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College Hosts Official from Tyumen State University in Russia

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By Karen Guin

The College of Health and Public Affairs hosted an official and scientist from Tyumen State University in Russia for a daylong visit on Aug. 11.

Andrei Tolstikov, Tyumen's vice rector for research and international affairs, visited the college as part of a multi-day trip to UCF sponsored by the Eurasia Foundation, a global partner with the National Council of University Research Administrators. As an NCURA Global Fellow, he came to UCF to learn about the university's research administration practices and faculty development initiatives.

COHPA Research and Budget Director Kerry Gajewski said she was honored the college was selected to participate in Tolstikov's visit. In fact, she was the first from the college to meet with him.

Tyumen State University is located in the city of Tyumen in western Siberia. The university has more than 20,000 students, offers
175 academic majors and includes 23 institutes. Learn more at

"Andrei said his university is interested in enhancing its international partnerships and collaborations and he was looking for ideas to take back," Gajewski said. "He was most interested in our research development processes and faculty incentives, particularly our COHPA Research Fellowship program."

The two also discussed areas of research in the college's schools and departments. 

"Andrei is interested in having Tyumen's research faculty collaborate with international partners and wanted to know how to find suitable experts in their fields of interest," Gajewski said. "I told him about resources our faculty members use, such as PIVOT, and our own searchable database with information about faculty research interests."

Their discussion prompted a visit to the college's Knights on the Go Café in the HPA I atrium. "He found the café very interesting," Gajewski said. "He said he knows scientists who are working with individuals who are visually impaired and physically disabled and that caring for these individuals is a very big issue for his region." 

Tolstikov went on to meet with Assistant Professor Jo Smith from the School of Public Administration. They reviewed the school's Master of Research Administration program, which Smith directs, and discussed the program's international reach.

In addition, Tolstikov met with two faculty members in the college who conduct international research. The first was Associate Dean Ross Wolf, a criminal justice faculty member who studies volunteer policing worldwide.

"We discussed the development of modern volunteer policing in Russia through the local use of Cossacks, including those in the Tyumen region," Wolf said. "He suggested a possible research collaboration on volunteer policing that would compare the British model, adapted by the United States, with the Russian model that developed after the fall of the Soviet Union."

Tyumen Visitor 2
Tolstikov, Prysmakova (center) and Bryer discussed possible ways
to partner.

Associate Professor Tom Bryer, director of the Center for Public and Nonprofit Management, met with Tolstikov to discuss his research abroad, including projects in Lithuania. Joining them was Belarus-native Safiya Prysmakova, a student in the college's Doctoral Program in Public Affairs and graduate research assistant working with Bryer.

Shortly afterwards Tolstikov wrote to the director of Tyumen's Institute of State and Law to tell him about his meeting with Bryer and Prysmakova and to suggest a way the institute might partner with the college.

Gajewski said it's possible the day's meetings could lead to future collaborations between Tyumen State University and UCF.

"Andrei was very pleased when he came out of the meetings," she added.

(Photos by Abi Bell)

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