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Advancing Models of Best Practices of Academic Leadership and Management in Higher Education Institutions of Kazakhstan (2014-2016)

The Project is implemented in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education (Penn GSE). This longitudinal investigation aims to examine international models of best practices in developing university autonomy in order to adapt such best practice in the context of Kazakhstan's higher education institutions (HEIs). The goal of this Project is to assess how HEIs in the Republic of Kazakhstan are ready for institutional autonomy and identify best practice models of decentralisation in higher education.

To implement this Project, the research team has set the following objectives: 
to study management strategies employed in HEIs;
to prepare recommendations for the creation of an effective system of university management;
to identify the most important management issues that senior managers of HEIs face;
to study readiness of universities for a greater degree of institutional autonomy;
to examine the progress in reforming higher education as seen by senior managers of HEIs.

The research will involve different participant groups such as senior managers of HEIs, members of the Boards of Trustees, instructors, representatives of the Ministry of Education and Science and other stakeholders.

The research will examine experiences of managing six HEIs in Kazakhstan based on a case study approach and provide analysis of challenges and various issues related to efficiency of academic leadership pertinent to autonomy. The research findings stemming from these case studies will be of practical nature. In particular, the best practices of these HEIs can be used in training senior managers as well as in training future higher education managers. Each of the studies will include recommendations to assist leaders and administrators in the higher education system.  

In order to discuss the challenges and possible changes in the goals of granting greater autonomy to higher education institutions, we plan to organise two events that will involve senior management of HEIs and the Ministry of Education and Science. The first meeting is due to take place in Kazakhstan in September 2014. It will involve a group of higher education senior managers who will share their experience and have an opportunity to become research respondents in the initial research stage. The second meeting will take place in Kazakhstan in May 2016 as part of a large-scale conference dedicated to higher education leadership and management. 

The findings of this research have been jointly presented by the research team, which involves the NUGSE, Penn GSE and the University of Cambridge (UK), alongside other research projects focused on the higher education reform at the European Conference on Educational Research (ECER 2014) in Porto, 02-05 September, 2014. We also plan to organise round tables to allow senior managers of HEIs to share their experience in implementing innovative measures in their institutions. Notably, this forum will target senior management of HEIs and other professionals in order to assist in the examination of best practices revealed in the course of research.

Research team

Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Education: Dr. Aida Sagintayeva; Professor Murat Orunkhanov; Dr. Fatima Zhakypova; Darkhan Bilyalov; Renata Apergenova, Zhanna Jumabayeva.

University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education: Professor Matthew Hartley, Peter Eckel, Senior Fellow, Ph.D.

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