Polytech’s best: Polytechnic University won in four nominations of the “Internationalization of Higher Education” Prize
Polytechnic University breaks records: in 2018, the University won in four nominations of the “Internationalization of Higher Education” Prize, which Russian and NIS universities and schools of higher education took part in. The sponsor of the Prize is the Eastern European University Association. At present, EEUA is the frontier for inter-university cooperation. The Association keeps growing and enhancing the scale of its activities, engaging more and more international experts and professionals in the sphere of internationalization, and student recruiting. EEUA holds annual thematic International Universities Networking Conference Eurasia (IUNC) focusing on higher education. The competition results are summarized within the frame of exactly this event, and the “Internationalization of Higher Education” Prize is awarded.
The “Internationalization of Higher Education” Prize is an annual competition of Russian universities (and NIS universities and schools of higher education) in the sphere of universities’ international activities development. Universities submit projects in 10 nominations describing their unique experience and best practices in various aspects of international cooperation. A competent expert jury evaluates the projects from the viewpoint of each university’s input in the development on the national higher education, shaping the country’s reputation on the international market of educational services; it takes into account individual and group work of the project team. This year, more than 70 applications from Russian and foreign schools of higher education were submitted in different nominations. Growth of the interest in the prize is confirmed by the number of submitted applications: 70 applications in 2018 as compared to 50 ones in 2017.
For SPbPU, this was not the first experience of participation: last year, the university got the victory in the “Original Project” nomination where it presented the concept of an international campus, improvement of the international media, and creation of a common information space with the purpose of organizing a comfortable environment for foreign students with the support of useful information in two languages.
The four projects presented this year demonstrated the unique experience of project teams of the Polytechnic International Department achieved in the last years within the frame of the general concept of the internationalization strategy performed by the section of the international services under command of the SPbPU Vice Rector on International Activities D.G. ARSENYEV.
“This victory in four nominations of ten among more than 70 applications of this prestigious competition is, no doubt, a distinguished result for Polytechnic University. We have really developed ideas and innovations at SPbPU which are perceived by the international community and foreign partners at the proper level. It is very pleasant to see that each year our employees demonstrate the high level of team work in the implementation of these projects, and that these outcomes are adequately valued by competent experts,” D.G. ARSENYEV pointed out.
The team of V.D. Khizhnyak, Ye.A. Belyaevskaya, and S.Yu. Kalinkina presented a project in the “International University Reputation” nomination named “Presence in a region as a factor in the reputation formation: the experience of establishing representative offices of the University in key foreign regions.” The application described the experience of establishing a series of the Representative Offices of Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University demonstrating that it is important to take into account specific features of target regions for shaping a favorable image and reputation of the University. The SPbPU international services got the task to develop complex strategies for presence in each selected region, thus reaching the major goal of formation of a favorable image and reputation of the University, promotion of its academic reputation, enhancement of international partnership, and growth of the internationalization indexes. It was clear right away that the strategy of presence should take into consideration specific features of particular regions. For China, the strategy was based on the establishment of a full-scale Representative Office of SPbPU in Shanghai in 2016; it provides for the permanent actual participation of SPbPU employees in the event environment of not only one of the most technologically advances and science-intensive regions but of the entire People’s Republic of China. For realization of the advancement strategy in the Ibero-American countries, with consideration of the expanded geography, the key stake, on the contrary, was made on shaping the image of Polytechnic University in the Spanish-speaking information space and holding specialized events in cooperation with Spanish partners. Both strategies have been implemented quite successfully and, despite the short period of time (two years since the establishment of the SPbPU Representative Office in Shanghai and less than a year since the opening of the Information Center in Madrid), already today you can confidently talk about significant results.
