Aray Saniyazova, Ph.D.


Aray Saniyazova is a senior manager at the Office of President of Nazarbayev University (NU). She holds a Master’s degree in education from Vanderbilt University (2011), and PhD in education from NU (2017). Her research interests focus on contemporary issues of higher education: transition from high school to university; student experience and college climate; gender issues in education; institutional development of newly established universities. She was involved in the collaborative research project of the NU Graduate School of Education and the University of Cambridge’s Faculty of Education The Improvement of the Secondary Education Curriculum of Kazakhstan in the Context of Modern Reforms (2014-2016). She is a co-author of the chapter on NU in the book “Accelerated Universities: Ideas and Money Combine to Build Academic Excellence” (Editors: Philip Altbach, Liz Reisberg, Jamil Salmi and Isak Froumin) (2018) that introduces the genesis of NU, a university established from scratch in 2010, the preparation period and institutional development. She served as a member of the working group on NU Strategy for 2030 (2018). At the UC Berkeley Aray is actively involved in the activities of Visiting Scholar and Postdoc Affairs (VSPA) ( She serves as a board member of the Humanities and Social Science Association (