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International Focus: Development of English-Taught Programmes at HSE University – St.Petersburg

In line with its strategic focus of internationalization, HSE University has been putting together a portfolio of educational programmes. Over the last few months, dramatic changes have been implemented and the range of educational programmes has been enhanced. Deputy Director, Natalia Chicherina, comments on how the university encourages teaching in English.

Back in 2015, HSE offered just two English-taught programmes. Only 2 years later, four more programmes were added up to the list: the bachelor’s programmes  ‘Political Science and World Politics’, ‘Sociology and Social Informatics’, and  ‘International Business and Management Studies’, and the master’s programmes ‘Finance’, ‘Applied and Interdisciplinary History «Usable Pasts»’, ‘Comparative Politics of Eurasia’.

Over 2018-2019, HSE will be launching 2 more programmes that will be taught in English: ‘Business and Politics in Modern Asia’ and ‘Management and Analytics for Business’. 

This increase in the number of subject courses taught in English in 2017 and 2018 now accounts for one third of all the courses at master’s level and one fifth at bachelor’s.  
Obviously, enhancing the English environment at HSE St. Petersburg means that specific guidelines need to be in place, in order to assess and ensure the quality of the teaching. The university also has to develop monitoring procedures in order to manage students' satisfaction regarding the level of English competency, in addition to their overall perception of the teaching. According to Sergey Kadochnikov, director of HSE University - St. Petersburg, enhancing the English-learning opportunities calls for an incentive system to be introduced for teachers.  This will be done in 2018. 

Natalia Chicherina, deputy director, comments on the incentive scheme:

– Who is going to be given incentives to teach in English?

– Professors and teachers of HSE University - St. Petersburg with full-time contracts . There are exceptions, such as internal and external part-time teachers, full professors, staff members hired through international recruitment, teachers who work long-distance, teachers with 100% academic load who are working both in commercially-based programmes and non-degree programmes, and teachers and lecturers who work at Design and Law Departments at HSE University – St. Petersburg. There will be no incentives for lecturers who are native speakers or English language teachers.

– What are the conditions for incentives?

The major condition is the number of academic hours in English, compared to the total load. It should amount to no less than 20% of the total teaching load. From September 2018, we will also take into account a reference given by the Educational Activities Committee. Other factors to be considered include whether a teacher was educated abroad, as well as whether they hold a language certificate or international teaching experience, and the results of various events, such as walk-in classes and course presentations in English. Certain rules and standards regulating such references will be established before the end of February 2018

– WWill HSE St. Petersburg still hold the contest for the best English-taught course?

– We will proceed with this Contest in 2018, as it is financed in a particular way. We’ve also decided to keep it because it encourages best teaching practices and makes it possible to grant incentives for high quality and innovative teaching methods. A score given by the students themselves is also considered in deciding upon the winner. Applications with low scores given by students have, in the past, been withdrawn. The student score should be no less than 3,5. This academic year, the minimum score will be increased.