All ITMO University academic and research staff were invited to take part in the competition. Among the essential requirements were permanent employment at ITMO, three or more years of teaching experience, and upper-intermediate level of English. An organized application form with well-thought-out goals and objectives could also make a difference.   

“We are going to send ten ITMO University lecturers to University of York in April. The internship is designed to help them get familiar with the university’s educational process and refine their own programs and disciplines that they teach here at ITMO. Each lecturer will be assigned with a mentor who will coordinate their internship and provide useful advice and recommendations. The main purpose of this initiative is to form a group of like-minded professionals, who will contribute to the development of educational strategies at our university,” explained Irina Kim, the Head of ITMO’s International Cooperation Department.

Among the competition’s winners are the representatives of all ITMO’s schools, both lecturers and PhD students. Upon arrival, all participants will have to present the results of their work, as well as host a series of meetings with other ITMO University staff as part of the ITMO.EXPERT Professional Development Program.

Launched at ITMO University in April 2018, the ITMO.EXPERT program is aimed at helping teachers use digital technology in their work and make the educational process more effective. The main purpose of the project is to facilitate the use of modern educational technologies at ITMO University and thus increase the quality of education.

“ITMO.EXPERT is a platform where teachers can share their ideas about the educational process and form groups depending on their interests and preferences in order to work on joint educational projects,” commented Olga Eliseeva, the head of the Department of Educational Quality Assurance, and an ITMO.EXPERT project manager.

The trip to the UK is not the only opportunity for ITMO lecturers to upgrade their skills and competencies. Apart from that, ITMO offers its staff to take part in short- and long-term trips to the USA, the Netherlands, and Finland. Though these trips focus on different issues, they all have the same objective: to promote knowledge exchange in the field of education.

Daria Denisova, a lecturer at ITMO’s Institute of International Development and Partnership, and the Deputy Director of ITMO’s Science Communication Office

Daria Denisova
Daria Denisova

For me, this internship is an opportunity to hone my skills, broaden my horizons, establish useful connections, and even prevent professional burnout.

As for my other internship experiences, I participated in an internship for PR specialists of the Project 5-100, which took place in Washington in 2015. It was a very important experience of immersion into the US educational system. By the way, that’s where I met the ITMO University team.

Apart from that, I also partook in the ‘Next Generation of Women Leaders in Higher Education’ program, implemented by UCLA in collaboration with ITMO University in 2017. Our colleagues from the University of California helped us get a better understanding of the processes of professional development in higher education. The next stage was us welcoming American delegates here at ITMO. The internship turned out to be extremely beneficial for me in the long run: one American participant suggested that I should apply for the SURF Stanford US-Russia Forum, a year-long program for students and specialists from Russia and the USA who get to work alongside each other on research projects in the fields of politics, science, business, and others. This spring, my colleague from MIT and I are going to present the results of our project at Stanford University.

Dmitry Lukichev, an associate professor at the Faculty of Control Systems and Robotics

We all know that education is what every university is about. The world’s leading universities have undergone a massive transformation over the last few years, and Russian universities have a lot to catch up with. As a researcher and lecturer, I want to make the educational process more interesting and efficient. That’s why I decided to take part in this internship, to learn more about the global challenges in the field of education and their possible solutions.

At ITMO University, I coordinate several educational programs in the field of power systems and electrical engineering. This field today is experiencing global changes, from intellectualization of management to the Internet of Energy. Today like never before we have to keep up-to-date with the world’s biggest trends to ensure that our specialists are sought-after in the world market. I consider it my duty to attend various international conferences in the field of education, but this is going to be the first experience of immersion into the educational process in such a world-class university.

Asel Romanova, a PhD student and a lecturer at the Faculty of Software Engineering and Computer Systems

Asel Romanova
Asel Romanova

I have been taking part in professional development programs for several years now. I think that this is an essential part of being a researcher or teacher, as you always have to keep abreast ofin the latest scientific developments to be a good specialist. That’s what motivates me to participate; I see this internship as a chance to broaden my horizons, visit various workshops and seminars, and establish useful partnerships and collaborations.

Last week, I took part in the Research Connect program, hosted by ITMO Teaching Community and aimed at helping researchers improve their science communication skills. The program lasted for three days, during which we practiced writing abstracts and grant applications, and learned to communicate with international partners.

Andrey Kulikov, an associate professor at the Faculty of Laser Photonics and Optoelectronics

I regard this internship as an opportunity to establish links with international scientific and educational communities, organizations and research centers, as well as conduct joint research on the topic of modern fiber-optic instrumentation systems, optic and optoelectronic elements of light-guided photonics.

I have already taken part in many international professional development programs before, for example, the STAFF MOBILITY FOR TEACHING ERASMUS+ program hosted by the Cyprus University of Technology in 2018, and a professional development program on fiber Bragg gratings organized by the Institute of Photonic Technologies in Jena (Germany) in 2015.

Olga Tikhomirova, an associate professor at the Faculty of Technological Management and Innovations, participated in the 2018 professional development program at Oxford Brookes University, the UK

Visiting Oxford Brookes University proved especially useful as it acquainted me with new educational techniques, as well as different ways to implement them. I’ve even introduced one of these in my teaching practice, the so-called blended learning, which implies that most of the theory is delegated to students for independent study. For example, I have a book on project management, which is available in ITMO University’s library. I give my students a task of reading through a specific topic as part of their homework, so that we could discuss it in class and solve different cases. This way, there’s no need for spending the entire class on theory. In the next semester, I plan to use the method based on a combination of online and in-class learning.

Another important experience was seeing how Oxford Brookes University educators interact with their students and support them throughout the education process. I myself have always tried to foster creativity and help my students eliminate that oft-experienced fear of giving a wrong answer. I witnessed the same approach at Oxford Brookes, the one that facilitates learning and not that race for points.

In my work, I also use mind maps to search for original solutions to non-standard tasks. Associative or mental arrays help approach routine and typical tasks in an informal and creative way, for example, when working in the field of entrepreneurship and project management.

“We’re really glad to see our PhD students who have just started their teaching career among the winners. Such a diverse membership testifies to the fact that all our lecturers are ready to transform the educational process and improve the quality of education at ITMO,” commented Aliya Bagautdinova, head of the Department of Academic Affairs at ITMO University.

The contest for participation in the professional development programs at international organizations, educational institutions and companies is held for ITMO staff by the University’s Institute of International Development and Partnership together with the Department of Academic Affairs.