E. Shuklina

Ural State Federal University (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
The non-linear nature of the modern social evolution outlines the necessity of awareness of the similar processes in higher education, and facing the challenge in management decisions in that sphere. It is stated, that the Russian model of higher education, as a hierarchical and authoritarian-managed, tends to be linear and ineffective, and it doesn't meet the needs and challenges of modern reality. We need a transition towards a non-linear model which is flexible. This model is based upon the principles of democracy, is focused on keeping the diverse needs of the subjects (primarily students and teachers) and structures (universities of different types) of education, creation of conditions for their multi-vector development in each region and Russia generally.
The aim of the article is the search of the approach towards conceptualization of the non-linear model of higher education and description of the research methodology, methods, and its results. The object is the conception of non-linearity in education and methodical strategy of its study.
The key method that we used was the expert panel. It was supplemented with analysis of documents and statistics, interviews with representatives of the professional community, business, public organizations at every new stage of the investigation. One of the main tasks of the research was to reveal experts’ opinions about institutional, system, network, temporal, sociocultural resources and risks of the non-linear development of Russian higher education.
Theoretical analysis reveals some important characteristics of the non-linearity of higher education: its growing complexity, polistructural condition, paradoxical dynamics, multivectorness of change, functional ambivalence, flexibility and situationality in meeting social challenges and changes, the important role of self-organization, sensitivity to weak connections influence, openness, the high variety of alternatives and scenarios of its development.
The non-linearity phenomenon of higher education leads the process of the research methodology construction to the understanding that it should be also non-linear. So, the qualitative research methodology suited our needs, because it is flexible and open to a new data, and allows rethinking and reconstructing the logic of the research.
The research formed the basis of the non-linear resources of higher education, revealed different types of technologies and latent resources of non-linear development of higher education in Ural region, formed the institutional design of the inner and between-institutional connections in regional higher education, described higher education as a network and evaluation of its social capital. Our empirical methodology and strategy helped us to understand the essence of the non-linear shift in regional higher education in conditions of social and economic uncertainty, and to identify ways of obtaining relevant results, describing new processes and tendencies in Russian higher education development.