Annual BSRUN Forum 2019

Baltic Sea Region University Network in cooperation with Saint Petersburg State University of Economics (UNECON) held BSRUN Annual Forum on 17 October 2019.

Traditionally Annual Forum raises actual problems of the BSR higher education: the importance of the universities as bridges between East and West, international academic mobility, university branding and rebranding, university strategy in the processes of merges and reforms. The Forum 2019 discussed international university rankings and their influence on the global trends in the higher education. Special attention was paid to methodology and assessment criterias in different ranking systems, to the tools of ranking results comparison, to the emergence of new generation of regional and national features in the university activities. The keynote speakers represented leading international and regional ranking agencies. More than 70 participants from six countries (Belarus, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Poland and Russia) attended the Forum and took part in the vivid discussions.

The Forum was opened by welcome addresses by Dmitry Vasilenko, Vice-Rector for International Relations, UNECON and Kari Hyppönen, President, BSRUN.

Plenary Session “Global and National University Rankings” was opened by the presentation of Tia Loukkola, Director for the Institutional Development Unit, European University Association. Then the features of QS ranking system, including assessment indicators of the university activity, were described by Zoya Zaitseva, Regional Director, QS World University Rankings. Lachyn Italmazova, Brand Manager, THE World University Rankings demonstrated the process of collecting and analyzing quantitative and qualitative indicators. Methods and tools of National university ranking formation was presented by Alexey Chaplygin, Head of Research Group, Interfax National University Rankings.

The Strategic session “The Impact of Rankings on a University Performance” was divided into two parts and was organised in a form of panel discussion of rectors and vice-rectors from BSR universities: Mait Klaassen (Estonian University of Life Sciences), Marcis Auzins (University of Latvia), Maciej Duszczyk (University of Warsaw), Aune Valk (University of Tartu), Viktor Tupik (Saint Petersburg Electrotechnical University “LETI”). Moderators and participants were actively debating to answer the question: whether the orientation towards the best universities in the world may really help to improve the quality of education, to attract foreign students, etc. Irina Arzhanova, Executive Director of the National Training Foundation, expressed the opinion that university’s participation in the rankings encourages the institutions to become more public, recognizable in the global professional community, while use of a clear and at least temporarily stable ranking methodology shows the direction for further development.