Lifelong learning at ETU in the context of world academic news
An article by Nikolay Tokarev, Director of Institute of Continuing Education, was included in the Higher Education in Russia and Beyond informational journal, an appendix to the International Higher Education journal published by Boston College Center of International Higher Education (USA).
Lifelong learning is not only the concept that entitles a human being to learn throughout his or her whole life, it is a tradition of passing knowledge and experience between generations. International readers will be able to find out how this concept is being implemented at ETU “LETI” in the new issue of Higher Education in Russia and Beyond.
The ETU Institute of Continuing Education is also interested in the modern trends in academic research in addition to its main specialization which is the implementation of supplementary advanced training programs. This major aspect of its activity enables the institute to retain its understanding of the education programs that are the most up-to-date on a global scale, as well as to implement the acquired data in order to update its own courses. One more important aspect is maintaining professional contacts with key partners both in Russia and abroad. This is achieved by making reports at big conferences and publishing articles in international journals.
The latest issue of this quarterly journal is dedicated to academic inbreeding defined as the practice of universities hiring their own graduates as faculty. The issue depicts practices of specific universities as well as articles that get into the phenomenon at large. The issue has been portrayed in a negative way by various publications for a long time, however a growing number of researchers are changing their approach to the issue which is demonstrated by the review texts published in this issue. The cases of National Research Tomsk State University, ITMO University, Samara University, National Research University Higher School of Economics, as well as Central European University are examined.
In his article entitled “Russian Universities: Internal Recruitment Without Inbreeding” Nikolay Tokarev, Director of Institute of Continuing Education, is describing the case of ETU “LETI” with regard to the phenomenon at large. ETU “LETI” is a university with the tradition of preserving continuity when developing scientific schools, as well as the tendency of the professor body to participate in organization management.
“Participatory decision-making remains possible by virtue of several factors: a) LETI is development-minded (the number of teaching staff, researchers and students has not changed much over the past few years); b) LETI stays small (it has avoided both mergers with larger Saint-Petersburg-based universities and franchising—the two signs of massification in academia); c) in terms of internal social policy, LETI perceives its corporate culture as a ‘professorial’ culture. But here is the key thing: despite all changes in the sphere of higher education LETI faculty did not agree to delegate all managerial decisions to ‘pure administrators.’ That is why there have been no top-bottom attempts to introduce the principles of shared governance: share governance is already installed as an intrinsic feature of university life. It would not be an overstatement to say that LETI would suffer a lot from an attempt to combat inbreeding because this is a kind of habitus that takes long to develop.”
It is worth mentioning that the authors’ team of this issue was largely comprised of permanent participants of such conferences as “University Staff Personnel Policy” and “HR-trend”. Both of these events gather higher education specialists in Moscow and Tomsk year after year. The attendants are mostly oriented towards tackling most recent challenges of contemporary Russian academic life.
This year, at the “University Staff Personnel Policy” conference, Nikolay Tokarev and Aleksey Pleshkov, Deputy Director of Poletayev Institute for Theoretical and Historical Studies in the Humanities, acted as supervisors of the section entitled “Value of the academic world and university organizational culture in the context of newly-emerging transparency” that delved into a number of problems regarding the fact that it is impossible for a university to exist in a vacuum when it comes to a number of domains such as academic ethics, political bias or lack thereof, expert work, etc.
Nikolay Tokarev was invited to the HR-trend 2018 conference as an expert and a key speaker. The event went according to the agenda that implied that new change management principles should be developed based on the development of university human resources. The organizers see their mission in the following: “Put in place the right concentration of people and ideas necessary for generating a new understanding of an organization, its culture, its rules and regulations, its challenges and perspectives which will eventually lead to new projects and horizons.”
The Institute of Continuing Education will continue its research and training activity in the new year of 2019. It is planned to publish articles in international journals, the invitations to major conferences have already been received as well. Moreover, the institute will provide students and staff members of the university will new programs of professional development and self improvement that are up to par with best modern practices.