Strategy of Development of Physical Culture of Students within Cross-Cultural Integration of Universities



I.R. Trostinskaya, associate professor, Ph.D.
St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University, St. Petersburg
V.I. Grigor'ev, professor, Dr.Hab.
St. Petersburg State University of Economics, St. Petersburg

Key words: association, support service, pre-construct, discourse, cross-cultural studies, interdepartmental integration, social strain.

Relevance. The process of integration of specialized universities in major scientific and educational consortia of the federal level has become the key stage of the reform of the domestic system of higher education of the last decade. The reform is intended to extend universities, strengthen the scientific and technical base, optimize funding for higher education.

Vladimir Putin, the President of the Russian Federation, emphasizes in his decree that the creation of such consortia is a priority of Russian state policy in the field of education and science [1], which is aimed at the improvement of educational services, allowing russian universities to compete with educational institutions in the United States, China and Japan. However, the created universities of federal significance, contrary to the expectations, failed to take leading positions in the global education market - they're not included even in the Top 500 according to Shanghai ranking. Thus, there is a need of examination of the factors influencing the dynamics of development.

Purpose of the study. The object of the research was to identify the problems arising during the integration of physical education departments on the example of established St. Petersburg State University of Economics and give proof of their solutions.

Materials and methods. In order to solve the problem we have studied web-sites, the structure of corporate culture and the parameters of efficient work of the departments. The analysis of corporate culture of the departments of physical education was conducted using the methods of cognitive psychology - the memes (from the English memory) [2]. Note that the concept of memes activates the cognitive models in respondents' memory. Those models set the logical connections merging into mental correlates and thereby forming the personal meanings of the reform. The analysis of taxonomic connections in the structure of a cluster of physical education was conducted using the “Enterprise Application Integration” technology [3].

Results and discussion. A pilot project which is now being implemented in Russia implies the creation of federal educational research universities by combining the “inefficient” sectoral universities and it is focused on western model of development. Following the Southern, Siberian and other federal universities several educational institutions were united in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The emergence of the largest university of economics in Russia  - St. Petersburg State University of Economics (hereinafter referred to as University) - consolidating 63 thousand students of all forms of education, 2,5 thousand teachers and 25 branches - today it is objective reality.

If we turn to economic statistics and the results of sociological surveys it is clear that russian universities based on the inclusion of one “integrity” into another are very different from those in America and Asia mainly because of the social component. The dilemma arises from the very beginning of association: on the one hand, efforts are being made to create social and economic attractiveness for students and teachers. On the other hand, the unique scale of the project creates a real threat of downsizing for teaching staff, a loss of its social status for the department of physical education and the stagnation of university sports' development. The scenario of “optimization” of Russian army and Russian Academy of Sciences is clearly seen in the ongoing reform. Considering the possible consequences of reforms in this vein the main question is, of course, a matter of survival, the essence of which is to avoid staff reduction.

In a first approximation, the comprehension of the problem is limited to scientific forecast of the ways of interdepartmental integration related to the resources mobilization and changes in corporate culture. But after deeper consideration - what we need is substantiation for crisis-proof scenario providing the phased mastering of management technologies and the creation of conditions for the development of physical culture and student sport. This indicates the exhaustion of a current sociocultural paradigm and the need for a crisis-proof program of the development of physical culture and student sport.

If we turn to economic statistics and the results of sociological surveys it is clear that russian universities based on the mechanical inclusion of one “integrity” into another differ from american universities first of all by the social component.  In the most of universities established in St. Petersburg there is an excess of capacity and resources and at the same time there are a lot of problems like a shortage of sports facilities,  the lack of recreational areas, the wear of sports equipment and poor quality of sports services. It is suggestive that the problems are caused by the current evolutionary combinatorics of the components - the staff, resources, funding, infrastructure and software.

While taking the idea of ​​interdepartmental integration as a resistant factor of development, the teachers rely on the improvement of the quality of educational process through the introduction into practice of high-technology methods of physical training. This is quite logical since the quality of the educational process is the basis of physical culture.

There is an outburst of social activity in the department during the discussion on the priorities of development of physical culture - teachers strive to achieve professional success and become a leader. They want to be involved in the formation of the cluster, create comfortable working environment, improve their professional competencies and achieve an increase of wages. Since there are no rigid framework, teachers have the freedom to individually regulate the relationship, they find it possible to use more radical methods of adaptation to the new structure of the university, which will allow to create a team of like-minded people who share the same values [4]. The possibility of targeting funds to update sports equipment of the department and on campus, for the resumption of sports camps and for the repair of gyms and locker rooms is considered with some skepticism.

The veterans of the department who constitute the core of the team are under severe stress from the very beginning of the reform and the mechanism of “association” for them is just a coercive way of reducing the number of specialized universities for the purpose of redistribution of financial flows and state property. The main points of criticisms against the integration are the uncertain status of duplicate departments, the separation of the teachers into trusted colleagues and strangers and the tightening of discipline which turns the informal instructions into law.

