DOE Russian Studies Grant Activity

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Curriculum Enhancement
Faculty Development
Pieces of Eight Article

Grant Abstract




Contemporary social and economic realities make it imperative that United States college faculty and undergraduate students increase their knowledge of Russia and the republics of the former Soviet Union and come to understand better the role that they may play in the shaping of the new global order. Russian Studies, which brings together faculty and students in a wide range of associated fields, is an important multidisciplinary means of attaining these goals, particularly when the study of Russian language and culture is at its core.

East Carolina University is proposing to address the challenge of preparing US college faculty and undergraduate students for this linguistic and socioeconomic reality by curriculum enhancement, faculty development and ECU community outreach.

Curriculum Enhancement

1. ECU makes possible the designing of majors comprising a number of disciplines through its Multidisciplinary Studies Program. We will propose a Russian Studies concentration for the Multidisciplinary Studies Major. The foundation of this major is two years of Russian language study.

2. We propose to expand the courses available for inclusion in this concentration by creating four new Russian content courses.

3. In addition to these required courses, students selecting the Russian Studies multidisciplinary major must select six courses from a list of appropriate courses.
We also plan to add at least eight courses revised with new Russian Studies modules/units to this list.

4. We will also propose a Russian and East/Central European Studies concentration, which includes two-years of Russian as well as two-years of German, and adds courses on Germany and the former Soviet satellites of Eastern Europe.

5. Many students at ECU complete a minor as well as their major. Students can design their own interdisciplinary minors. We will propose several possible Russian Studies interdisciplinary minor configurations that could be added to a major. We will promote this minor in specific programs, particularly professional programs such as planning, business, social work, education, and nursing. The expansion of Russian content courses or courses with Russian Studies modules will enhance this minor.

6. We will also investigate, and hopefully establish, undergraduate study abroad or internship opportunities in Russia.

7. We will solidify the Russian language and literature program, which has languished since the retirement of our lead faculty member, with the addition of a full-time faculty member.

Faculty Development

1. We will establish a Russian Studies Advisory Board that will include representatives of all the departments, divisions, schools and grant projects involved in Russian Studies. This board will bring together for the first time all those members of the ECU community interested in Russian Studies.

2. We will establish a Russian Studies Forum that will meet at least twice a semester to discuss relevant topics. Project participants will make presentations about their Russian Studies initiatives. We will also bring to campus a visiting Russian Studies scholar/creative artist each semester through the CIES Program. In this way we hope to increase the variety of disciplines participating in the project.

3. We will assist faculty in the revising of existing Russian content courses and the development of new ones as well as the modification of existing courses to include Russian modules. Faculty members with Russian Studies expertise, experience or interest will compete for summer stipends and funds for a two-week stay in Russia by submitting proposals to the Russian Studies Advisory Board. Over the two years of the grant project, eleven awards will be made (1-2 to faculty with expertise; 3-4 to faculty with some expertise or experience; 5 to faculty interested in deepening their interest in Russian Studies).

4. To facilitate their teaching research in Russia, we will provide tutoring in Russian language throughout the project for participating faculty.

5. We will select and procure appropriate research and instructional materials for our language lab and library, including computer software and films.

Co-curricular activities/Outreach Activities

1. In addition to the Russian/Former Soviet Union Issues Forum, we will establish a Russian film series to familiarize the community with Russian culture.

2. We will develop a Russian Studies Web page for the ECU web site. This page will help us promote our grant activities on the ECU campus as well as disseminate news to other campuses and the community.

3. We will also undertake at least outreach project each semester with the eastern NC community. These activities will include an exhibit of Russian art, concerts of Russian music, a community forum on international adoption focusing on Russia and the former Soviet republics and workshops in area public schools on Russian culture and society.