Column: RCC partners with Ukraine school

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 11, 2002

Riverland Community College is in the process of developing a new sister-institution relationship with Kherson State Technical University (KSTU) in the Ukraine. We look forward to hosting a three-person delegation from KSTU beginning Sept. 20.

Riverland Community College’s Global Education Committee had been exploring various opportunities to establish such a relationship with a higher-education institution in a foreign country when we connected with Austin resident Dr. Harry Stevens. Harry had served a term with the Peace Corps teaching business courses at KSTU from February 1999 through April 2001. With his help, we were able to establish a communication link with the university that has led to this visit.

The delegation in September will include Dr. Victor Kryuchkovskyy, vice president of Kherson College and dean of foreign economic relations; Dr. Frants Rohalskyy, vice president of scientific and methodic activities; and Professor Natalya Smirnova, an English instructor for the department of foreign economic relations.

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During the delegation’s visit we hope to:

1. Establish future exchanges between the colleges including faculty and staff exchanges, long-distance learning opportunities and credit-based student exchanges,

2. Become better informed about each others’ culture and traditions, and

3. Build interpersonal relationships and enhanced communications.

We are planning numerous activities for their visit, including receptions with local community leaders and officials, interaction with local business and industry and extensive contact with our faculty and staff.

We also hope to provide an entertaining experience for our guests. Recently, we sent the group a survey to complete intended to help us construct an &uot;American&uot; experience for their visit. Aside from the meetings, tours and other official business, we plan on exposing them to recreational activities like sports, shopping, nature excursions and fun.

The Global Education Committee will also work to prepare our employees for the upcoming visit. Pre-visit activities will include a geographical, historical and cultural orientation for our staff to help familiarize them with who our guests are, where they come from and what their needs may be. The main language the delegation speaks is Russian. We will use interpreters while they are here.

The Global Education, which is comprised of faculty and staff members, have constructed their mission and vision statements upon the college mission and vision statements.

Mission: Riverland Community College provides a wide-range of student-centered educational opportunities to enhance personal growth and community vitality, and to develop global perspectives through curricular and co-curricular activities, exchanges and partnerships.

Vision: Riverland Community College will be central to its communities as the recognized leader for lifelong learning by fostering global understanding.

Initiating this visit and fostering a relationship with our peers from across the globe helps the committee make significant progress in achieving their goals. It also benefits all Riverland employees, students and the communities we serve by bridging the gap of miles and the gap of misunderstanding and ignorance that can separate us. As I have said in the past, we hope to plant the seeds of understanding and appreciation to help us celebrate the unique diversity of humankind. Look for more information as the trip gets closer to see how you can help us welcome our colleagues from the Ukraine.

Dr. Gary Rhodes is president of Riverland Community College, which has campuses in Albert Lea, Austin and Owatonna.