La Crosse school trio and Russian sister city sign pact

Wisconsin State Roundup

Published October 1, 1992  | October 1992 issue

A consortium of three La Crosse institutions of higher education signed an agreement this summer with officials in Dubna, Russia, to establish a business school there.

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Viterbo College and Western Wisconsin Technical College joined in the historic agreement with La Crosse's sister city.

The agreement is believed to be the first of its kind, in which three institutions of higher learning with different missions have joined forces on such a project. "What's particularly encouraging to me is the degree of community support in Dubna," says Rex Fuller, dean of the College of Business Administration at UW-La Crosse. "Community people and organizations are committed to a new future for their city."

The city of Dubna has agreed to provide housing, food and in-country transportation to visiting faculty and consultants; provide telephone equipment, facilities for computers and fax communications; and work with the Russian ministries to complete the school building. The Dubna Business School, which eventually will become the University of Dubna, will be housed in a new building originally planned as a military school.

The agreement also calls for the Russian Ministry of Education to provide free classrooms, certify teachers trained to teach business to high school students and seek funding to train Russian teachers. In addition, the Russian Ministry of Science, High Education and Technological Policy will also certify the Russian teachers and help develop funding sources.

For their share, the La Crosse institutions will offer exchange opportunities for students and faculty; seek funds to train Russian business people in La Crosse and to offer advanced business training for the University of Dubna faculty; and seek funds to provide consulting in Dubna and for international conferences in La Crosse and Dubna.

To better prepare Russian business teachers and students, the consortium is working with the La Crosse Small Business Development Center to plan for training opportunities, internships and job-shadow experiences for Russian visitors. "This is a two-way exchange," Fuller says.

Dubna, with a population of about 70,000 located on the Volga River, and La Crosse, a Mississippi River city of 51,000, share more than similar geographies. The two cities have hosted a series of exchanges on subjects such as river studies and shared cultural programs.

Kathy Cobb