Institute of Education

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HSE and Berkeley to Conduct Joint Research

The HSE Institute of Education and the University of California – Berkeley (USA) have signed a memorandum to jointly administer an international Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) Consortium until 2020. The memorandum calls for the two universities to implement a major four-year project on higher education studies involving over 30 universities from various countries.
The Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) consortium was founded in 2011 on the basis of a national U.S. university consortium with the same name. The Consortium studies students from the world’s leading universities.

Nevertheless, the Consortium is not limited to discussing the results of its research. Consortium member universities from the U.S., China, Brazil, South Africa, Japan, Russia and Europe analyze these results and use them to improve their educational environment and, accordingly, the quality of education. For example, SERU data were used by Japan’s Osaka University to reform curricula and retrain lecturers. Hunan University in China developed special programmes to improve students’ soft skills and involve them in research. Berkeley and some of the other campuses at the University of California modified their admissions criteria and are now discussing whether the results of standardized tests should be taken into account.

HSE has participated in the consortium since 2012. Since July 2014, Igor Chirikov, leading research fellow at the HSE Institute of Education, has served as the Consortium’s executive director. Data from international comparative studies received by the Consortium are actively discussed in Russia, for example, at HSE Institute of Education seminars or during public lectures by HSE Rector Yaroslav Kuzminov. In particular, these data show that students in Russia do not learn intensively enough and that universities’ educational environment is too tolerant of dishonest behaviour. Certain measures have been suggested to overcome these and other deficiencies.

Such studies will continue for the next four years, but now the Higher School of Economics is not simply an object of research, but also a partner of the Center for Studies in Higher Education at the University of California – Berkeley (CSHE) on developing the international component of the project. Both universities plan to assign funds for this work, and HSE will receive additional funding from Berkeley.

‘The Institute of Education and HSE Centre of Institutional Research team will be responsible for preparing the tools, general coordination of student surveys in the consortium universities, as well as analysis and comparative research’, said Igor Chirikov. ‘Such a partnership will certainly contribute to HSE’s recognition internationally and its reputation in higher education studies’.