Anastasia Minina, Vice-Rector for International Affairs of ETU "LETI": About agents of influence, English-taught programs, and new forms of cooperation
Vice-Rector for International Affairs of ETU "LETI" spoke about the main achievements and prospects of the university in promoting its educational services to international students.
November 17, the international student community celebrated International Students' Day. Originally commemorating the Czech universities, which were stormed by Nazis, it is now marked as a nonpolitical celebration of the multiculturalism of international students.
Today, more than 2,000 students from 92 countries gain knowledge in the classrooms and laboratories of St. Petersburg Electrotechnical University "LETI."
In an interview for the university website, Anastasia Minina, Vice-Rector for International Affairs of ETU "LETI," spoke about the prospects of opening new programs, promoting the educational services of the university in the international arena, and developing relations with foreign partners.
– Anastasia, how can you characterize the achievements of ETU "LETI" in the field of internationalization of education?
– Today, we can confidently say that ETU "LETI" has become an international research and educational center. Currently, the share of international students is more than 20 percent of the total student community. Many graduates become agents of influence and recommend enrolling in our university to schoolchildren in their countries. We hold many different events and implement interesting projects. The university is actively involved in the federal Export of Education project, aimed at making Russian educational programs more attractive to foreign citizens, increasing the number of international students, providing opportunities for their employment, improving the conditions of their stay during their studies in Russia, the opening of research centers abroad, and more.
– What areas and forms for cooperation do you consider as priority for the university today?
– Collaborations with leading universities in Russia and the world are the top priority for us. We do not exclude ourselves from the community of universities in our country and enter into various associations, including the Association of Global Universities. Together with other universities of Project 5-100, we are actively participating in various events organized by the community at the international level. ETU "LETI" takes part in international exhibitions, conferences, and forums as part of the joint Study in Russia stands, which featured 21 participants in Project 5-100. Thus, we simultaneously promote both Russian higher education and educational programs of our university, highlighting the unique advantages of ETU "LETI."
The university fruitfully works with various foreign organizations and with the representative offices of Rossotrudnichestvo in different countries. This year we took an active part in career guidance events conducted by Rossotrudnichestvo in Tanzania, Nigeria, Lebanon, Syria, and other countries of Africa and the Middle East. This allowed a significant increase in the number of international enrollees in the 2019 admission campaign.
Since 1958, we have been actively training personnel for China's economy. During this time, 567 people received diplomas of specialists, bachelors, and masters, 30 people finished graduate school at ETU "LETI." This year we are celebrating 10 years of the joint educational program of ETU “LETI” and the Xuzhou Institute of Technology in control in technical systems and mechatronics at the Faculty of Industrial Automation and Electrical Engineering. Also, we conduct joint programs with universities in Finland, Germany, and other countries.
ETU "LETI" pays great attention to career guidance events for international students; all faculties of the university take part in their organization. Among such events are winter and summer schools, which annually attract students from all over the world to ETU "LETI." Compared to last year, the number of participants in seasonal schools doubled in 2019. We are actively developing these programs and annually open new ones. In the past year, we first organized winter schools. The launch showed great demand among international students. This format allows students to get acquainted with the advantages of the university: laboratory equipment, quality of teaching, educational process, as well as the sights of St. Petersburg and Russian culture in general.
In September this year, ETU “LETI” held the International Partners Day, in which more than 50 representatives of educational organizations from 17 countries took part. Thanks to this important event in the life of the university, we presented ourselves at the international level as leaders in our priority areas, and guests got to know the university better. Partner Day received a wide response in the international educational community. Let's hope that this will bear fruit next year, both in terms of admission and in terms of expanding our cooperation with colleagues from around the world.
– What new practices for international students can you name?
– One of the best practices, of course, is the Kudrovo school and science park. Now Russian education is organizing such educational centers in the world; five should be created this year and ten next year. Why is it important? Before a student becomes a student, he studies at a school where he needs to be convinced to choose higher education in Russia. We can do this with help pf such centers. Also, they can be used for students who are already studying at universities. This is a way of instilling Russian culture, acquaintance with Russian education and language.
Today, representatives of the university community are looking for the most suitable form of such centers to create them around the world. ETU “LETI” has a well-designed form of organizing a center, which we can distribute and replicate both in Russia and around the world. This format is suitable for both schoolchildren and students.
– How does ETU “LETI” develop English-taught master's programs?
– We are constantly working on how to present our master's programs for them to be demanded in the international market as much as possible. Today, there is the issue of the most effective promotion of programs and the attraction of international enrollees to them.
Now, we are actively enrolling in seven English-taught master's programs. Every year we increase the number of international students. This year we have strengthened their promotion both on the Internet and at exhibitions.
Master's programs at ETU "LETI" are based on the priority areas, in which the university is a leader, has the appropriate competencies, scientific and personnel potential. This year, for the first time, we recruited graduate students to study under the English-taught postgraduate program "Optical and Optoelectronic Devices and Systems."
– What English-language programs are planned to open in the future?
– Before opening a new master's or postgraduate program, we conduct an in-depth market analysis. One of the arguments in favor of opening the program is the demand for seasonal schools, which are a kind of pilot projects based on the potential available at the university.
For example, this year, we first held an international summer school Heritage Science, dedicated to science in preserving the cultural and historical heritage. Our colleagues from the Hermitage Museum and the Russian Museum participated in the organization of the school. This short-term program was in great demand, so now we are considering opening a master's program in this area.
Now ETU "LETI" is actively working in the field of educational programs for the automotive industry. This winter, we plan to hold a seasonal school, Automotive Energy, which will be taught not only by ETU "LETI" professors but also by foreign specialists.
– What task will become a priority for the university for the next 5 years?
– We pay great attention to ensuring that the university priority areas have appropriate educational programs in English and are supported by postgraduate programs. We plan to open new programs in priority areas to strengthen the university personnel potential. Undoubtedly, the university’s priority is to increase the number of international projects, attract foreign research projects with high scientometric indicators for teaching and researching key areas of the university.
And, of course, we are not going to dwell on the rather high figures that we demonstrate among Russian universities, and plan to increase the internationalization.