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A 10-member delegation from one of Russia’s premier research institutions visited the University of Iowa this week to gather ideas to help improve its growing university.
The visitors, hosted primarily by the UI College of Education’s Connie Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development, came from the National University of Science and Technology (known as MISiS) in Moscow.
Visiting Russian university officials meet with University of Iowa BioVentures staff to learn about the facility, which provides office and lab space for life science companies at the UI Research Park. Photo by Brian Douglas.
Margaret Mills, a UI professor of Russian Language and Linguistics in the College of Liberal Arts and Scienceswho has interacted extensively with the group during its time on campus, calls its institution “The MIT of Russia.”
“They’re building a new Silicon Valley,” she says. “These are the best and brightest—Russia’s future. We’re thrilled they are here for a week.”
The group of Russian university administrators and faculty members arrived Monday, April 22 and leave today, Friday, April 26. During their stay, they saw a broad picture of life at a top research university.
The group met with several UI leaders including President Sally Mason, Executive Vice President and Provost P. Barry Butler, Senior Vice President and Treasurer Doug True, and Daniel Reed, vice president for research and economic development.
Sergey Sychev, a senior engineer and member of the Russian delegation, says the group wanted to take a deep, detailed look at the UI model for operations and success across many areas.
“Our main goal when we return is to make suggestions for improving the education process at the university as a whole,” Sychev says.
Featured topics during the visit were finances, research, community engagement, student scholarships, athletics, and accreditation. The group was even able to experience a UI dining hall and tour a student residence hall room.
Sychev says some of the concepts the group saw at the UI and hopes to implement in Russia include a paperless information system, intellectual property protection and commercialization of innovative technology, creating and developing business incubators, and comprehensive support of research projects.
Vladimir Cheverkin, a senior research scientist at MISiS, says his group was impressed with student motivation in academics as well as in diverse extracurricular activities.
"The university has a unique identity, a very special student culture," Cheverkin says.
This is the fourth MISiS group to visit the UI in two years.
“It has been a very exciting and productive program,” says Nicholas Colangelo, interim dean of the College of Education.