A delegation of six Russians visited LC Oct. 16 as part of the Open World program, sponsored locally by the Lynchburg Rotary Club, and one LC professor spent four days in Russia.
The delegation was in Lynchburg for one week, during which they spent one day each at University of Lynchburg, Randolph College, Liberty University, and Lynchburg City Schools, and a half-day each at Virginia Episcopal School and Central Virginia Community College.
While at LC, they met with faculty and administrators to discuss education in a global context and spoke at a class on European Union politics taught by Dr. Marek Payerhin, associate professor of political science.
As a result of LC’s hosting the delegation last year, Dr. Richard Burke, professor of English, was invited to teach at the University of Ivanovo, Russia, where he lectured and met with faculty, administrators, and students during the week of Oct. 8 – 11. Dr. Burke also visited a local school, and saw some of the city of 400,000 people, located 160 miles northeast of Moscow.
Besides giving English-language students a chance to talk with a native-English speaker, Dr. Burke gave seven lectures to classes in either international relations or English. The lectures dealt with subjects including nineteenth-century English fiction, America and the American novel, US attitudes towards Russia during the Cold War, and trends in curriculum and pedagogy.
“I came away with an overwhelming impression of the professionalism and dedication of students and faculty alike,” Dr. Burke said. “The students I met receive a very practical education. All of their courses are part of their majors, and as one consequence, the students have a really extensive knowledge of their fields. By their third year of study, the English students I met spoke English very well. The faculty members whom I got to know were smart, very thoughtful about what they teach and how they teach it, and remarkably well informed about the United States.”
The Open World program started in 1997 and more than 20,000 Russians, mostly young professionals, have visited the US to learn more about their American counterparts, said Olga Douglas, who was the group’s interpreter. Douglas, who now lives in Texas, made her eleventh trip to Lynchburg to serve as translator for the group.
The youngest member of the group was Danill Ivanovich Kazantev, 24, principal, Magnet School 3, Kamyshlov, Sverdlovsk Oblast. Douglas described Danill as “young but mighty.” He said that he was able to turn around his school by introducing smart board technology and other innovative changes that made his school one of the best in the region. He is currently working on an advice book for new principals and said he was interested in pursuing an EdD in leadership at LC, though first he must learn to speak English.
The other visitors included: Lyudmilla Sergeyevna Nikolayeva, 35, director of Family Placement Services, Kaluga, Kaluga Oblast; Yevgeniya Yuryevna Statina, 26, instructional coordinator, Far Eastern State Humanities University, Khabarovsk, Khabarovsk Krai; Yelizaveta Viktorovna Terelyanskya, 32, associate professor, Volgograd State Pedagogical University, Department of Social Work, Volgograd, Volgograd Oblast; and Nina Aleksanandrovna Zhivolupovia, 32, associate professor, Volgograd State Pedagogical University, Department of Social Work; Volgograd, Volgograd Oblast.
Their facilitator was Pavel Anatolyevich Bodrykh, 33, travel manager, Kimlan tour agency, TF LLC, Irkutsk, Irkutsk Oblast.