Russian education delegates learn from Liberty

Half-empty cups of coffee sat on a paper-strewn conference table as students answered questions from Russian educators seeking to improve their system of education.

Deans, professors and administrators from Russia visited Liberty Christian Academy and Liberty University on Thursday, April 14. Most of the group’s specializations were in economics or business. The group has been visiting colleges and high schools in Virginia with an exchange program based in Washington, D.C. One of the group members, Gleb Yarovoy, is the vice dean of research at Petrozavodsk State University.

“One of the aims of our delegation is just to look at the system of education here in the United States,” Yarovoy said. “If we are lucky enough, to bring something new to our education as well.”

The visitors had a chance to sit in on an organizational ethics course in Liberty’s School of Business. Afterwards they interacted with business students and faculty.

The group has enjoyed “attending classes, speaking to students, answering questions, asking questions,” Yarovoy said.

Dean of the school of business Bruce Bell was also excited about the opportunity for students to interact with his guests.

“It is especially gratifying to introduce our students to these Russian educators to promote international friendship and cooperation through this visit,” Bell said.

The delegation, comprised of five members, plus a facilitator, was chosen by the Open World Leadership Center.

According to the Open World Leadership Center’s website, the center was founded in 1999 by Congress. The purpose of the center is to help emerging Eurasian leaders to network with other countries, including the United States. The center carefully selects the delegates, looking for educators who wish to exchange ideas with their American counterparts. Veronika Vysokova, an associate professor of Modern History at Ural State University, said the education system in Russia is experiencing great reform.

“Because the system is well established in the United States, we wanted to see with our own eyes how it works. And some advantages and disadvantages,” Vysokova said through translator Olga Douglas.

A great difference between the two education systems still exists, according to the dean of the Department of Marketing, Innovations & Advertising at Pyatigorsk State Linguistic University Arsen Avsharov. He said Russian schools are typically more structured, and the students are held to a stricter program.

“It was really interesting for us to see how a person can get a good education in such a democratic and free and flexible environment,” Avsharov said. Avsharov has visited the United States twice before in the last 10 years. He believes America has improved. He said America has become more realistic and self-critical.

The group had a chance to discuss different aspects of college education with business students in a question and answer session. The students discussed the Christian values that led them to Liberty as well as graduate school and job prospects. The students also had the opportunity to ask questions about the education system in Russia.

Vice President of Outreach and Strategic Partnerships Dr. Barry Moore says the trip has been an annual event for 10 years.

“Liberty University, like most universities, in fact all universities, I know of today, takes pride in accentuating globalization and the understanding of the global markets,” Moore said.

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