Ukrainian Faculty Visit Southeast, Strengthen Ties to Globalize Classrooms

Ukrainians2.JPGTwo Ukrainian faculty members from Vinnytsia State Pedagogical University have been on campus at Southeast Missouri State University this week in efforts to strengthen their ties with Southeast and globalize their classrooms.

The two visitors, Svitlana Kuzmina, senior lecturer in the Department of Foreign Languages, and Dr. Tamara Yamchynska, dean of foreign languages, both with Vinnytsia State, are here to “reinvigorate their relationships and collaborations and to check on their students,” said Kevin Timlin, executive director of Southeast’s International Education and Services.

Timlin says International Education and Services is working to deepen relationships with international partners to create mutually beneficial collaborations.

“We have historic ties with them and joint degree programs,” he said. “We are thrilled to have them here on campus.

Kuzmina is rekindling relationships she established at Southeast when she served as a Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence in the College of Education’s Department of Middle and Secondary Education in 2009-2010.Yamchynska also previously visited Southeast in 2010 with a group of Ukrainian students.

Timlin said the timing of the Ukrainians’ visit is key as he, Southeast President Carlos Vargas and Southeast Provost Karl Kunkel are all relatively new to the campus.

“We are thrilled to see where it can take us with new eyes and opportunities,” he said.

This week, Kuzmina and Yamchynska have checked in on four students from Vinnytsia State Pedagogical University who are currently enrolled at Southeast in the Master of Arts in TESOL and attended a graduate level TESOL class. They also visited a Vinnytsia State graduate currently teaching in Southeast’s Intensive English Program.

In addition to calling on their students and alumni, the two Ukrainian faculty members have met with faculty in the Department of Middle and Secondary Education in Southeast’s College of Education. Many of them have played critical roles in the online delivery of a web-blended course titled “Teacher Candidates’ Preparation in U.S. Universities” to students at Vinnytsia State. The course is part of Vinnytsia’s

Ukrainian gifts

From left are Svitlana Kuzmina and Dr. Tamara Yamchynska, both with Vinnytsia State Pedagogical University, and Dr. Carlos Vargas, president of Southeast Missouri State University.

web-blended education teacher training efforts with American universities.

As part of that course, several Southeast faculty members have delivered guest lectures in real time via Skype to education students in Ukraine, including Dr. David Powell, associate professor of middle and secondary education, on language training strategies in the United States; Floyd Lockhart, Learning Management System administrator, Office of Instructional Technology, along with Gelanie Lockhart, Japanese instructor, on educational technology and flattening the classroom; Dr. William Bratberg, associate professor of middle and secondary education; Dr. Irina Ustinova, professor of English, on TESOL methodologies; Dr. Margaret Noe, professor of educational leadership and counseling, on leadership; Dr. Alberta Sautter, professor of middle and secondary education, and Robin Smith, instructor of middle and secondary education, on classroom management; Dr. Lori Mueller; instructor of management information systems; Mary Harriet Talbut, senior instructional designer, on instructional design; and Brandy Hepler, director of field and clinical experiences. Also participating is Dr. Thomas Eaton, former associate professor of English at Southeast, now at Ouachita Baptist College in Arkansas; Dr. Jenny Tripses of Bradley University; Masuka Umigako of Nagoya University of Foreign Studies in Japan; and Christine Hupfer of Westfield State University in Massachusetts.

The valuable contributions of all involved have made this ongoing collaboration a success, Powell said.

Ukrainian students listen via Skype to a real-time lecture presented by Floyd and Gelanie Lockhart from Southeast.

“It has been a broadly international effort,” he said.

Kuzmina says Southeast faculty members have elevated their Ukrainian students’ knowledge on diversity.

“Many things are done differently here,” she said. “We don’t have multiple approaches to language training. Principles of multicultural education, instructional design and online education — we still lack all of these things.”

She says her Ukrainian students value the interaction they get with Southeast’s faculty.

“They say they encounter the greatest professionalism,” she said, adding her students’ contact with English language speakers from the United States is beneficial in enhancing their speaking, listening and writing skills.

Southeast’s Dr. David Powell presents a guest lecture on language training strategies in the United States to Vinnytsia State students.

Kuzmina and Southeast faculty members also have co-presented at several conferences in recent years. In 2012, they delivered a program titled “Web-Blended Education for Broadening Horizons and Education” at a conference in Turkey. In 2013, they co-presented a program titled “Educational Technologies for Maturing Democracy in Ukrainian Education” at a conference in Chicago. They also collaborated on a presentation in 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee.

While in Cape Girardeau, Yamchynska and Kuzmina attended a Great Decisions program at the Cape Girardeau Public Library and met with Southeast President Vargas. Their itinerary also has included a visit with Breanna Walling, director of the Intensive English Program, and an off-campus reception.

“It was a good visit,” Kuzmina said. “I am so interested in strengthening the partnership.”

Kuzmina first came to the United State in 2001 after becoming acquainted with Dr. Jean Benton, retired director of international programs for Southeast’s College of Education.