1998 News Archives


RACU staff are in the process of designing the university’s first student evaluation forms.These forms will be completed by RACU students at the end of each semester and will be used as a part of RACU’s professional development program for its faculty. While student evaluations are frequently used in the States, they are very uncommon in Russia.

Peter Wozniuk, an American businessman with extensive experience in Russia and the Ukraine, has agreed to teach at RACU during the spring 1999 semester. Utilizing his rich business experience, Peter will offer courses in “Principles of Marketing” and “Human Resource Management.”

Students and faculty are currently preparing for final examinations. The last day of classes for the fall term is Friday, December 11; final examinations will be held from December 14 through December 18. Classes will begin again on January 18, 1999.


On November 13-14, RACU’s Board of Trustees held a meeting during which the issue of a new campus facility was discussed. The Trustees agreed to initiate a capital campaign for the purchase of a new facility inside the Moscow “outer ring” which would serve 250 undergraduate students, up to 100 graduate students and 650 adult learners in evening and weekend classes by the year 2006 (RACU’s 10th year). The Board is also considering curricular changes in the English language requirement, changes currently being discussed and designed by the staff and faculty. The Trustees also approved the nomination of Stacie Schrader to the Board of Trustees; Schrader is Country Director for Opportunity International in Russia.

RACU’s Russian members of the Board of Advisors joined the Trustees for a dinner on Friday night, November 13, and heard reports from the Board on the university’s progress to date. Two new members were added to the Advisory Board: Douglas Greenwold, Vice President for Marketing and Sales Worldwide of CN Biosciences in San Diego, California, and Mikhail Timin, President of TALIS Holding Company in Nizhni Novgorod, Russia.

On November 10th, a Business Education Consultation took place at the university. Three American advisors, RACU’s Russian business faculty and two Russian businessmen met together for five hours to evaluate RACU’s current business curriculum and to propose changes which would more appropriately prepare our graduates for the Russian marketplace.

RACU was notified of a gift of approximately 30 books and journals on sociology given to the university by Professor Jack Harkins from the College of DuPage. Wheaton College Library staff graciously packed and shipped the library collection to RACU. In addition, Professor Ivan Fahs, a member of Wheaton College’s Sociology faculty, added books from his collection to this donation.


On August 31, 1998, RACU’s third full year of operations began with a freshmen class of 35 students, chosen from over 75 applicants. Exactly 100 students are now enrolled in the university of whom 56 are business majors and 44 are social work majors. Approximately 50% of the students are from Moscow, while the other half come from all over Russia, including several distant Siberian cities.

During the fall semester, RACU is offering 27 courses taught by 17 faculty, 5 Americans and 12 Russians. The university has added a number of new adjunct faculty with impressive credentials and we are fortunate to have such a qualified and distinguished teaching staff.

RACU’s new Executive Vice President, Hannes Furter, has stepped into this position with great energy and has provided strong leadership to the university’s staff and students. His four years of experience at St. Petersburg Christian University provided helpful preparation for his new role. Annamarie Furter, Hannes’s wife, has also assumed leadership responsibilities at the university, administering the work-study program and counseling students.

On Saturday, September 5, RACU hosted a four-hour “Seminar for Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)” at the university’s facilities. 20 teachers of English participated in the seminar which was organized by Dr. David Broersma, Director of RACU’s English Language Department, and which featured Dr. Lonna Dickerson, Director of Wheaton College’s Institute for Cross-Cultural Training. Dr. Dickerson has extensive experience worldwide teaching teachers of English and this was her second guest teaching role at RACU. In the summer of 1996, Dr. Dickerson participated in RACU’s second summer English Language Institute. Plans for follow-up seminars are already underway.


During June and August, applicants for RACU’s third freshmen class will take entrance examinations and be interviewed by an Admissions Committee before being accepted. Applicants are required to take two entrance examinations; the first requires them to write an essay on one of six questions related to Russian history and culture, while the second examination is a general survey of the students’ knowledge in various academic fields. The first examination is then graded for content and grammar by two Russian professors. The second is evaluated in terms of the percentage of correct answers out of 100 questions. The goal of the Admissions Committee is to select the top 30 candidates from an applicant pool of approximately 60-75 men and women.

RACU’s third academic year begins during the last week of August. Registration for returning students takes place on Wednesday, August 26, while new students are registered on Thursday, August 27. On Friday, there is an orientation session for all new students, including presentations by the new Academic Dean, Hannes Furter, and RACU’s President, Dr. John A. Bernbaum. The following day, Saturday, August 29, there is a faculty orientation for both Russian and American professors. The first day of classes is Monday, August 31.

With the addition of RACU’s third freshmen class, the total student population of the university will be over 100 full-time day students.

