MA Experimental Higher Education


This program is aimed at aspiring higher education professionals who are not afraid of experimenting on the higher education system and just as importantly, on themselves – their knowledge and assumptions of what is possible and desirable in how we conceptualise and do higher education. The leading theme of this program is non-directional pedagogical improvement. We understand this as a combination of having a bold educational vision, a frank acknowledgement of constraints, and creativity in how to get around different limitations.

The program will alternate periods of in-house training led by international and internationally recognized Russian faculty specialising in various facets of higher education at the School of Advanced Studies, with periods of independent learning and field experiments elsewhere. Designed as a mixture of research-, practice-, and project-based learning, Experimental Higher Education pays equal attention to the fundamental questions of the higher education enterprise, cutting-edge theories of teaching and learning, and the messy domain of innovation management and implementation.

After four semesters, successful students will have shown that they are able to design, analyse, reflect upon, implement, and evaluate pedagogical transformation in challenging settings. The diploma, combined with a portfolio of evidence of growth over the course of this program, would give them credentials and credibility to assume responsibility for innovative developments as higher education professionals and/or to shape new lines of research on higher education.

Faculty Search

The School of Advanced Studies at the University of Tyumen is seeking up to four higher education scholars.

Established in 2017 within the University of Tyumen (Siberia, Russian Federation), the School of Advanced Studies (SAS) is recruiting one or more professors in higher education to join a core team for its new M.A. Program in Experimental Higher Education.

The School of Advanced Studies is a greenfield research and teaching institution generously supported by the Russian Academic Excellence Initiative. Currently, SAS offers a four-year, English-taught, B.A. liberal arts program with seven majors, as well as a two-year M.A. Program in Digital Cultures and Media Production. SAS employs twenty-five faculty from eleven countries.

The distinctive feature of the School of Advanced Studies is the organization of research around interdisciplinary team projects.

Beginning in 2020, SAS will incorporate a new team dedicated to improvements in higher education, which will simultaneously comprise the core faculty of the new M.A. program in Experimental Higher Education. The program aims to create a cohort of innovators capable of envisioning and implementing new pedagogies, curricular designs, and best practices. The research team will generate the theoretical and the practical base for this M.A. program by pursuing their research initiatives.

We especially encourage applicants who feel they would thrive in a stimulating, international environment promising complex pedagogical challenges and exciting research possibilities, and believe you could enable ambitious individuals to negotiate the challenges of reinventing higher education.

Expected Roles:

  • collaborative research
  • course development
  • creating a cohort of innovators: teaching, mentoring and advising

Required Qualifications:

  • a doctorate/ABD in higher education or a closely related field; exceptional candidates expecting to receive their Ph.D. before the date of employment will be considered.
  • established record of research, including peer reviewed publications
  • evidence of teaching excellence
  • organizational skills

Please note: knowledge of Russian language is not a requirement for this post.

Desired Qualifications:

  • a research program in experimentation and/or innovation in higher education, pedagogy, student affairs, or organizational change in higher education institutions
  • experience in mentoring and advising graduate students
  • membership in professional and/or scholarly associations
  • evidence of the ability to collaborate with others
  • evidence of successful grant-writing

Faculty recruitment for the School of Advanced Studies is supervised by an international search committee. Preliminary interviews will be conducted via Skype by January 15, 2020. Shortlisted candidates will have the opportunity to team up and discuss future interdisciplinary projects, which will be assessed at the project design session to be held at SA in March 2020.

Successful highly-qualified candidates will be offered a three-year renewable full-time contract at an internationally competitive salary, plus medical insurance and a research budget, commencing in August 2020. More information about the Siberian city of Tyumen can be found here. Any questions related to this opportunity should be directed to Daniel Kontowski (

Please send an updated curriculum vitae, as well as a cover letter addressing your suitability for the Program in Experimental Higher Education and the School of Advanced Studies more generally, to: One letter of reference should be sent separately. The review of applications will start immediately, and the call will cease on December, 10.

Disciplinary Landscape Forum

On June 13–15, 2020 SAS will hold its annual Disciplinary Landscape forum on the topic Dare to Experiment: Higher Education Between Safety and Danger.

Education is a risky business. We gain new experience through trying new things, essentially, through experimenting on ourselves. A learner seeks to be altered, and many things can go wrong in the process. Even tried and true educational models put one in danger. Too many risks can jeopardize learning, but the fear of risk can paralyze it completely.

Experimentation has shaped higher education as we know it. From project-based learning to seminars and the research university itself, widely accepted models and approaches have once been viewed as chancy, potentially dangerous ventures. To address the multiple controversial issues in the way universities operate today, we still need a willingness to risk. But at what cost?

The forum invites scholars and practitioners to look at the educational process from the position of experimenters:

  • What are the inherent intellectual, physiological, ethical, and other tolls of higher learning?
  • How to demarcate the border that separates generative risks from destructive risks?
  • What are the limits of progressive experimentation in higher education?

The forum will be held in English and involve teamwork and plenary discussions.  During the event, we will officially present the new Master’s program Experimental Higher Education. The Experimental Party with a surprise activity will close the event.

Expressions of interest in the form of a CV and one paragraph about a higher education experiment that you care about — real or hypothetical — no later than March 1st, 2020 to