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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 11, 2007

University of Iowa Russian Program awarded major Department of Education grant

The University of Iowa Russian Program in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will receive nearly $360,000 -- one of the largest grants in its history -- to foster an educational partnership between the United States and Russia that promotes cooperative study of foreign language, business, math and science.

The two-year grant comes from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) Special Focus Competition. This FIPSE grant is the first-ever joint funding effort of the Russian Ministry of Education and the U.S. Department of Education.

The UI will partner with the University of Northern Iowa and Plekhanov Russian Academy of Economics in Moscow (PRAE) for the project, which will boost the number of U.S. professionals with specialized Russian language proficiency and develop new English-language modules for Russians studying U.S. economics, education and business. The grant will provide support to 40 project participants, including students, faculty and administrators from the UI, UNI and PRAE.

"The UI is thrilled to be one of only three U.S. universities selected to receive funding from this new Russian-U.S. FIPSE initiative," said Linda Maxson, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. "We are particularly pleased to be working in close partnership with our fellow Regents institution, UNI, in this endeavor. Each institution brings unique faculty and curricular strengths to this project, which is destined for multiple successful outcomes."

Margaret H. Mills, professor of Russian and chair of the Department of Asian and Slavic Languages and Literatures in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will serve as principal investigator for the project.

"The awarding of this grant to the UI Russian Program is the culmination of over 15 years of committed educational partnerships with top institutions in Moscow and St. Petersburg," Mills said. "We look forward to working with UNI as leading U.S. institutions preparing the next generation of Russian-speaking specialists in fields of science, math and business."

UI and UNI experts will design a 15-week series of Russian language modules, which will be used to help UI and UNI undergraduates achieve professional-level proficiency in the language. After completing the modules in their home institutions, students will travel to Plekhanov Academy in Moscow to take advanced, specialized language seminars taught by senior faculty in business, economics, risk management, and science and math education.

In October 2008 and 2009, UNI faculty will travel to Moscow to conduct two-week seminars in English on math and science education, economics, and actuarial science for Plekhanov faculty and undergraduates. In April 2009 and 2010, the UNI faculty will offer advanced, intensive two-week seminars on math, science and economics topics in Cedar Falls for Plekhanov undergraduates.

In April 2010, UI specialists in English as a Second Language (ESL) will offer a series of intensive seminars in English for six Plekhanov faculty who teach content-based courses in statistics, math, economics and business at PRAE.

The culmination of the program will take place in Iowa City in April 2010. The UI, with support from the Vaughan Institute of Risk Management and Insurance in the Tippie College of Business, will host a capstone conference with representatives from all three partner institutions. The Vaughan Institute will play a key role in facilitating seminars for the Russian faculty and students about "best practices" in the risk management and insurance industry in the United States.

"The insurance industry is still in the early stages of development in Russia," Mills said. "Our Russian partners are keenly interested in training students, managers, and university administrators about U.S. standards in the industry and the academic accreditation process. Expertise and advice will be available through the Vaughn Institute, and leading experts in the insurance industry from Des Moines will be among the conference keynote speakers."

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Margaret H. Mills, UI Russian Program, 319-335-2848,; Nicole Riehl, University News Services, 319-384-0070; Writer: Kelli Andresen