Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Opportunities for faculty to influence academic matters at Kazakh National University and Eurasian National University
by Sarinzhipov, Aslan, Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2013, 151; 3592375
Abstract (Summary)

Kazakhstan's higher education system is based on the Soviet governance structure, limited academic freedom and no autonomy from the state. In such a system faculties are contract employees delivering predesigned courses with no incentive to bring new ideas and methods. But employers and the general public are concerned with the mismatch between market demand and curricula of universities. Qualitative research based on two case studies collected evidence on the opportunities for faculty to influence academic affairs of the two most prominent research universities in Kazakhstan. The study gave a detailed picture of state controls, hierarchical structures and limited role of faculty at the higher education institutions under investigation. The national universities of Kazakhstan were also compared with the University of West Florida, a public research university of similar size which is based on academic freedom, shared governance and faculty authority over academic matters. Conceptual framework for the analysis is based on the theory that university governance differs from other organizations in its involvement of faculty in decision making on academic affairs. The power is shared with faculty because of their recognized knowledge and authority in teaching and research in their particular professional fields.

The study identified that the national universities in Kazakhstan are established regulated and run like government organizations with a hierarchical structure. The existing centralized and stricter controlled environment results in frustrated and demotivated faculty who are not able to produce good quality teaching and research. Universities are required to produce similar academic programs and courses and offer a limited number of majors approved by the inter-ministerial committee. Structures of degree programs are set according to State Standards and contain certain share of mandatory courses which are provided by the Ministry. The universities are managed by the rectors who have wide powers especially in hiring and promotion of faculty as well as on other academic matters.

The research identified a number of shortcomings and mismatches with international theory and international best practice. If national universities are to develop they have to be allowed to compete and have freedom to innovate. The national universities need the governing boards to be introduced. Increasing faculty participation will be central to promoting key values of higher education such as academic freedom, autonomy and transparency. Empowering faculty will contribute to their greater responsibility and engagement in developing higher education institutions and their core functions of teaching, research and community service.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Armacost, Mary-Linda
Commitee: Cormier, Patricia, Zemsky, Robert
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Higher Education Administration
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 74/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Higher Education Administration
Keywords: Eurasian National University, Faculty, Governance, Higher education, Kazakh National University, Kazakhstan, Reform, University
Publication Number: 3592375
ISBN: 9781303333897
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