College of Southern Maryland Vice President of Academic Affairs Debra Tervala is traveling to Russia on a Fulbright Scholarship. (Submitted photo)
LA PLATA, Md. (April 5, 2011) College of Southern Maryland Vice President of Academic Affairs Debra Tervala is one of five community college administrators to receive a Fulbright Scholar award to visit the Russian Federation for three weeks in April. The purpose of the trip is to foster partnerships with Russian colleges and universities, share the U.S. community college model and create possible opportunities for curriculum, faculty and student collaborations and exchanges.
It is an honor to be chosen to represent CSM and to present the success story that community colleges represent within higher education, said Tervala. Russia is one of several countries in the world today discovering the community college model of higher education, which originated in the U.S., and is seeking to emulate it to educate their citizens for 21st-century careers.
Tervala will participate in a group seminar that will focus on the role of community colleges in higher education and the local community. The U.S. delegation will exchange knowledge and best practices with Russian administrators in post-secondary education to lay the groundwork for institutional partnerships, faculty and student exchanges and internships. The overall objective of the program is to strengthen the ability of U.S. and Russian institutions to prepare students for success in the global economy.
The program includes an initial multi-day seminar, in which Americans will explain how the U.S. community college systems develops educational programs that combine workforce training and civic education and prepares students for additional higher education.
Tervala will arrive in Moscow where during her first week she will meet with administrators from the National University of Science and Technology, Timiryazev Agricultural Academy, Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, Sechenov Medical Academy and the Moscow Regional Institute for Social Sciences and Humanities. Along with college administrators from California, Massachusetts, Kansas, Florida and Illinois, Tervala will discuss the interaction between colleges and businesses and local communities, health-related training, distance learning, trends in higher education, and success stories and issues in the field of professional education and workforce training.
During the second half of her trip, Tervala will travel to Yekaterinburg, 800 miles west of Moscow in the Urals region, where she will visit the Ural Federal University, and then the city of Ufa to visit Bashkir State Medical University, among others.
The delegation of community college administrators will meet with representatives from relevant national, regional and local governmental and non-governmental officials, and university administrators and faculty who have an interest in learning about U.S. community colleges and in discussing potential collaboration in one or more areas of mutual interest.
I will be bringing many photos of our campuses, our state-of-the art equipment and facilities, and the diversity of our students and faculty to share with my Russian counterparts, said Tervala, adding that sharing CSMs success stories through images will allow her to transcend any language barriers she may face.
There have been approximately 300,000 Fulbright Scholars from more than 155 countries since the organization began in 1946. Administered by the U.S. State Department, the ultimate goal of Fulbright Scholarships is to foster cultural understanding between the U.S. and host countries. Scholars are chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential. Approximately 1,200 U.S. scholars receive Fulbright awards every year.