In the "Recruitment of foreign students" nomination, the project team of the Department of International Education consisting of Ye.V. SATALKINA, M.I. BOCHAROVA, O.V. DOROFEEVA AND Zh.D. OTROSCHENKO submitted the project on "Internationalization of the composition of students of a technical school of higher education." The project is supported by the fact that presently, SPbPU is one of the most internationalized universities of our country, where at the time of submission more than 7200 students had been studying in various educational programs; this provided the university with a stable position among the three leading schools by the number of international students. It is important to note that the number of international students had grown by more than 4.5 times in the last 4 years. This significant increase was achieved due to the renewal of the priorities for the development of the university and the expansion of a new strategy aimed at strengthening the internationalization of the university. For the achievement of this result, enhancement of the competitiveness of the university, and progress in the educational services export, SPbPU implements a broad-scale marketing strategy. It includes online events of various formats: intensification of the official website operation, more intensive presence of SPbPU official communities in social media, placement of information and implementation of advertising campaigns at international Internet portals, holding online webinars. Besides this, the university actively participates in exhibition activities, uses PR instruments like press-releases and publications in Russian national and international mass media. Systematic work is carried out to update and develop a complex of advertising, information and exhibition polygraphy. The effectiveness of using these tools and communication channels is achieved through continuous monitoring of marketing researches. Also, DIA SPbPU is actively involved in the process of diversifying the range of educational services, development of the segment of international programs and academic mobility, including the double degree programs and the Master’s degree programs taught in English, which belong to one of the priority areas of the University’s international activities. Active work is carried out on studying the sales markets, analyzing the demand for these programs on the international market, improving the international educational products in conjunction with the institutes and departments of SPbPU, controlling the quality and implementing practices that have been recognized worldwide.
In the nomination "Involvement of foreign students in the extracurricular life of the university," the project team of the Higher School of International Educational Programs presented "The Tutor Forces Student Public Organization" project, which is supervised by the HSIEP Deputy Director on the Education P.S. NEDELKO. The purpose of the organization is to provide favorable conditions for SPbPU foreign students, as well as to improve their social and cultural adaptation to the life in Russia. The Tutor Forces were established in 2016 by initiative of the SPbPU HSIEP CEOs. The organization engages Russian and international students.
The Tutor Forces organizes and holds educational, research, patriotic, sports and recreational, cultural and educational, entertaining, creative, volunteer, business and other events, engaging in their organization and holding Russian and international students. This way is created a platform of informal contacting, while language and inter-cultural barriers are wiped out. Besides this, the tutor organization helps international students to solve various everyday life issues (check in the dormitory, purchase of tickets, connection to the Internet, etc.), organizes the airport pick-ups, and escort around the city.
Presently, the Tutor Forces embraces 60 permanent tutors. They take part at the university- and city-level events, such as the Golden Autumn International Inter-University Festival, Polytechnic Maslenitsa, Youth Festival of Peoples Friendship, etc. This way, the concept of the Tutor Forces’ activities presumes support to international students in the course of their entire studying at SPbPU and implementation of various events promoting formation of the unity of international students and their integration to the student community of the university.
In the nomination "Development of interuniversity cooperation," the project team of the Department of International Inter-university Cooperation, consisting of E.A. BelyaevskAyA and D.A. Mokhovaya presented the best practices of developing a strategic partnership with Leibniz University of Hanover (LUH). The project was based on the task of creating an essential operating mechanism that would allow systematic development of long-term partnerships. The project of strategic partnership with LUH could be considered as a unique approach; it presents a sample of system work in close cooperation between the international offices of both universities. This project got high evaluation of European experts as an example of successful practices; this allowed to attract external financing for its implementation. Project outcomes, which SPbPU and LUH will formulate in 2018, allow us to speak about impressive results of the system approach in internationalization.
SPbPU and the Leibniz University of Hanover have a very rich history of partnership, which accounts of several decades. However, until a certain time point, these were just particular lines of cooperation which had occurred sometimes spontaneously and not always provided with adequate support from the universities’ administrations. The idea to come up with a systematic mechanism was proposed by the international offices and got support from the leaders of both universities.
The project got the approval among the 20 most successful applications of the 117 submitted within the frame of the DAAD Strategic Partnership; the term for its realization was 4 years. The International Project manager of Strategic Partnership of SPbPU and LUH (project index in the DAAD system is ID-57271274) took an official start in April 2013 in Hannover Messe.
Financing of the project was to be completed in 2016. However, based on independent expert examinations and high evaluation of the achieved results, leaders of the DAAD Program assessed the ID-57271274 Project as one of the best in European practices, and it got additional financing for 2017-2018.
At the Award Ceremony which this year took place at the State University of Management, the EEUA Director and members of the Expert Commission highly evaluated all four projects submitted by SPbPU. Organizers of the Prize pointed out the purposefulness and initiative of the SPbPU international services, their team work and smart system approach to solving tasks in the sphere of internationalization of higher education and international activities, and the efficiency of the decisions made.
The experience of participation in such events is without any doubt important and valuable. Congratulations to the polytechnics with a worthy representation of the University at the "Internationalization of higher education" Prize; we wish them new achievements and new victories.