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Release: Aug. 30, 1999

UI wins $300,000 grant to form partnership with Ukrainian university

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa has won a $300,000 grant from the United States Information Agency (USIA) to support a partnership program with Taras Shevchenko National University (TSNU) of Kyiv in Ukraine. The grant period runs for three years beginning in August 1999.

At the UI, the exchange program will be directed by political science professor Vicki Hesli and administered through the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies (CREEES). Hesli has administrative experience as former director of the Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies (REEES) Program, as co-principle investigator on three National Science Foundation grants, and as current director of Graduate Studies in the department of political science at the University of Iowa.

"The goal in this partnership is to contribute to democratization, the rule of law, and educational reform in Ukraine through the introduction of new courses at Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv," Hesli explains. "Faculty from Iowa will work collaboratively with their Ukrainian counterparts in identifying and offering an analysis of the major obstacles to legal and political reform."

Professors participating in the exchange include John C. Reitz, Randall Thomas, John Carlson, Alan Widiss, and Paul Neuhauser of the College of Law; Paul Retish, Director of the UI Office of International Education; and Emmett Vaughan, Dean of the Division of Continuing Education and former Dean of the UI College of Business Administration.

UI faculty members have long-term interests in Ukraine. In April 1998 Rector Victor Skopenko TSNU visited the UI and signed a "Memorandum of Understanding" with UI President Mary Sue Coleman. Rector Skopenko's visit to the UI was arranged through and supported by the Office of International Programs under the leadership of associate provost and dean of International Programs Michael McNulty. McNulty's office was instrumental in building the framework within which the partnership emerged. While TSNU, Rector and his associate, Professor Petro Bekh, were at the UI, commitments were made by the UI to work with faculty members from Kyiv to develop new curriculum materials. In July 1998 Hesli traveled to Ukraine to complete negotiations regarding the partnership agreement and to identify the exact faculty members who would work with faculty members from the UI.

Curricular development will occur through faculty exchanges with TSNU. As the leading institution of higher education in Ukraine, TSNU trains the educators for other Ukrainian universities and it trains the most highly placed lawyers, diplomats, and public servants in the country.

UI faculty members from the Colleges of Education, Law and Liberal Arts will travel to Ukraine as part of the exchange program. Professors will assist their Ukrainian counterparts with development and enhancement of the law and government curriculum at TSNU. Some new course offerings to be developed include: corporate law, conflict law, insurance/contract law, securities law, comparative functioning of democracies, electoral systems, political parties, and the U.S. legal system. UI faculty members will also assist with outreach and educational program reform by offering a series of special seminars for university administrators on such topics as professional ethics, program administration and management, financial budgets, organizational structures, and legal codes regulating public and private education.

For more information on the grant, contact Hesli at (319) 335-2356.