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13th October 2009, 10:55am
Russian visitors see Lincoln's expertise in social work education
Lincoln academics welcome their Russian guests Russian academics have paid their first visit to the University of Lincoln as part of a major international project to raise standards of social work education in Russia.

Last year the University of Lincoln won more than 1,000,000 (one million Euros) in grant funding from the European Union under the Trans European Mobility Programme for University Studies (TEMPUS).

The grant will fund a three-year programme to improve the quality of teaching and learning materials on social work courses at universities in the Volga region of Russia.

This will involve reforms to the teaching curriculum, development of new course material, production of new text books and improvements to placement opportunities.

Academics from Lincoln's School of Health and Social Care are leading an international consortium of social work departments on the project, working alongside colleagues from universities in Germany, Greece, Poland and Lithuania.

Senior social work lecturers from the project team visited Russia in March this year and in September their Russian counterparts visited Lincoln for the first time.

The University of Lincoln welcomed senior academics from three partner Russian universities Kazan State Medical University, Nizhni Novgorod State University and Saratov State Technical University for a three-day visit.

The delegation discussed the format of undergraduate and postgraduate social work programmes, as well as issues such as e-learning, project planning and quality management. The visit also featured off-campus trips to a local family centre and a mental health day centre.

The delegation met with Lincoln's new cohort of social work students, as well as senior University of Lincoln figures, including Vice Chancellor Professor David Chiddick.

Janet Walker, Principal Lecturer in the School of Health and Social Care at the University of Lincoln and Project Director for the TEMPUS project, said: "Our guests were extremely impressed with the University's dynamism and the commitment and preparation of its staff.  Social work is a very new subject in Russian universities and the opportunity to support its development is very exciting.  Lincoln has worked hard to develop innovative social work courses that answer professional and community needs.  It is therefore a pleasure and honour to share our experiences with overseas colleagues."

Nigel Horner, Deputy Head of the School of Health and Social Care, said: "Our Russian partners are particularly interested in the assessment of students in practice learning settings and this will form the focus of our joint work over the coming months. Very few British universities get the opportunity to work so closely with overseas colleagues and the enthusiasm and professionalism of our staff is a real strength in the project."

TEMPUS was established in 1990 after the fall of the Berlin Wall to promote cooperation between universities in EU countries and their counterparts in neighbouring countries. It now covers 27 nations spanning Eastern Europe, the Western Balkans, Central Asia, North Africa and the Middle East.

The University of Lincoln's School of Health and Social Care won TEMPUS funding to lead the project, 'Modernising Social Work Education and Teaching in Russia'. The project also involves Siegen University (Germany) and Democritus University of Thrace (Greece) as well as individual experts from University of Gdansk (Poland) and Kaunas University (Lithuania). The partner Russian universities are Kazan State Medical University, Nizhni Novgorod State University and Saratov State Technical University. The project runs from January 2009 to January 2012 and has a budget of 1,032,000 (Euros).

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