FFDP 2018-19: Impact & Results

In mid-January 2019, grantees of the FFDP 2018-19 program returned to Russia. For the duration of five months in the U.S. they were developing or improving newly designed academic courses for their home universities, which will be or are already being implemented into their curricula. The grantees worked on such courses as "Software Verification", "Corporate Culture Governance", "American Art & Architecture in ХХ Century: from Modern to Postmodernism", "Modern Media Design", "History of Illustrated Children Books in the US", etc. Each grantee presented a report on their work over the last five months at the final seminar in the IIE New York Headquarters.

One of the now-alumni of the FFDP 2018-19, Vitaly Bragilevsky, Senior Lecturer at Southern Federal University in Rostov-on-Don, shared with us the results and impressions of spending almost half a year in the US.:

"I think it will take me some time to evaluate what those five Fulbright months in the States have given me. I was accepted at the University of Oregon (UO) in Eugene; I traveled way beyond that little town though. During my grant time I visited Portland, San-Francisco, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Boston and New York. I also went to Yellowstone National Park and enjoyed the amazing view of the Grand Canyon. The States are incredibly easy to travel, all of those trips took place during weekends and national holidays.

Naturally, my professional development was the focal point of my stay in the U.S.: learning about the operation process of an American university, design of the syllabi, student recruiment, lecture delivery, specifics of laboratory work and practical classes. My curiousity on all those issues was fed continuously. My academic supervisor, professor Zena Ariola, and I were in constant communication, with her recommending courses and persons that could be of interest to me. I was designing a course on theory of programming languages, which was contrary to my initial goal and was heavily influenced by the courses I attended at the UO. While still in the U.S., I applied to read a course as part of the Summer School on Informatics in Novosibirsk that will take place in late June. My application was accepted and that's where I will present the results of my Fulbright work to students for the first time.

What I consider no less important is that I also became part of the family that hosted me (I rented a room with them). I took part in traditional pumpkin carving and Christmas gift-giving, talked about a multitude of topics, from politics to food, from history to social relations. I discovered a stunning variety of cuisines and wallowed in the culture of small talks with drivers, cashiers, students, teachers and strangers on the street alike.

Another important aspect of the Fulbright Faculty Development Program — acquiring the skill of syllabus design. A syllabus, unlike different working course programs that are so beloved in Russia, is an extremely helpful document, both for the teacher and the student. It is a working document with only the most indispensable information, which helps plan and conduct the course, provides answers to most essential questions and gives a quick overview of what the course is going to be about. Too bad that our education system has still a lot of ground to cover in order to understand the importance of such course descriptions. We aim for something completely different.

I am very grateful to the Fulbright program and its offices in Russia and the U.S. I suppose, I am yet to comprehend its full impact on my life."


Photos by V. Bragilevsky & IIE HQ.

Программа Фулбрайта в Российской Федерации. Институт Международного Образования.
Россия, 125009, г. Москва. ул. Тверская, д. 16 строение 1, офис 504
Тел: +7.495.966.9353