Distance Education and Animal Science Education in Southern Russia UM has partnered with Stavropol State Agrarian University (SSAU), Stavropol, Russia, to create a Regional Distance Learning Center (RDLC) in southern Russia where access to technology and the Internet is highly varied. The RDLC will host Internet-based and video-conference classes on veterinary sciences, and small agricultural business management. The RDLC also will host email, listserv, and file transfer protocol (FTP) server support.
UM professors Mark Varner, Robert L. Hill, and Senior Extension Specialist Dale Johnson, have been working with professors from five Russian agricultural and veterinary colleges to get the project up and running. The Center is located at Stavropol State Agrarian University (SSAU), which is in an area of Russia distant from Moscow, and has few opportunities for continuing education for vets or for small agri-business owners. Read more about the Regional Distance Learning Center...
Animal Science Education
These Russian veterinary students are not just learning how to examine a farmer’s sheep, they are learning to use an endoscope, an innovative medical instrument with a camera attached to one end and used to see tumors or ulcers in sick animals, as well as what normal tissue looks like.
Endoscopes can be used by veterinarians on many large animals to provide a clear diagnosis of disease. Small to large farm operations are affected by their animals’ health, whether the animals are “draft” animals such as horses, or animals that provide our milk and food, such as cows. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent diseases from becoming widespread, wiping out a farmer’s herd, or simply help farmers keep their working animals healthy and productive.
The training is part of the HED New Ideas project with University of Maryland and Stavropol State Agrarian University (SSAU). Dr. Virginia Maxwell, a veterinary specialist at Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, taught faculty members at SSAU how to use the endoscope via video-conference from Virginia. These faculty members then rapidly adopted this technology into their own training with Russian veterinary students. The equipment was purchased with a Russian Ministry of Education grant that was awarded to SSAU after it cited the HED New Ideas project as a demonstrated example that it is an innovator in Russian higher education. SSAU was able to leverage the USAID-HED grant funds and experience to rapidly improve the training of tomorrow’s veterinarians in Russia.
Over 800 Russian veterinarians and food safety workers have received continuing education training under the UM-SSAU New Ideas project, in addition to over 2500 university students receiving training. Experts from around the world have given presentations over video-conferencing on subjects such as diagnosing parasites in meat for human consumption, sheep parasitology, cattle lameness, equine ophthalmic diseases and bovine postpartum disorders.
@gro-Magazine: UM and Moscow State Agro-Engineering University developed an electronic journal on agriculture, food safety and other issues. Agro-Magazine publishes joint works of Russian and foreign scientists. The articles are published in Russian and English.
The project is in effort to fill the need for published research. Historically, professional journals and published research have not been available in Russia. (Hill, Varner, Miller; 2008-2006)
Meat Safety Conference, April 2006: The University of Maryland and The Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences hosted a three-day conference in April 2006, aimed at informing government and industry officials in both countries about meat and poultry processing and inspection and creating a forum to discuss harmonization of food safety standards. Researchers, meat and poultry processors, and government officials were some of the 200 people who attended the conference.
Moscow State University of Environmental Engineering (MSUEE): UM soil scientists teach soil and water quality courses in English for first and second year Russian students. UM's Dr. Richard Weismiller, a soil scientist, has been holding classes with MSUEE environmental students by weekly video-conference. The goal of the program is to familiarize the students with technical and scientific terminology through conversation with a native English speaker. The intent is to prepare the students for international employment opportunities.
May 2008: Heather Hutchinson, University of Maryland Nutrient Management Specialist spent 2 weeks at MSUEE teaching students about water quality issues. In addition to teaching, Heather worked on course curriculum and discussed opportunities for enhancing the distance education portion of the program.
According to Hutchinson, “The students were excellent and fun to work with. While there was a level of discomfort in not being able to speak the language, it also was very beneficial from a teaching standpoint. It gives you a new perspective on teaching and helps you to become a better educator. You have to be very precise and not make assumptions about prior knowledge. While I believe the Russian students benefited from the interaction, I know that I did and that my teaching will improve as a result of this experience.”
February 2008: The students also visited UM for 2 weeks. They attended soil and water classes, toured two waste water treatment plants, and visited the Chesapeake Bay. (See article from Momentum magazine, Summer 2008, or lick on photo below to go to article)
Moscow State Agro-Engineering University (MSAU): UM Prof. Bob Hill is working with Prof. Pavel Sorokin of MSAU on the @gromagazine. In this photo, he is teaching a class about soil science (April 2009)
Kursk Agriculture Academy: Dr. Richard A. Weismiller is working with Kursk to develop their agriculture curriculum and extension capabilities. Officials from Kursk traveled to UM in August 2008 to tour Maryland farms, learn about distance education and U.S. extension. The group included Vice Rector of International Programs Tatyana Boldyreva, Dean of Veterinary Medicine Oleg Sein, Dean of Economy and Law Evgeny Barbashin, Dean of Zooengineering Nikolay Chepelev, and Dean of Agronomy and Processing Technology Leonid Levshakov.
Novgorod State University: UM has also partnered with Novgorod State University and Purdue University to assist in the development of an environmental science curriculum. The partnership comprised three phases, and involved faculty members from Novgorod State spending time at UM. In June 2001, a delegation led by President Mote visited institutions in St. Petersburg and Moscow. During the visit, new agreements were signed with St. Petersburg State University and St. Petersburg State Technical University. In addition, the delegation had discussions with the Russian Academy of Sciences regarding the terms of an umbrella agreement.
For more information, contact Ann Leger
Last updated: 06/22/2010