Cal Poly Pomona Helps Armenian University Update its Operations Through Recent State Department Grant

Cal Poly Pomona Helps Armenian University Update its Operations Through Recent State Department Grant
(l to r) Yuri Sarkissyan, SEUA rector; Minister Levon Mkrtchyan; Van Garner; Olivia Kew-Fickus; Ron Fremont; and Beniamin Janpoladyan, faculty development director.
Cal Poly Pomona representatives visiting Yerevan, Armenia could see Mt. Ararat about 60 kilometers away in Turkey. Ararat is traditionally associated with the mountain where Noah's ark landed at the end of the biblical flood.

Three Cal Poly Pomona representatives recently traveled to Armenia to help the State Engineering University of Armenia (SEUA) develop its university outreach operations thanks to a recent grant of $216,040 from the U.S. Department of State.

From Oct. 18-26, Cal Poly Pomona representatives worked with their SEUA counterparts to increase SEUA?s capacity in continuing education, public affairs and alumni affairs through a tight schedule of workshops and meetings. It was the first of a series of exchange visits funded through the grant.

Traveling to Armenia were: Ron Fremont, associate vice president for university relations; Van Garner, dean of the College of the Extended University; and Olivia Kew-Fickus, grants/workshop specialist in the International Center.

The two universities have been partners since 1994. With help from Cal Poly Pomona, SEUA has been able to update its infrastructure and operations. Specific results of the partnership include the creation of SEUA?s first local area computer network, the restructuring of degree programs, development of its strategic plan, and establishment of its Faculty Development Center. Cal Poly Pomona has also benefited, especially through the strengthening of its ties with the Armenian population in Southern California.

?We are working with some very determined people at State Engineering University of Armenia,? says Garner. ?We are honored to be able to add some of our perspectives to their good work.?

Armenia is a nation of about 2.5 million located south of Russia and between the Black and Caspian seas. It was a part of the Soviet Union until 1991. Armenia was a center of industry and technology during the Soviet period, but its economy has suffered greatly during the difficult transition from a command economy to an open market. As Armenia?s only technical university, SEUA has a key role to play as the country tries to reinvent itself as a regional center of technology and knowledge industry.

?Through our work in this project, we were able to gain a better understanding of what transpired when the Soviet Union broke up,? says Garner.