Starting from Scratch: Building a Culture of Academic Integrity and Excellence at Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan

Dr Loretta O'Donnell

Dr Loretta O’Donnell was appointed in 2013 as the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan. She also served as Interim Provost in 2016. As the Vice-Provost for Academic Affairs, Dr O’Donnell coordinates with Deans to develop international quality academic systems for educational programs. She liaises with Nazarbayev University strategic partners, including Duke, National University of Singapore and University of Wisconsin-Madison to implement the academic mission of the University and to share NU experiences with local and regional universities.

Nazarbayev University is an autonomous research university in Nur-Sultan, the capital of Kazakhstan. Founded as a result of the initiative of the first President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev in 2010, it is an English-medium institution, with an international faculty and staff (sourced from Wikipedia). The University aims to develop into a research university of international renown combining education, research and innovation. Core features of Nazarbayev University include academic freedoms and institutional autonomy, both legally enshrined, predominantly internationally recruited faculty, English as the language of instruction and research, entirely merit-based admission and progression, and integrated teaching and research starting at the undergraduate level.

Building a new university, with a focus on high standards of academic excellence and integrity similar to those found in the top universities in Europe and USA, is a developmental process within a setting that does not necessarily share western ideas about integrity and excellence. In this presentation, Prof O’Donnell will describe the initiatives at Nazarbehev University to enshrine principles of academic integrity, and how these are being developed more broadly within other tertiary institutions in Kazakhstan.