Academic profession in a comparative perspective: 1992-2012

Elizaveta Sivak, Maria Yudkevich

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Over the past two decades, the higher education sector in Russia has undergone profound institutional changes that have especially affected the academic profession. This paper studies the dynamics of key characteristics of the academic profession in Russia. We use data on Russian university faculty from two large-scale comparative studies of the academic profession (the «International Academic Profession», a study carried out by the Carnegie Center in 1992 in 14 countries, including Russia [Altbach, 1996], and the «Changing Academic Profession», a study implemented in 2007, with 19 participating countries, including Russia, in 2012 [Teichler et al., 2013]) to look at how faculty attitudes on aspects of academic life changed over 20 years (1992-2012): for instance faculty views on reasons for leaving or staying at the university, on university management and on the faculty's role in decision making. We also use the international dataset from the «Changing Academic Profession» to compare Russian faculty to those in other countries. The article provides an analysis of teaching/research preferences, views on the personal strain associated with work, and academic career perspectives for Russian universities (1992 and 2012) in comparison with those of other countries. One of the main conclusions is that the high degree of overall centralization of governance in Russian universities has barely changed in 20 years. This undermines talk of universities' shift towards academic self-governance. The basic attitudes of university faculties are in many ways the same over twenty years, although perception of the mission of higher education has changed. Previously the mission was to prepare students for a successful professional career, now the priority is seen in strengthening the country's position at the international level. One can hardly argue, however, that universities are in a position to implement this new mission.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-47
Number of pages10
JournalForesight Russia
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Academic contracts
  • Academic profession
  • Higher education
  • Research and teaching nexus
  • Research universities
  • University governance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Business, Management and Accounting


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