By the Mountains: HSE Perm
HSE University is famous for not only its various locations throughout Moscow, but also its regional campuses in three other major Russian cities. We are delighted to tell you about HSE’s second youngest campus in Perm, which is home to over 2,000 students (around 1,450 of them are full-time learners) and 120 teachers, while also offering 13 education programmes. Galina Volodina, Director of HSE Perm and Associate Professor of the School of Management, has been a driving force behind the campus’ development from its very inception. Here, she tells The HSE Look about HSE Perm’s degree programmes, plans for development, and its meaningful contributions to the life of the city and the surrounding region.
What’s special about HSE’s campus in Perm?
Each HSE regional campus is unique, as the various locales and cities where they reside can offer different opportunities and challenges. HSE Perm is very compact. For instance, we have only 2,000 students and just over 100 faculty members. All of our buildings are in a walking distance of one another, so this creates a family-like environment. It also can help students from other regions and countries to adapt easier to life in the city and their studies. They can easily get in contact with their study manager, academic supervisor of their programme or faculty dean if they need help with anything. Students often find themselves in a very close-knitted and nurturing environment, which can nurture their talents through studies, research, and cultural activities. According to a survey conducted by Changellenge among students and alumni of Russian universities, 84% of HSE Perm graduates are satisfied with their education and experience here.
Can you tell us more about HSE Perm? How did it all start?
In 1994, I was involved in an international project at HSE funded by the European Commission. It was focused on teaching economics in schools and universities, and thanks to this, a strong team of people from Perm were able to train other teachers at high schools and universities in the region. Our progress was monitored by project evaluators every six months, and we were declared to be a very successful project centre. At the same time, when Yaroslav Kuzminov and HSE were tasked in 1996 with reforming a network of almost non-operational professional training centers across Russia, one of these centres happened to be in Perm. And we were the team that was eager to establish and develop HSE’s presence in Perm. So, that’s how we joined the HSE family in 1997, after the Nizhniy Novgorod and St. Petersburg campuses.
We understood that HSE had great ambitions, not only to grow as a university on its own, but also to be the driver of change in the Russian higher education system, starting from re-hauling education in economics and introducing the latest research, textbooks and teaching, based on the experience and practice of our partner universities abroad.
What programmes does HSE Perm currently offer? Are there any plans to diversify the scope of study?
I would say that we have three major thematic clusters for our programmes. The first one is Business, Economics and Management. As with other HSE University campuses, programmes in Economics are our original core, and we offer a full range of study opportunities here – from undergraduate programmes to PhD studies. We started up a new programme in Business Administration in 2018 which gives undergraduate students interdisciplinary knowledge and practical skills for data-driven business development. This year, we are launching a new MA - ‘Experience Economy: Museum, Event, and Tourism Management’.
Our campus is also actively participating in the redesign of business education at HSE. This was initiated by the new Dean of the Faculty of Business and Management in Moscow, First Vice Rector Valery Katkalo. The goal is to establish a world-class business school at HSE University, supplemented by a full range of study formats and levels.
The second thematic cluster is Computer Science. We have an undergraduate programme in Software Engineering, and we plan to start a new M.Sc.: ‘Internet of Things and Cyber-Physical Systems’. Our students actively take part in international programming contests and hackathons. We are also planning to open a separate track for Applied Mathematics and Informatics.
And last but not least – Social Sciences and Humanities. We offer Bachelor’s programmes in History and Law. We are also planning to offer Linguistics (foreign languages and intercultural communication), Design (in partnership with the HSE School of Design) and Digital Humanities Master’s programmes over the next couple of years. I also believe that there are some good prospects of launching a programme in Urban Studies, as there is high demand for effective urban development solutions in the region. We have also been offering a wide range of professional programmes right from the start. And revenue from these offering counts for 50% of the campus budget.
Where do your students come from?
Naturally, the profile of our students is heavily influenced by the various geographic and economic features of the Perm region. Our city does not have many direct transport connections, and for many years, it’s been a city with restricted access for foreign citizens because of the local military industry. The majority of our undergraduate students come from Perm itself. As for graduate programmes, around 40-50% come to us from other regions in Russia, and for both levels, we maintain a high admission threshold. Thus, working with schools and school teachers so as to ensure a high quality of education is a key priority for us.
In 2001, HSE Perm established its ‘University Quarter’ – a conglomerate of 28 schools (currently numbering 47), which work closely with the university. We have created a professional development system for school teachers in different subjects – Russian language, foreign languages, mathematics, social sciences, etc., and provide online training for 350-400 teachers every year. There are also teachers’ competitions, similar to school Olympiads, which have been held for eight years already. A total of 76 Russian regions, as well as teachers from CIS countries (teaching Russian language and mathematics in Russian), took part last year.
I believe it would be fair to say that HSE has contributed greatly to the development of education in the Perm region, and a direct reflection of this can be seen in students’ results for the Unified State Exam (USE).
What other city-wide projects are the campus involved in as a ‘university open to the city’?
HSE Perm is actively involved in initiatives aimed at developing entrepreneurship, such as being involved as experts in start-up competitions and pitch sessions, as well as offering advice on policy to city council committees. For instance, we are actively involved in shaping the programme ‘Preparing the Workforce for the Digital Economy’.
Perm hosts the wide-scale International Diaghilev Festival, with many performances and events, and our professors are invited to give public talks. They also give lectures at schools and participate in Perm’s Science Battle, presenting their research in an engaging and innovative way. Students from HSE Perm are also actively involved in projects outside of the university. For instance, they hold cultural events for visitors to the Khokhlovka Ethnographic Museum, which displays wooden architecture of the 17th and 19th centuries from different parts of this region.
Are there plans to develop HSE Perm further?
In addition to our plans to start up new study programmes, we are also focusing on boosting research productivity, developing the campus layout, and launching several PhD programmes. We have several buildings that are quite close to each other and well-equipped, but we are also looking forward to opening an almost-finished new building, which will have a lot of space for co-working zones, recreation, student activities, and group projects.
We also have excellent scientific potential and would like to involve more students in research projects, as well as offer more opportunities for them to continue their academic careers, starting with the launch of several new PhD programmes. We also would like to take a greater advantage of the inter-campus research potential, so our International Laboratory of the Intangible-driven Economy is hoping to develop as a geographically distributed research centre, in order to help academics in different cities collaborate more effectively.
HSE Perm is also very eager to build deeper partnerships with top learning institutions from around the world, both in research and education. We hope to boost the total number of students and academic staff taking part in mobility programmes, and we also have plans to discuss different types of double degree programmes.
Read more about HSE Perm in the July 2019 issue of The HSE Look