessons from Multidimensional Ranking of Russian Higher Education Institutions: from Piloting to Practice»
International conference «Lessons from Multidimensional Ranking of Russian Higher Education Institutions: from Piloting to Practice» was held in Moscow on 25-26 April. The conference brought together representatives from the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, members of Russian and international academic and expert community.
Speakers and discussants included Alexander Povalko, Deputy Minister of Education and Science of the Russian Federation; Alexander Andruschak, Head of the Department for Strategy, Analysis and Forecasting of the Ministry of Education and Science; Victor Bolotov, Vice-President of the Russian Academy of Education; Vladimir Filippov, Rector of Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia and Vice-chairman of the State Commission for Academic Degrees and Titles; Evgeny Knyazev, Director of the HSE Center for University Management; Vladimir Navodnov, Head of the National Centre for Public Accreditation and Ms. Galina Motova, Deputy Head of the National Centre for Public Accreditation.
Global ratings, national rankings and IREG Observatory representatives shared their experience and views on the role of rankings/ratings in the universities development. Key contributors included Mr. Jan Sadlak, President of IREG Observatory on Academic Rankings and Excellence; Mr. Gero Federkeil, Senior Expert of the Centre for Higher Education Development, Research Co-coordinator of the U-Multirank project, Vice-President of IREG Observatory on Academic Rankings and Excellence; Mr. Ying Cheng, the Executive Director of Center for World-Class Universities at Graduate School of Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University; Mr. Ben Sowter, Head of Division of QS Intelligence Unit; Mr. Phil Baty, Editor-at-Large of Times Higher Education; Ms. Sholpan Kalanova, Member of the IREG Executive Committee, Scientific Adviser of the Independent Kazakhstan Quality Assurance Agency for Education (IQAA); Mr. Sergiy Kurbatov, Expert of the Institute for Higher Education of Ukrainian National Academy of Pedagogical Sciences and Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, University of Uppsala, Mr. Waldemar Siwinski, President of the Perspektywy Education Foundation, IREG Vice-President; Ms. Rimma Seydakhmetova, Head of the Bologna Process and Academic Mobility Center, Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan shared their experience.
Rankings and ratings as tools for universities’ competitiveness assessment
The representatives of the Ministry of Education and Science emphasized the priority of enhancing the national higher education system competitiveness for the national economy transition to a new model of economic development. To achieve this goal the Ministry of Education and Science commits to support leading Russian universities in building up their capacity to compete with international research and educational centres. Advancement of Russian universities in global rankings may become a signal of their research and education quality for Russian and international communities.
International experts, developers of global rankings (ARWU, THE, QS) presented their rankings methodologies and noted that the number of Russian universities, featuring in various rankings, is increasing. The conference participants agreed that Russian universities should expand their publication activities and citations level to reach top positions in global rankings. Joint research projects and education programmes, increased mobility of lecturers, researchers, undergraduate and postgraduate students will contribute to achieving this goal. Experts from QS emphasized the need for the Russian universities to promote their reputation in the global education area.
The national practices of universities’ rankings were presented by the experts from Germany, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Poland. Representatives of Russian information agencies (Interfax and RIA) discussed Russian practices of universities’ ranking and visualization of the rankings’ results for a wide audience. Opportunities and constraints for evaluating the diversity of universities landscape in Europe were highlighted in the presentation of the Multidimensional University Ranking in the context of All-European Higher Education Area. The experts emphasized the role of national rankings in enhancing education quality.
Template methodology of multidimensional ranking: a foundation for a national approach to HEIs’ assessment with account of HEIs diversity
Marina Larionova, Head of International Programmes of National Training Foundation, Head of International Organisations Research Institute of Higher School of Economics presented a template methodology of multidimensional ranking developed within the project “Developing and Approbating a Template Methodology for National Ranking of Higher Education Institutions”.
Vladimir Filippov, rector of Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia, emphasized the importance of Russian universities’ participation in global rankings and vitality of a national ranking for increasing Russian higher education institutions competitiveness in the global and national higher education areas.
Vladimir Zernov, rector of the Russian New University, pointed out that the Russian education practices should be harmonized with the best international practices. He also highlighted the role of competition among universities in enhancing education quality.
Sergey Mogilnitsky, Head of the Analytic and Information Department of the National Research Tomsk Polytechnic University, and Sergey Kireev, Dean of the Department for Continuing Education of the National Research Nuclear University (MEPHI), shared the experience of the Russian universities’ participation in rankings and their role in the universities’ strategic planning. The debate focused on the Russian universities participation in the approbation of the template methodology for multidimensional ranking of Russian universities and the potential of the pilot ranking outcomes held for universities’ development strategies.
Processes of the Russian universities differentiation were conceptualized by Evgeny Knyazev, Head of the Centre for University Management of the National Research University Higher School of Economics. The speaker emphasized the priority of supporting HEIs’ diversity for development and competitiveness of the Russian higher education system.
The experts and representatives from Russian universities who have taken part in the approbation of the methodology positively assessed the experience. The discussants pointed out that the multidimensional ranking methodology is a sound basis for a national approach to universities’ assessment with due account of the national higher education system diversity.
The Russian and international experts reemphasized that rankings can steer education systems development, however it is paramount that the national education systems features and institutional diversity should be given due account in analyzing the rankings’ results. At the same time the experts stressed the need to follow the established rules and existing rankings’ practices.
The methodology future development and application were discussed. Results of the factor analysis were presented, which had been carried out to adjust the set of indicators. The findings allowed reduce the number of the indicators by six. However the conference participants expressed an opinion that future refinement of the methodology should provide for further reduction of the number of indicators on the ground of factor analysis and data collection practice (data availability).
Recommendations for the application of the template methodology of multidimensional ranking
Based on the debate in the conference a set of recommendations was adopted for application of the methodology as a tool for external assessment of higher education institutions in their diversity.
According to the Russian and international expert community the methodology for multidimensional higher education institutions ranking should be applied for:
· a comprehensive analysis and assessment of the HEIs in their diversity enabling comparison and benchmarking, and enhancing Russian higher education system competitiveness through support to planning and strategic development of the HEIs;
· identification of strengths and weaknesses of the HEIs, their comparative assessment with competitors, HEIs’ strategic development planning and increasing their competitiveness;
· constructing special rankings, for example, using the set of five “excellence indicators” to assess leading universities or 13 indicators of global rankings to increase universities’ competitiveness in the global higher education area.
The conference participants agreed that it is necessary to:
· publish the results of the pilot ranking (for example, the results of the best 20 universities);
· create systems for supporting the evaluation areas/indicators within universities;
· expand the network of experts responsible for collecting data on the indicators used in the methodology.
The conference provided an opportunity both to discuss the developed methodology for multidimensional ranking and its future application and to reflect on the prospects of the Russian higher education system development within a national and a global perspective.
Presentation of the first day of the conference on the Russian site
Presentation of the second day of the conference on the Russian site
Photos of the conference on Russian site