Recruiting for Excellence: International Hiring and Enrollment in Recent Russian Higher Education Reforms

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Higher education has increasingly become a marker of national prestige, as well as a key instrument of national development. In the past 15 years, developing and developed countries alike have engaged in a series of “excellence initiatives” to pump money into higher education institutions. China, France, Germany, and Russia have all introduced these excellence initiatives as a critical step toward “world-class” status. Higher education reform has been an ongoing project in Russia in the past ten years, as the country strived to overcome setbacks in academia following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 2009, the state invested in 40 universities as a means of creating world class research institutions across the country. Like most countries, Russia has now turned toward world university rankings as a guide to gauge its global success, which are based on a series of metrics, including publications, collaborations, and the recruitment of foreign scholars and students.
This research focuses specifically on internationalization and recruitment efforts at a funded public university, a private university, and a state technical institution, to better understand the differing motives of recruitment. Institutions included in the 5-100 Project are assisted by the government, and so have the largest incentive to recruit internationally. All the same, public institutions throughout the country are governed by nationwide monitoring, although their recruitment occurs at a much more “grassroots” level because they are not provided any special budget. By promoting internationalization across the spectrum, Russia seeks to improve its brand and reputation around the world and expand its reach to students beyond developing countries, in addition to creating a competitive economic good. However, the effect of disproportionately investing in one university over another remains an issue in how higher education reforms are structured, not only in Russia but internationally. The study also examines the impact of implementing reforms quickly on individuals who are recruited by these universities, both to study and teach.


Type of resource text
Date created June 7, 2017


Author Pardini, Victoria E.
Author Young, Patricia
Degree granting institution Stanford University, Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies
Advisor Stoner, Kathryn
Advisor Weiner, Amir


Subject international higher education
Subject higher education
Subject Russian higher education
Subject internationalization
Subject Russian universities
Subject Stanford Global Studies
Subject Center for Russian
Subject East European
Subject and Eurasian Studies
Genre Thesis

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Pardini, Victoria E. (2017). Recruiting for Excellence: International Hiring and Enrollment in Recent Russian Higher Education Reforms. Stanford Digital Repository. Available at:


Masters Theses in Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies

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