Ivan Fedotov: The RANEPA Summer Campus raises winners
An educational forum for the best Russian and foreign students - the Summer Campus of the Presidential Academy was held in the city of Innopolis (Republic of Tatarstan) on July 16-27, for the fifth time. The project involved 220 students, including 57 foreigners from 17 countries, and the classes were held by world-class experts. Ivan Fedotov, RANEPA Vice-Rector, Director of the Association of Innovative Regions of Russia (AIRR), told about the idea of the Campus, its results and achievements.
- What are the results of participation of students in the RANEPA Summer Campus? What does this project bring?
- One of the peculiarities of the Summer Campus of the Presidential Academy in Tatarstan which distinguishes it from other summer schools is that here the intellectual growth is achieved. The participants acquire the ability to interact as a team, quickly analyze the material, communicate, negotiate, including complicated negotiations, learn to make decisions and be responsible for them. In the today's information flow, you must know where to find data. This is very important, however, it might also be difficult, considering the huge scope of information. It is impossible to know everything, but you must know the right information sources and be able to use the existing databases.
In addition, our participants have the opportunity to put questions to the experts, invited to the Campus. These are high-ranking officials, world-class teachers, heads of international corporations and many others. They answer any questions related both to a specific project and other practical situations which is also of great importance.
Ten days really alter the students' minds and comprehension so that they can realistically assess their life priorities and make them clear. Already at this age, they are thinking over what they want to achieve based on their life values, and understand what knowledge they still have to obtain to be successful in life. No matter, what university they study at and what their specialty is.
- Why do such changes with participants in the Campus occur?
- First of all, we use advanced education technologies within the campus. The Campus does not mean just lectures and seminars; first and foremost, it means work with a mentor, who helps to correctly formulate questions to teachers, to the team members, and to yourself. Tutoring is not much developed in the Russian educational system, but this really works. Mentoring is very important and must be emphasized, because it actually helps to ensure an individual learning path.
From the first day of the RANEPA Summer Campus, we have been providing students with the opportunity to select lectures, themes, and their place in the team. The participants outline by themselves, who plays a role in the team today and who is going to do this tomorrow. That is, we constantly give the opportunity to choose the direction for self-development, of course, subject to certain conditions, such as constant work on tasks and projects.
Such a system, in which the students are in within 20 hours / 10 days, makes them perceive the further education at a high school in a slightly different way, they become more exacting to their alma mater. When coming back from the Campus, they understand how to gain the maximum knowledge in an interesting and efficient way. The students’ need for high-quality education is developed, they eventually make these demand on their university chairs and departments.
- What is the composition of the tutors and experts being lectors?
- At the Summer Campus of the Presidential Academy, tutors and moderators work with students. Professors, teachers or businessmen usually serve as tutors. 10 out of 12 tutors are foreign teachers. Moderators are senior students of international master's programs, all of them are foreigners.
All lecturers are interesting; we choose them not only for their positions, but, first and foremost, for their knowledge and competences. This year, the Campus program included classes on the basics of conflict management. This direction is specific enough, and each lecturer was asked to prepare cases associated with the solution of a certain level of conflict, whether in business, psychology, management, public administration, culture or other areas.
Traditionally, we invite very interesting top-level experts. For example, this year, the speakers were: Timothy S. Mescon, the Senior Vice President of AACSB International; Michael John Page, the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the Bentley University; Davron Mukhamadiev, the Head of the Moscow Regional Representation of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies; Clyde С. Tuggle, the Senior Vice President of The Coca Cola Company, and many others. Leading conflictologists and psychologists arrived. They are really professionals, willing to share their knowledge with our participants.
- The working language of the Campus is English. What is the reason?
- This is an international project, and about a third of people attending the Campus do not speak Russian. That is why, we have set English as the working language of the Campus. Half of the teachers coming to the Campus do not speak Russian, it is easier for them to speak the international English language.
The Fifth Summer Campus anticipated a lot of independent work with information sources, with different databases, libraries, various information sites and so on. A significant amount of information and case studies are of a global level. In addition, the Russian-speaking Internet does not contain such scope of information that is available in English. That is why, it is important for the participants of the Campus to use English in their daily work.
Here, the language literacy is not critical. It is important for us that a person could get and output information in English. It really helps, the ‘A-student’ syndrome disappears, students relax and stop thinking about how to build phrases. As a result, they substantially improve their language level in ten days. Even if their language is good, but passive, it goes into an active phase, and that helps, of course.
- What is the theme of the Summer Campus 2016? Why was it chosen?
