NETWORK INTERACTION IN HIGHER EDUCATION OF RUSSIA: CASE OF COOPERATION BETWEEN TWO UNIVERSITIES

G. Zborovsky1, O. Vlasova2

1Ural Federal University named after the first President of Russia B.N. Yeltsin (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
2Surgut State Pedagogical University (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
Positive interaction between universities, that enhances their flexibility, openness, adaptability is of particular importance for the transformation of the linear model of Russian higher education into a non-linear. One of the features of the linear model of higher education is self-sufficiency and isolationism of the universities that deny these nonlinear characteristics. Formation of the nonlinear model of higher education implies establishment of real network cooperation of universities in different spheres. It is such type of collaboration that is carried out without pressure «from the above», based on the initiative of the educational institutions.

The subject of our study was the interaction between the Ural Federal University and the Surgut State Pedagogical University referring to the training of sociologists and specialists in the organization of youth work, and implementation of the different scientific research in the social sphere. The object of the study was two universities of the Ural macro-region.

The purpose of the study was to examine the network interaction of two universities as an element of the transformation of the linear model of higher education into a nonlinear. This aim is concretized in tasks such as identifying structure of interaction between federal and regional universities, its results and perspectives.

Methodological bases of the study included the main positions of networking theories in society and in its structures, nonlinearity of social systems, and modern development of higher education. The main methods of empirical research that have been used were depth semi-formalized expert interviews and surveys. Among our respondents were the representatives of the pedagogical and student communities as well as representatives of both universities, including rectors and vice-rectors, directors of institutes and deans of faculties, heads of departments, leading professors.

The results of the analysis enabled us to identify the main directions of cooperation between two universities. One of them was getting assistance from the leading professors of the Federal university in terms of activities conducting and writing of modern textbooks and teaching manuals. An important form of network interaction has been the creation of conditions for the academic mobility of students and lecturers of the Surgut university, preparation and presentation of doctoral and candidate thesis. Cooperative studies of actual social problems of young people, their culture, pre-professional and professional education, especially higher education dominated in the scientific work. Much attention was paid to the study of pedagogical education. The projects that were carried out by the order of the state and municipal authorities seemed to be of particular importance and were related to the study of migration and education of migrants’ children.

Results of the study indicate significant perspectives for transition from linear into a non-linear model of higher education in the macro-region via multilateral cooperation of universities.