University News

Russian Ag Academy Faculty, Administrators to Visit WIU

May 3, 2006

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MACOMB, IL – Faculty from the Ryazan Agriculture Academy in Russia will visit Western Illinois University Sunday through Friday, May 7-12, in an ongoing collaboration between the academy and Western’s agriculture department.

Victor Zakharov, provost of Ryazan academy; Valeriy Romanov, head of foreign languages; and professors Elena Mashkova, Vera Konhink and Nataliya Pashkang will tour the Western campus, visit a local farm, tour the Lincoln Museum in Springfield, meet with Western administrators and faculty, travel to the University of IllinoisÂ’ Ciber Center and tour the Moline John Deere combine factory. The visiting faculty will also receive training on the operation of a small business development center and discuss future colloboration with Western, WIU agriculture professor John Carlson added.

Carlson has worked with Ryazan and other Russian agencies throughout the years and in November 2004, Western and the Ryazan institute entered into a formal exchange agreement. Carlson became involved with volunteer opportunities in Russia in 1994 and has traveled to the former Soviet Union at least one to three times a year since. He works with Russian farmers and agricultural institutions in the areas of swine and sheep production, livestock and products marketing and curriculum development.

Since the formal program was established two years ago, Western professors have traveled to Russia to present seminars and workshops, and as consultants, and Ryazan faculty have traveled to Western. In addition, several students from the academy have also attended Western during the 2004-2005 semester and the Fall 2005 semester. Along those same lines, selected faculty from Western have traveled to Ryazan for a one month experience and four Western Illinois business graduate students spent the Spring 2005 and Fall 2005 semesters at Ryazan.

In addition to exchanging academic experiences, a small business development center as established at Ryazan, with assistance from faculty and graduate students in WesternÂ’s College of Business and Technology.

“This partnership with the Ryazan Academy is a marvelous experience for our faculty and students,” Carlson said. “As globalization continues, agriculture and agri-businesses will have an increased need for individuals who are educated to operate in this new environment. By developing international partnerships, these programs provide students and faculty with a number of opportunities to engage in international activities.”

*EDITORÂ’S NOTE: Media are invited to meet with the faculty from Ryazan on Wednesday, May 10. To schedule an interview time, contact Darcie Shinberger at 309/298-1993 or

Posted By: Darcie Shinberger (
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