After several online cultural exchanges between Ozarka College and Gorno Altaysk State University (GASU) in Siberia last Spring, the institutions have officially entered into an Agreement of Cultural, Educational and Scientific Cooperation.
Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Michael DeLong says the agreement came about after the successful exchanges between students from Ozarka and GASU utilizing online technology via Skype. "The administrators from the Russian university were so impressed with these cultural exchanges, they suggested formalizing the partnership by entering into the agreement."
The first online meeting took place in March 2010 for Ozarka students in Cultural Anthropology to share regional arts, crafts and music of their respective regions, along with interactions about social and civic topics. The first exchange came about because of a friendship and academic partnership between Ozarka College adjunct instructor, John C. Van Orman of Mountain View and GASU English teacher Maria Ostanina of Gorno Altaysk.
The first online exchange was such a success that a second conference occurred in April entitled Working Together: Applied Anthropology and Applied Science: Anthropologists and Biologists Working to Benefit Communities. Van Orman invited Biology instructor, David Mitchell and his biology students to join in the conference since the focus of the discussion was measuring and managing water quality.
The Ozarka College Board of Trustees approved the Memorandum of Agreement at the quarterly board meeting held in September. There are two exchanges planned for each of the Fall 2010 and Spring 2011 semesters.