President Rita Cheng welcomed a delegation of education officials from Sochi State University in Russia earlier this month to discuss planned and future collaborations between the two universities.
The meetings, which included Associate Vice President Daniel Palm, Europe and Eurasia Initiatives coordinator Larisa Brener and Galen Collins, interim associate dean of the W. A. Franke College of Business along with Rector Galina Romanova, Tourism and Service Dean Sergey Romanov and interpreter and journalism professor Yuriy Yurchenko from Sochi State, focused on strengthening relationships between leaders of the two schools, strengthening faculty and student exchanges between Flagstaff and Sochi and identifying grant opportunities between the two countries.
Earlier this year, officials from both universities signed an agreement for developing joint degree programs in hospitality management and tourism, including a student exchange agreement. The first NAU HRM student went to Sochi State during the summer to learn Russian and participate in a three-month internship at the Zhemchuzhina Grand Hotel. A number of Sochi State students will come to NAU in the fall to pursue dual degrees at NAU.
These relationships add to the collaborations NAU has with other Russian universities, including the Joint Forest Biosecurity Research Center on the Tyumen University campus in Russia, where forestry professor Rich Hofstetter and his students do research on bark beetles.
“With NAU’s relationship with Moscow State University, Sochi State University and specific Russian government offices, we are seeing significant growth of NAU’s influence in the realm of Russia’s higher education,” Cheng said. “We look forward to a long and fruitful partnership with our Russian counterparts.”