The university experiences the increasing social strain associated with the fact that teachers can't keep up their usual activity as they are out of their comfort zone and also with the lack of information about the goals and prospects of association. The dominant part of the teachers share the opinion that “the reform has unsettled their professional activity and now their values and motives require a rethink”. As we can see, the new project is focused on a strategy of advanced development with the main goal of achieving the pragmatic balance in the following system: the values of physical culture - social mobility - the quality of life - social and economic conditions and opportunities - innovation environment. It requires a concentration of the efforts of University administration on the formation of new administrative functions, the purpose of which is the accumulation of intellectual capital, the creation of patterns and the spread of information and best practices.

The new perspectives of development become a strong argument for recognizing the need of correction of interdepartmental relations, the introduction of new general rules, standards and regulations, the coordination of curricula, educational programs and joint researches on the most important areas of physical education. The interdepartmental integration on the basis of universality, informal communication and sustainable development becomes a condition for the development of physical culture at the University.

As an incentive to development we suggest the general activity which ensures the implementation of the following innovative functions:

– adaptation, associated with the dynamics of adaptation of the department to the new conditions of work;

– programming, which is focused on the continuity of traditions and the selection of organizational technologies;

– value orientation, giving new meanings and identities;

– consolidation, which unites the teachers on the basis of forms and inner motives of professional activities during the implementation of corporate objectives.

In solving these very urgent tasks the integrated department will rise to a higher level of quality and teachers' professional competencies while maintaining the sociocultural identity. The issues related to the teachers' relationship to the prospects of achieving sustainable development of the department and the formation of a new formula of professional neoconformism are taken with some irony. In many ways this explains why teachers remain skeptical to the ambitious plans of the University administration on the upcoming development.

Young teachers (under 30 years) consider important the discourse about life situations providing access to the means of social mobility, for example, the expectation of higher wages and better conditions for career advancement rather than the problems of institutionalization of the association. A parallel adaptation scenario to the new structure of the University in the next 4-5 years has become potentially attractive. The technological uncertainty of interdepartmental integration requires of the University administration the exact answers to the following questions:

– the determination of the status and functions of the department of physical education in the structure of the University;

– the qualimetric assessment of potential development of the integrated department;

– the determination of the limit risks of interdepartmental integration, its resource support and related crisis prevention activities;

– the development of a system for monitoring the effectiveness of the department;

– the socioeconomic stimuli which make the work in the department more attractive.

The implementation of these functions will allow concentrating the material, technical and intellectual resources of the University and providing a breakthrough in interdisciplinary researches.

Conclusions. According to the findings, the University has everything to solve the identified problems (when choosing the parallel adaptation scenario for 4-5 year olds). To choose this scenario the interaction of departments should be optimized by increasing the share of innovative forms and resources, their diversification combined with traditional ones for the University. The substitution occurs after adjusting the new structure and management technologies, and the process of the interdepartmental integration gains the sociocultural specificity, sustainable positive image of serving public interests. However, most teachers quite rightly believe that the cluster simply cannot be developed without resolute actions of the university administration on ensuring the adequate funding of the proposed approach. It is emphasized that close cooperation of physical education departments with the university administration, sports club, trade union units, social bodies and student self-administration should be a prerequisite of the success of the project.

If the attitude towards the interdepartmental integration remains the same and if there aren't any reforms delegating certain powers to the department in the development of physical culture at the University, the situation won't get better. This originality reveals the new role of the department with the achievement of efficiency and flexibility of management that exclude the manifestation of social strain and crisis tendencies.

The proposed solutions and growing trend can be the way for the development of physical culture at the University and they are characterized by: the permanence of development, the strong structure, the irreversibility and scale invariance. Now the solution to mentioned problems as a chain of implemented innovations and the conditions of their use is becoming clear, moving from theory to practice of the integration processes management. In any case, the proposed approach doesn't conflict with the theory of physical culture but develops it in the context of continuity of management, providing control over the individual processes when they are combined into a balanced management system. Moreover, physical culture becomes an indicator of civilization, an objective criterion for assessing the competitiveness of the University in the educational market.

The technology of interdepartmental integration should be based on the methods of business partnerships taking into account the potential of the department and its corporate culture. The latter, on the one hand, contributes to the preservation of the accumulated values ​​of the University, and on the other hand, provides renunciation of all the outdated and obsolete. It won't be an exaggeration to say that the integration of higher education institutions becomes a strategic resource for the development of physical culture and student sport and now the modernization of the system of higher education is impossible without it. The project will allow the university to take a leading position in student sports at the national and international level in the nearest future.


  1. On measures on the implementation of the state policy in the field of education and science // Decree of the President of the Russian Federation №599 May 7 2012 // Rossiyskaya gazeta: Federal issue № 5775. (In Russian)
  2. Marsden, P. Brand positioning: Meme's the Word. Marketing Intelligence & Planning, 2003. Vol. 20. Issue 5. P. 307-312.
  3. Lenchuk, E.B. Cluster approach in the strategy of innovative development of Russia / E.B. Lenchuk // Problemy prognozirovaniya. – 2010. – № 6. – P. 51. (In Russian)
  4. Grigor'ev, V.I. Corporate culture of the university department of physical education and the ways of restructuring it / V.I. Grigor'ev // The issues of physical education of students. – St. Petersburg, 2009. – P. 3–23. (In Russian)