Within a wider objective aiming to the improvement of the structures and the processes of the Higher Education institutions in Tacis Countries, the project has been focused on the improvement of the organisation and administration of TSTU, achieved by means of the development of a strategic plan and control system, by comparison and acquaintance with E.U. Universities standards and best practices, by several tangible outputs, the main one the establishment of a permanent Training Centre.
The needs of TSTU concerned its renewal and strengthening, then its capability to face an environment where competition among the H.E. insti-tutions is increasing and the quality of the provided education services is evaluated both on the basis of high quality of training work and on the successful placement of graduates.
TSTU therefore accepted – and has won – the challenge to develop managerial capacities, to reduce costs of administration and organization, to improve its performance in training services, to reassess and to redesign its structures and processes of short and long-term plan and control.
For a better management now TSTU has got the strategic plan and the control system realized also with the involvement of customers and stakeholders, which will allow TSTU to get a better position in the scenario of the country’s H.E. Institutions. The gain of more efficiency and efficacy, checked during the last project year by the introduction of specific instruments developed by the project, has been also pursued by the retraining of human resources and by updating the IT systems, both hardware and software.
The project has been developed as follows.
The starting point has been the survey and the assessment on the TSTU organisation: first, a recognition of regional policies and regulation, of TSTU decision and management structures, of delivered services, of core and support processes, human resources and procedures (considered as the framework for designing and planning); second, a comparison has been made against the E.U. benchmarks and the finding of "good practices" in TSTU; third, an assessment of organization capacity to meet customers and stakeholders needs.
On this basis, the joint team designed, reviewed, validated and implemented a reference model for the strategic planning, delivering a retraining set aimed at the improvement of the background to the involved staff.
The development of reference elements (plan, do and report, control on getting results, improve to have persistent quality) has allowed a better management of the fragmented sub processes carried out by several specialized functional areas within TSTU:
a) to define principles, policies and procedures to achieve the consistent quality of work expected by the organization;
b) to document in short handbooks and lectures notes these redesigned procedures;
c) to audit and point performance issues and to set improvement goals;
d) to create new services (with related missions, structures and processes).
The model elements has been implemented in some organization units (International relations, Students’ services, Planning & financing), involved both in pilot tests, in order to validate and improve the design, and in pilot training activities, in order to obtain a new staff way of work. To this purpose, a relevant outcome to assure the quality of the project has been the setting up of the permanent Evaluation Board which is acting on the basis of the "Quality Circles" models, according to a specific decree ordered by the Rector of TSTU.
As far as the most strategic asset of an organisation is human resources, a very important outcome has been the retraining of the University staff, starting from medium-top management. The delivery of the specialization training course in "University Management" has been the opportunity to feedback the application of planning and control system and to give acquaintance on the mission and vision of TSTU and on the new working procedures. In the perspective of continue education and to assure sustainability, the project has set up a permanent Training Centre which is ready to deliver training courses to support the implementation of Public management towards an enlarged target group interested in the design and application of planning and control processes: managers and staff members of other regional organizations (P.A., Universities, Local Government).
The delivery of the pilot training course has been one of the most relevant outputs of the overall project. It has been targeted to officers, managers and teaching staff of TSTU having managerial tasks (i.e. Deputy Deans); the hours have been performed from April till the half of October 2005, excluding August.
The course has been carried out on the basis of the following teaching methodologies: 1) Opening session aimed at the "meaning" and the plan of the course, and the opportunities for the involved staff as well. 2) Front lessons performed both by E.U. and TSTU teachers for an overall workload equal to about 110 hours, on these topics: Strategic management, Sociolo-gical studies, Financial management, Legal issues, Marketing and communi-cation, Information and Communication Technologies. 3) Seminars perfor-med by participants to the course previously involved in mobility flows in E.U., in order to represent a sort of qualified witness by staff in intermediate positions. 4) Stages (practical experience) aimed to enhance and verify the acquaintances learnt in the classroom and to improve the student’s learning process; they have been tutored by representatives of the hosting institution, Tambov Regional Administration. 5) Workshops by the joint participation of teachers and students and intended to support the learning and to clarify the participants’ understanding on the final outcomes of the training course. By this event has been possible the sharing of the final goals and the increasing of the students’ participation to the teaching process.
As the selection procedures concerns, an official individual application form has been used; the selection kept into account the specificity of the course and it has been made on the basis of objective entry requirements:
At the end of the course some student wrote a short paper; the final examinations, with specific proceedings, have been carried out in order to assign an overall judgement; the specific evaluations pointed out a remarkable feedback from the participants concerning their involvement and the professional skills acquired. Final step of the course has been the delivery to the students of the certification.
The dissemination of the project results has been achieved by different actions and events; one of this the Education Fair "University Education Career" held in last March. Main goal of the event has been strengthening contacts and establishing effective interaction between schools, university, employers, state and private enterprises, directed to the training quality improvement. The fair has been a new public event, because it has been the first one combining information about education services and university graduates employment. The background of the organization of the event has been a labour market analysis, the study of regional economy demands for university graduates, a University promotion on the regional level.
Main guests of the Fair have been first year students and high school students who: have received concrete information about university services and courses offered, studies the admission terms to the chosen speciality and got some recommendations from Faculties representatives; have got acquainted with practical study topics at enterprises and employment possibilities, had personal contacts with university teachers and employers, have been registered at the admission desk in order to receive operative information.