- The theme of the Summer Campus 2016 is “Territory of opportunities: Ideas. Values. Knowledge.” This is the basic direction of the project. Anyway, the values that young people acquire during our sessions are very important for us. The curriculum was designed for the tutors to address the life values of the participants of the Campus all the time.
We found absolutely empirically that the vast majority of young people (2nd and 3rd year students) coming to the Campus do not understand and can not articulate their life values, often confusing them with their dreams. It's exciting that, there is a dramatic difference between their values at the beginning of the Campus and at the end of the project.
- It turns out that this Campus is more concerned with the philosophical directions, than with the business.
- Not exactly. This year, when working on the case studies, the students have solved cases related to conflicts in various areas. They tried hand in business, government, society, history, careers, psychology, political science, culture and art. The case studies considered were focused on conflicts in various aspects and possibilities to solve these conflicts. Each of us faces various conflicts each day on multiple occasions: at work, at home, in a shop, in a traffic jam. We constantly solve conflict situations. Some of them are common for us, and we cannot even understand that this is a conflict. To learn to come out of such situations skillfully means to win, and we are raising the winners.
-What can you say about the students who got in the campus this year? How were they qualified and are they really the best?
- About 7 thousand applications were filed for the Summer Campus 2016. We selected 220 students. They had to complete multiple tasks, starting from the tests, checking the level of English proficiency. They were tested in a Skype-interview format, the students prepared a video about their motivation to participate in the Campus.
In the Republic of Tatarstan, additional group meetings were held for participants. We did not have such an opportunity, because the applications arrived from 27 regions. We cannot bring together all selected participants before the Campus, but we are actively using the telecommunications technologies to select really good guys. The conditions remained the same: a student can get in the Campus only once, for the second time, he may come only as a member of the team of organizers.
- Why was Tatarstan selected as the site for the Summer Campus of the Presidential Academy? What conditions are created there for the participants?
- The Summer Campus has two founders: RANEPA and the Government of the Republic of Tatarstan. This project was and is supported personally by Rustam Minnikhanov, the President of the Republic. The RANEPA Summer Campus as such enjoys great attention on the part of all ministries, departments, representatives of business community of Tatarstan. Meanwhile, this project has ceased to be local a long time ago, it is an international site.
The environment provided by the Republic is of unrivalled high quality and level. I doubt that they can offer greater opportunities to us somewhere else. The fact that the Campus takes place in Innopolis, a city of the future, is symbolic as well. It is the only city in the world, which is being built from scratch today. The partnership with the Republic of Tatarstan is vital for us.
Annually, within the framework of the Gaidar Forum, in RANEPA, we discuss the global tasks of each subsequent Summer Campus with the President of Tatarstan and each time we go beyond our task. For instance, this year, the task was to strengthen the international component. We have an unprecedented number of foreign participants and experts: more than 60 people from 28 countries. People from all over the world come to us and it is great.
- The educational forum has many major sponsors this year.
- The traditional partner supporting the Campus, in addition to the Republic of Tatarstan (because Tatarstan is a co-organizer), is The Coca-Cola Company, the general partner of the Summer Campus of the Presidential Academy. The Coca-Cola Company has been supporting the site since its foundation. Despite various difficult situations, when our partners reduce their budgets in the time of crisis, the Summer Campus does not fall within this reduction. It means we are doing the right thing, and it is assessed properly.
Strategic partner of the Campus is Johnson and Johnson company, a well-known healthcare manufacturer, a giant company that decided to support us again this year. ACIG Group of Companies, Tatneft and the Association of Innovative Regions of Russia are among our partners.
It is noteworthy that the management of these companies comes to the Campus and very often offers their own cases for evaluation and development to the participating teams. They communicate and exchange ideas, this is interesting for both parties. We would like to thank our partners, as this Campus is a costly affair.
- What does this event bring to the Presidential Academy?
- There are several things. The Summer Campus is about promoting our best students. We try new teaching technologies on the Campus. That is, all the most advanced things firstly take place at this Youth Forum. We get an absolutely tremendous feedback from those clever guys on their demands for modern education. Half of them study in RANEPA, in its regional branches. We consider these demands in our global curricula as well.
The participants of the Campus represent a potential talent pool, as all these guys somehow fall into the lists of the regions they came from and the federal lists. They come into focus, this is some sort of a career ladder. Then, everything depends on the students themselves, but their activity will be noticed. The fact that they took part in the Summer Campus of the Presidential Academy is already a quality mark, especially for regional HR platforms.
Besides, the participants of the Campus are potential postgraduate students for the Academy. I am familiar with various summer schools and projects to support gifted students. They are widely supported financially, successful in terms of state support, but such individual work, which we perform at the Summer Campus of the Presidential Academy with each of our students, cannot be found anywhere else in the world.