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Project: Developing Partnerships Between Russian and U.S. Universities, Lot #1: “Dissemination of Experience in Creating New Educational Programs in the Areas of Natural Sciences and Humanities, Based on Implementation of Results of Collaborative Educational Activities by Russian Higher Education Institutions and U.S. Universities,” within the framework of the Targeted Federal Program for Education Development in 2006—2010

Both Russia and the United States possess great research and education potential. Each country has been developing this potential in its own way, consistent with its traditions, culture and unique historical path. It means that, in many fields of science and education, the two systems are complementing each other. Indeed, there exist multiple opportunities for fruitful and mutually beneficial Russian-U.S. cooperation, which could also serve as a buffer reducing political tensions between the countries.

There are some common trends in the modern system of higher education that prompt Russia and the United States to seek closer cooperation. These include the emergence of a global research and education market, a new level of scholar and expert mobility, and an explosive growth of comparative studies. Hence the pressure to further develop international research contacts and design more powerful mechanisms supporting multinational professional collaboration. In line with these changes is the movement towards mutual recognition of credits and joint degrees by leading universities of Europe and North America. The transboundary — or even global — nature of issues faced by educational and research institutions is now increasingly obvious.

However recent experience demonstrates that Russian-U.S. cooperation in the field of higher education does not fully meet the needs of Russian universities, currently under dramatic modernization, which would benefit greatly from the proven reform models that the U.S. education market has to offer.

In carrying out the project “Developing Partnerships Between Russian and U.S. Universities”, ISE Center examined the factors that have an impact on bilateral educational cooperation, including hindrances and prospects for its further expansion; proposed a variety of collaboration models for Russian and U.S. universities; analyzed some case studies and produced recommendations for making university collaboration more effective. The following tasks have been completed:

  1. Report: “RECOMMENDATIONS AND PROSPECTS FOR RUSSIAN HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS’ COOPERATION WITH  U.S. UNIVERSITIES TILL 2010”

The report includes an analytical review of U.S. technical assistance programs of 1990—2003 and provides arguments for the revision of the prevailing cooperation models, which no longer meet the needs of Russia’s higher education in the new decade. There is a demand for more complex and targeted projects, professional expertise and dynamic approaches.

The bilateral cooperation forecast covers the period from 2008 through 2010. It looks into the possible strategies U.S. universities can adopt in accessing the Russian education market, as well as alternative responses on the Russian side. The report argues for a “pro-active” position in building relations with U.S. universities and technical assistance providers in the field of higher education; it recommends transition from technical assistance typical of the 1990’s to bilateral or multilateral technical cooperation. A list of key objectives to be pursued by the Russian-U.S. education partnership in the next few years is accompanied by implementation guidelines. The model of Russian-U.S. cooperation in science and education described in the report is the one that best corresponds to the level of progress achieved by the nation’s research and education community; the model can be applied in various disciplines.

  1. Research and recommendations “ON THE ADOPTION BY RUSSIAN HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS OF EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGIES AND ORGANIZATIONAL PRINCIPLES BASED ON U.S. UNIVERSITIES’ EXPERIENCE IN TEACHING NATURAL SCIENCE AND HUMANITIES DISCIPLINES”

The study relied on findings from general surveys and expert interviews; analytical reviews by Russian and international media that focus on joint programs implementation; and analysis which covers 50-plus courses, 14 joint degree programs, and 12 textbooks related to 15 disciplines taught by Russia’s 23 state-owned universities with the application of U.S. experience in teaching natural sciences and humanities.

In order to address the problematics of applying in Russia the educational technologies and training arrangements based on U.S. experience in teaching natural sciences and humanities, and to develop guidelines for optimization and enhancement of both existing and future bilateral programs, the authors identified three “methodology blocks” that enable analysis, systematization and typologization of U.S. educational experience at the national, institutional and program levels.

The study places the problems of Russia’s higher education institutions within the context of U.S. experience, and recommends further action to modernize the national system of higher education.

The document includes other recommendations concerning the adoption of U.S. university sponsorship arrangements; practical application of Public-Private Partnerships; development of horizontal links between the professional community of scholars and public review institutions; organizational aspects of student training; alumni networking; and university management.

  1. CATALOG OF EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM SYNOPSES, COURSES AND TRAINING MATERIALS THAT USE THE EXPERIENCE IN TEACHING NATURAL SCIENCES, SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES AT U.S. UNIVERSITIES

The catalog includes more than 50 courses, 14 joint degree programs, and 12 textbooks covering 15 disciplines taught by Russia’s 23 state-owned universities. The content is compiled entirely from public sources, such as databases of the Ministry of Education and Science and university websites.

Program synopses were written jointly by ISE Center staff and external consultants.

As became obvious in the course of project implementation, efforts should be made to better coordinate Russian-U.S. education cooperation at the level of governments and institutions, as well as individual program and projects. Further studies are needed covering various aspects of U.S. experience and best practices in the field of higher education.

Project results will be presented to Russian and U.S. academic community at the seminar scheduled for September, 2008.


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