The Fair has seen also the participation of employers, who have received a unique opportunity to find suitable specialists, and employment institutions which found applicants for vacancies, evaluated labour market and made orders to the university.
As regards the transfer of the organisational elements, relevant has been the role performed by OSEU.
TSTU and OSEU staff discussed about a cooperation agreement on the creation of a network for university student's organizations. The milestones of this document, to be presented during the final conference, are:
- to improve interrelations and attitudes by the university stakeholders with administration, to provide transparency of the control system;
- productively to influence acceptance of administrative decisions by increasing of students’ representatives in the academic boards of universities and faculties;
- to promote actions for the employment of students;
- to strengthen democratization in management and the overall autonomy.
OSEU, by the direct involvement of the Rector Prof. Mikhail Zveryakov and of the deputy Rector at the international relations Dr. George Shubartovsky, remarked the positive results reached by TSTU during realization of the project and agreed the introduction in the OSEU management of the new practices checked at TSTU, with particular reference to decentralization of organizational structure and development of quality control tools as necessary way towards the European Union standards.
As regards the "structural" intervention of the project, the Grant supplied TSTU first of all with a large set of books and subscription of periodicals on "University management", "Management control", "EU Higher Education system", "Administrative Science" referred to EU Universities’ standards.
Afterwards specific hardware for the setting up of the Training Centre has been bought: personal computers for a local net based on the "server / clients system", multimedia devices, and peripheral devices. Besides, equipment useful to the technical facilities’ upgrade of the three Units was bought.
Therefore the main part of the budget for equipment has been allocated for the setting-up of the ITCCT Centre. The "International training and consulting centre Tempus" is a permanent unit of additional professional education of specialists and a structural subdivision of TSTU according the Rector’s order n° 137-04 0f 21 December 2004.
The Centre main goal is staff training in the field of strategic planning, meeting the requirements of university managers in new information, best practice and foreign experience. To achieve this goal the Centre carries out the following activities:
- development and fulfilment of training and education projects, internships, seminars and consulting for university administrators attracting Russian and European teachers;
- satisfaction of demand of graduates, employees, public and private companies staff in improvement of professional skills;
- interaction with other organizations and partners, involved in this field;
- improvement of the managerial and methodological training standards, also on the basis of the European Commission references, such as "ESF European Social Fund" standard and "CEDEFOP" (European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training) but in accordance with the Russian legislation;
- development and editing of methodological and teaching materials on strategic planning and management, fundraising, etc;
- consulting and training for the labour market;
- international activities according to the TSTU Statute.
Logical framework matrix of the project Outcome 1: Assessment of TSTU organisation 1.1 Survey on policies, regulation and organisation 1.2 Assessment processes 1.3 Check of TSTU indicators Outcome 2: Development of a reference model 2.1 Collection of project input requirements 2.2 Development of elements of reference model 2.3 Setup of management handbooks and IT Outcome 3: Setup of a Training Centre for TSTU staff 3.1 Identification of TSTU staff training needs 3.2 Development and delivery of pilot training course Outcome 4: Planning and control system implemented 4.1 Implementation of model elements 4.2 IT updating and Software procedures updating 4.3 Performance measuring for continuous improving 4.4 Reorganisation of the new services Outcome 5: Dissemination and Sustainability actions 5.1 Project Web site 5.2 Setup of Distance Learning 5.3 Event on TSTU’s "Careers Day" / "Placement" 5.4 Transfer of organisational elements 5.5 Final Dissemination Conference Outcome 6: Quality Control and monitoring actions Project quality review, "Quality circle" in TSTU management, Q. C. on the pilot training courses, Recognition of T.C. by R.F. Authorities, Evaluation Board.
Outcome 7: Project Management Intangible outcomes, tangible outputs and printed material - Printing of "Glossary on organization and management (terms and definitions)";
- Printing of "Check-up of TSTU organisation and survey on Russian Federation university management system";
- Printing of "Training Quality Chart at TSTU";
- Carrying out of intensive mobility flows for study visits, expertise, retraining, and coordination, useful mainly to the agreements on the sharing of the experience and on the joint workplans and to the understanding of the reciprocal socioeconomic framework;
- Establishment by Order of the Rector of the Self Evaluation Team, acting on the basis of the above-mentioned "Quality Circles" methodologies;
- Periodical meetings of the "Evaluation Team" at TSTU and making of reports;
- Improvement of three units at TSTU: International relations, Students’ services, Planning & financing;
- Layout of the Strategic Plan at TSTU; recognition by University governing boards and local Authorities;
- Handbooks on the working of the three units (International relations, Students’ services, Planning & financing);
- Setup of the ITCCT "International training and consulting centre Tempus", its recognition, both internal and external at Ministry level;
- Delivery of pilot training course (140 hours including stages, fully tutored); management of training activities according to the ESF (European Social Fund) requirements; questionnaires on participants' satisfaction;
- Setup of a website, both for the Project and for the Training Centre;
- Organization of event "Career / Placement Day" based on a preenrolment system;
- Partnership agreement with OSEU – Odessa State Economics University as other Partner Countries' Universities;
- Official recognition of the Plan by the Ministry of Education;
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