OCU Forms Branch College in Russia

Article excerpt

Journal Record Staff Reporter

A program to bring Soviet aviation industry managers to Oklahoma City University for intensive training in 1989 has blossomed into a major field of study in two countries.

Creation of the Russian-American College between OCU and Moscow State University branch at Ulyanovsk was finalized in June, with first students expected to enroll this fall.

Under the agreement, Russian students will study three years in Ulyanovsk, then come to OCU for one year and return to their home school for a final year of study. Upon completion, students will receive bachelor's degrees from both universities.

The program is geared to accept 20 students annually, with nine of them coming to Oklahoma City each year. First Russian students in the program are expected to arrive in Oklahoma City for the 1997-1998 school year, said Virginia Walker, director of OCU's Russian programs.

"Our agreement says that eight of the students will be funded by the (Russian) government, and OCU will provide a full scholarship for one of them," she said.

It took two years to hammer out the agreement after Dr. Jerald Walker, OCU president and husband of Virginia Walker, first met with officials of the Moscow State University branch.

"We had teams working on the curriculum, studying their (the Russian school's) programs to ensure that what they completed there would be transferrable to our program," Virginia Walker said.

The agreement was signed in June when Jerald Walker was commencement speaker at the branch's 1995 graduation ceremony.

Students who start their education in Ulyanovsk will receive a bachelor's degree in business from both OCU and Moscow State University. American students who start their education at OCU will receive a business degree with a minor in Russian studies.

While the Russian students will cover mainly business in their courses, OCU students going to Russia will study the history of Russia, Russian literature, Russian philosophy, economics and business in Russia, and the Russian mind.

The agreement calls for OCU students to spend one school year in Ulyanovsk and three years at OCU.

A faculty exchange also is part of the agreement.

"All the classes will be taught in English at both campuses," Walker said.

Educational offerings and faculty and student exchanges also could be increased under the agreement. …