Six Ukrainian professors observe college teaching, Extension efforts

Six professors from Ukraine observed classes in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics in 2016 through the Faculty Exchange Program, a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).

Through the collaboration of CFAES’ Office of International Programs in Agriculture and AEDE, Ohio State has participated in the program intermittently since the early 2000’s by training agricultural economics instructors from Ukraine and other Eastern European countries to improve their practical understanding of curriculum development, teaching methodologies, and agricultural technical knowledge. 
 
Since August, FEP participants have had the opportunity to visit AEDE undergraduate classes that pertain to their own academic interests and observe first-hand how classroom instruction in America, which they describe as more dynamic and "student-centered", differs from higher education instruction in Ukraine, where courses are typically more lecture-based and rigid.
 
“Overall, the Ukrainian higher education sector is in need of reform,” explains Mariia Mykhailova, a lecturer at Kharkiv State University of Food Technology and Trade. “This program will have a positive impact by helping us improve our institutions' curricula so that they better reflect the practical needs of Ukrainians seeking problem-based, agricultural economic and business training.” 
 
Understanding Western Agricultural and Food Systems
 
In order to effectively understand the differences between agricultural systems in the United States and Ukraine, the fellows visited numerous public, private, and non-profit organizations to learn how all work in an integrated and strategic fashion to support producers and agribusinesses in a market-based economy. Of course this approach differs considerably from Ukraine, though while considered an emerging free market country, has an agricultural system that is largely state-controlled, outdated, and organizationally “siloed”. Realizing these differences coming into the program, the fellows were eager to learn firsthand about the partnership framework between farms and agribusinesses that form the foundation of the U.S. food system.
 
Read more about the visitors here.