Fulbright Fellow Visits Stevens, Applauds Entrepreneurial Focus

4/7/2014

A top Russian technical university administrator has completed a practicum and research visit to Stevens as a Fulbright Fellow.

Liudmila Murtazina, Vice Head of the Department of International Relations at Kazan National Research Technical University (KAI) in the industrial Russian region of Tatarstan, spent two weeks in residence at Stevens as part of a 12-week, nationwide group tour of U.S. colleges and universities organized by the Fulbright Program's Russian International Educational Administrators (RIEA) program. The practicum was co-sponsored by Stevens' Office of the Provost and office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS).

"We were asked to host Liudmila because she comes from a technical university, and given the institutional similarities she would benefit from an experience at Stevens," explained ISSS Director Doris Clausen. "Her practicum here was then designed based on her interests."

Murtazina's fellowship specifically examined international programming in U.S. higher education. During the course of two weeks on the Hoboken campus, she attended courses and lectures, and also met with Stevens leadership and staff to discuss admissions, diversity, curriculum design, data collection, student services, and regulations and policies related to international students.

Murtazina discovered considerable differences among the various public and private institutions she studied across the United States. Stevens, she noted, is particularly welcoming to international students.

"The one thing Stevens students have in common is that they are uncommon," she said. "That is why Stevens attracts a lot of international students. If you want to feel like you have found a home away from home, this is the right place for you.

"It really does feel like a family here. I was surprised to often find students gathering informally at the Howe Center, even at 10 o'clock at night — even with New York City and Hoboken as options — to spend significant time together."

Murtazina also lauded Stevens' curricular emphases on entrepreneurship and interdisciplinary teamwork.

"This was amazing to me," she said. "The purpose throughout the curriculum is to teach you how you can do more, in a team, than you can by yourself."

Upon returning to her home institution in Kazan — an innovative technical university, similar in many ways to Stevens — Murtazina plans to propose creation of a master's program blending technology and entrepreneurship patterned on Howe School offerings. She also expressed hope the two universities might develop future exchanges of faculty or students, given their common focuses on science, technology and engineering.

"We do hope to welcome additional future international visitors," noted Stevens ISSS director Clausen. "With a newly appointed Director of International Programs, Susi Rachouh, in place I am certain Stevens develop additional strategic, and mutually beneficial, relationships with international institutions such as KAI and individuals such as Liudmila."

Stevens' ten-year Strategic Plan, "The Future. Ours to Create.", specifically calls for expanded international cooperation and collaboration, as well as increased recruitment and enrollment of a diverse body of international students. To learn more, visit stevens.edu/strategy.