In an effort to expand the opportunities for its faculty and students, The University of Texas at El Paso recently signed a memorandum of understanding to create a partnership with the Kazan Federal University (KFU) in Tatarstan, Russia.
UTEP President Diana Natalicio signed the MOU in December in the presence of KFU’s Vladislav Vinogradov, Ph.D., vice president of the Institute of Pedagogy and Psychology, and Leonid Popov, Ph.D., professor of educational psychology.
“This latest international partnership, between UTEP and the Kazan Federal University in Russia, offers an opportunity for expanded research collaborations in science and mathematics as well as academic and cultural exchanges among faculty and students at both institutions,” President Natalicio said.
KFU is considered one of the leading universities in Russia. It is made up of 21 colleges and enrolls about 50,000 students, including 1,200 postgraduate students. The Russian government gave more than $166 million to each federal university to build its long-term, research-driven international partnerships.
The Kazan representatives said their university launched an effort within the last two years to partner with leading foreign universities. They hope to tap into UTEP’s expertise in many areas to include program development and evaluation, particularly in the field of teacher education. They said there is potential for a collaborative research lab focused on teacher development that would involve student and faculty exchanges.
“Research at (Kazan) has achieved advanced theoretical and applied results in the fields of mathematics and chemistry, to name a few, that may be interesting for foreign partners,” Vinogradov said. “Therefore, cooperation could be mutually beneficial.”
Mourat Tchoshanov, Sc.D., professor of teacher education and mathematical sciences at UTEP, planted the seeds for this collaboration when he visited KFU as a Fulbright fellow during the 2010 fall semester. Tchoshanov earned his master’s (1987) and doctoral (1996) degrees at KFU’s Kazan State Pedagogical University.
He said Kazan officials were interested in UTEP’s efforts to become a national research university and its inclusion in the Washington Monthly rankings as #12 in the country, based on student social mobility, research production, community service, and cost-effectiveness of degree completion.
While there is no timetable as to when the first exchanges will occur, representatives on both sides continue to share ideas for specific collaborations. This is the 13th MOU that UTEP has signed with an international university.