Press Room

Reputation of a University: the Iceberg Effect

Reputation of a University: the Iceberg Effect

Reputation of a university: how to establish, manage and convert it into the university well-being – these were the issues discussed at the workshop held on September 7-8, 2017 in Moscow. The workshop was organized by the Potanin Foundation and the National Training Foundation (NTF), and attended by more than 140 representatives of regional universities keen to master modern promotional tools.

On the first day of the workshop in the TASS Russian News Agency the latest annual rating of the Vladimir Potanin Foundation was traditionally presented and an open discussion “What Are the Components of the University Brand?” was held. The second day, hosted by the Higher School of Economics, was dedicated to up-close look at best practices. The participants were addressed by Nargisa Valamat-Zade, International and Network Program Officer form NTF, Oleg Leshukov, Head of the Higher Education Regional Studies course in the Institute of Education of the NES, and Julia Grozovskaya, Director of Communications of the Vladimir Potanin Foundation. “The Foundation programs are aimed at institutions, able to achieve critical sustainable changes, accept responsibility and move forward. This audience, no doubt, consists of leaders,” – she said.

How to find and retain partners from industries, businesses and charity foundations – the conference was opened by Julia Seliukova, independent consultant, specialist in university communications. She believes that universities have an advantage, as corporations and private foundations are willing to support them (e.g. up to 50% of the budgets of Harvard and Yale Universities are private donations). What is the “Academy of Science effect” and how to get rid of it? How to build respectful and mutually advantageous relationship with donors, what is the role of a rector, how to work with medium-size business? – the essence of the expert’s experience has proved to be a manifest of a university fundraiser.

Elena Goncharova, Head of the Enrollment Department of the Altai State University, told about active headhunting at the school level: the program of professional tests “Career Launch”, professional shifts during school holidays and “One-Day Student” program that help to bring in the most talented schoolchildren to the university.

Julia Shidlovskaya, Head o the HR department of the Saint Petersburg National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics (ITMO), one of the most fast-growing Russian universities, expressed her views on how to make a university attractive for young scientists. She said how important is to assure academic freedom, while clearly defining strategy of departments and university; how to look for and find the best staff and where to search for talented scientists.

Two stories of universities, that became growth spurts for the cities, had the strongest impression on the audience of the workshop. Valentin Pugach, Rector of the Vyatka State University, told the participants how the university became a center of attraction not only for all kinds of intellectuals, but also for all creative forces of the region. “We have set up a hub for brainwaves. We support new project teams and implementation of dozens of small and large projects in partnership with businesses, museums, libraries and community. The city woke up, and this is the feeling shared by everybody – the life became interesting. As a matter of fact, this is a reboot of the region, produced by the VyatSU”. Julia Emer,Head of the Information Policy Department of the Tomsk State University, and Director of the Higher School of Journalism, presented a creative story of the Tomsk State University. She said that the TSU is gradually becoming a “one-stop shop” for local authorities, where they come with their needs and get support. “We seek to keep the best of our young people in the city and enroll them into our university, to prevent them from going to the capitals. Ad we succeed. We work as an expert venue for researches on Siberian history and environment, we have launched the Trans-Siberian Scientific Way Center to solve innovative and scientific problems. World-renowned scientists visit us,”- she said.

At the end of the day Charo Sádaba, Dean of the School of Communication, presented a famous case of the University of Navarra: she told a story of the last 15 years of the university, which evolved from a provincial educational institution to a world-renown scientific center. She believes that reputation is a set of intangible assets with tangible results, including quality of education and research, comfort environment for students and faculty, financial sustainability, influence of the university on community life, and a dozen of other basic factors. “Reputation is like an iceberg, its visible part is public opinion, ratings, image, etc. But the underwater part, which is not visible to the public, is much bigger and more important. This is our self-identification, answers to the questions what we do and why. We will be perceived as we want to be only if the “basic” part is properly organized.”

Video of the workshop will be shortly available at the youtube channel of the Foundation.