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University of Iowa News Release


March 30, 2010

UI Russian Program to receive $75,000 federal grant for advanced language study

The University of Iowa will receive a $75,000 federal grant for 12 UI students to study intensive advanced Russian language and culture at Iowa and in Russia.

The award also provides funding to train and certify three UI instructors of Russian as Russian Ministry of Education and Science "Test of Russian as a Foreign Language" certified exam testers. They will be among the first groups of TORFL testers in the United States.

The grant is from the U.S. Department of Education through the Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad Program, which provides grants for overseas training, research and curriculum development in modern foreign languages.

Graduate and upper-level undergraduate students will be trained in Intensive Russian language and culture in 2011. They will spend at least three weeks at the UI in a May seminar and will study Russian four to five hours per day at the Plekhanov Academy of Economics in Moscow in the month of June.

The project director is Margaret H. Mills, professor of Russian and chair of the Department of Asian and Slavic Languages and Literatures in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Irina Kostina will serve as curriculum director, with Anna Kolesnikova serving as the grant assistant.

Mills said the overarching goal is to increase the number of U.S. students with advanced Russian language competence. The U.S. State Department considers Russian a critical language and the program helps to address a shortage of Russian specialists.

The project will also help UI students pass the requisite exams to enter undergraduate and graduate programs in Russian universities, and to meet the linguistic standards for work in governmental and non-governmental agencies and private companies.

For more on the Russian program, visit and

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

MEDIA CONTACT: Nicole Riehl, University News Services, 319-384-0070,