Open Access Capstone
The idea of developing an analysis of institutional partnership program for my Master’s thesis came to me last fall, 2003 when CIE team started working on a grant proposal for a partnership program between the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and Yakutsk State University (Sakha, Russia). The project was initiated by the CIE professor Gretchen B. Rossman and a group of international students from the former Soviet Union
The project was developed by an open grant competition from Freedom Support educational Partnership Program with Eurasia. The FSEPP is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs.
The CIR team consisted of five international students from three new independent countries of the former Soviet Union. Most of them had had experience of working at higher educational institutions at their home countries before coming to study at U.S. University. The CIE team had originally started working on tentative projects with several institutions located in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Russia. The preference was given to Yakutsk State University as a new area to promote international partnership program. Another insight I received during my internship at Indiana University, Bloomington where I net the people working on Russian projects.
A very strong impulse was given by the professors and the students at CIE who put forward an idea of launching a new experimental course in grant proposal writing. Writing a real grant proposal on a short deadline turned out to be a hard work. It was a great experience for me because I was working with my home university but being part of the U.S. university design ream. Now I think if it had not been my home university I would not have gotten so much experience. During our work I had to make a great deal of negotiating with Yakutsk design team vies electronic mail and international telephone talks. I would act as a cross-cultural interpreter for my Yakutsk colleagues so I started thinking of those cultural differences that we encountered in the course of the entire process of grant proposal writing. When one of my interviewees said in his talk: “I know there are some cultural thing that could explain why we act differently from our Russian Partner…”, I thought “ This is what I want to do”.
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