A Professional Standard is Being Developed for Heads of Universities

29 november 2017

The Analytical Center has held an expert meeting on improving the organizational and qualification mechanisms ensuring performance of the heads of universities. The introduction of professional standards, initiated in Russia in 2013, is gradually making the recommendation a mandatory norm. "The professional standard for heads of universities is a necessity and it must be implemented in both the public and private sectors," Analytical Center expert Inna Karakchieva said as she opened the event. "At the same time, its improvement must not be revolutionary but rather evolutionary in order to move smoothly into a system of competent management."

"At the moment all universities have the same generalized organizational structure established by law in which the president acts as the chief executive officer that is assisted by collegiate bodies (the Councils), " said the chief research of the Center for Economics of Continuous Education of the Russian Presidential Academy of the National Economy and Public Administration Sergei Belyakov. "A study of state educational institutions has found that they are managed using the linear-functional model in which the president assigns all authority and responsibilities and which seems to be the best fit for this segment."

The deputy head of the Center for Economics of Continuous Education of the Russian Presidential Academy of the National Economy and Public Administration Elena Polushkina talked about the modern challenges that must be taken into account when developing the new standard. These include, among others, aging of the staff, lack of intangible assets management skills, lack of skills and staff for looking for investors and others. According to her, a management team must be established comprising the president and vice-president because one person can hardly tackle the kind of gargantuan tasks faced by universities and in addition professional staff should be brought on board for a comprehensive assessment of the performance of the university and opportunities for its development from the point of view of how attractive it can be made for potential investors. "In the end we need to revise, reorganize and optimize our universities," Ms. Polushkina summed up.

"The draft of professional standard did not run into too much opposition from university staff, everyone expressed wishes for its improvement," said the Head of the Center for Management Competencies of the North-Western Management Institute of the Russian Presidential Academy of the National Economy and Public Administration Alexander Fedotov, speaking about the results of project trial.

"Assessing the performance of a university's head is equivalent to assessing the performance of the university as a whole," noted the head of the National Center for Professional and Public Accreditation in Yoshkar-Ola Vladimir Nagodnov. According to him, of the two mechanisms that the state uses for assessment, the mechanism of efficiency monitoring and the mechanism of monitoring and supervision activities, the first is more effective as the latter has punitive focus. The Center used the McKenzie method which divides universities into 10 leagues on the basis of efficiency. According to the indicators used in this method, universities that are in the top seven leagues are efficient to varying degrees while those in the bottom three leagues are inefficient to varying degrees. Mr. Navordnov noted that since 2013 the Sechenov Medical Institute, the Saint Petersburg Medical Institute, the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute and the Mining Institute had been in the first league at various times. The Gubkin Gas and Oil Institute has been in the first league three times and this year it is the only Russian university in that league. Moscow State University is in the third league. Mr. Navodnov also noted that in the past five years the number of universities that had been lagging behind had fallen significantly.

At the end of the meeting Ms. Karakchieva promised that the Analytical Center would hold another large meeting to discuss this issue.