JUNE 1998

Dr. Stanley Clark, RACU’s Vice President for Academic Affairs, completed his three-year commitment in Moscow and returned to the States on June 1 to fill the same position at Geneva College (Beaver Falls, PA). Dr. Clark made a valuable contribution to the university’s life during these last three years and he will be missed in Moscow. Susan Clark, who served as RACU’s Director of Administration, will remain in Moscow through the end of June and then will also return to the States; Susan will continue to work with RACU as an “Assistant to the President” on a part-time basis, following her return. The Clarks provided leadership during RACU’s formative years and we are grateful for their leadership.

Johannes (Hannes) Furter, and his wife Annamarie, are RACU’s new leadership team.Hannes was taught and served as Academic Dean at St. Petersburg Christian College in St. Petersburg, Russia, for four years, and will bring this valuable experience with him to Moscow. Hannes will serve as RACU’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, while Annamarie will work part-time in student affairs at RACU. The Furters have lived in Russia, know the language and feel a strong sense of calling to Russia. After a trip home to South Africa during July, they will arrive in Moscow in early August to assume their leadership positions. We are very grateful that they will now be working with us.

The spring term of RACU’s second year of its undergraduate program is now completed.Following the spring semester, a three-week May term was held and students had the choice of two course options: “Financial Accounting,” taught by Professor Gary Vander Plaats from Geneva College, and “The Protestant Reformation,” taught by Professor Frank Roberts from Calvin College. Both classes received very positive reviews from the students.

Lena Kurdina was chosen to a full year of study at Calvin College during the 1998-99 school year. Calvin College has offered one scholarship per year for a RACU student to attend its program in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The competition was rigorous for this opportunity and Lena, one of RACU’s top students, has the talent and ability to take full advantage of this scholarship. We will miss her leadership in Moscow, but are confident she will be a strong representative of RACU at Calvin College.

The Moscow staff continues its search for facilities in the Moscow region. With the addition of thirty new freshmen students in September, our student population will be over 100 and this will fill our current facilities to capacity.

APRIL 1998

RACU’s Board of Trustees is pleased to announce that Dr. Kent Hill was recently appointed as the university’s newest Trustee with his three-year term beginning immediately. Dr. Hill is President of Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, Massachusetts, and is a leading American expert on the church in Russia having published several major books on this subject. He was also instrumental in the early planning stages for RACU.

RACU’s Board of Trustees also has appointed Mr. Donald Mulder to the university’s Board of Advisors. Mulder is Vice President of Business Development of 3Com Corporation, headquartered in Mt. Prospect, Illinois, and was instrumental in arranging a valuable donation of computers and networking equipment for RACUs computer laboratory.

Calvin College (Grand Rapids, Michigan) has just announced a scholarship, all expenses paid, for a RACU student to study on its campus on a yearly basis beginning in 1998-99 school year. Competition for the first scholarship is in process at the present time and student applications are currently being received upon successful completion of the TOEFL examination with a score of 550 or higher. We are grateful to Calvin College and its donors for this scholarship.

MARCH 1998

Russian Orthodox Priest, Father Benjamin Novik, from the St. Petersburg Academy, addressed the RACU students during the March 10th convocation on themes and trends in the contemporary Russian Orthodox Church. The presentation was very stimulating and generated a healthy dialogue between the students and Father Benjamin. The students expressed a strong desire to invite him back for future lectures and discussions.

On March 20th, John Novikoff, a certified drug addiction counselor from Georgia and a former Army chaplain, gave the first part of RACU’s Spring Colloquium series. His two-hour presentation on “Alcoholism: A Family Disease” was opened up to community members as well as RACU students. 

RACU professors are scheduled to attend a faculty retreat on Saturday, March 28. The retreat, which will be held on the U.S. Embassy compound, will involve team-building activities for RACU’s Russian and American faculty members and discussion of issues related to the further development of RACU’s curriculum.


The first issue of RACU’s student newspaper was just released and will hopefully be issued every two weeks. The purpose of the newspaper is to communicate information of importance to the students and to build community among the students and between students and staff. 

RACU has established its first memorial scholarship fund as the result of a generous gift from a friend and donor. The Thomas Eugene Spragens III Memorial Scholarship was established by Dr. William C. Spragens and his wife Elaine and will provide financial assistance on an annual basis to qualified students attending RACU.

In addition to the gift of library books from Dr. Kent Hill reported in November 1997, RACU has also received three boxes of valuable Russian emigre journals from Dr. George Kline,Professor of Philosophy at Bryn Mawr College, as well as some periodicals published by Russian Baptists in the 1960s and 1970s.

Cathy Thornberg, RACU’s first full-time English language instructor, has agreed to return to Moscow for the 1998-99 school year, her third year of teaching at RACU. There was much rejoicing by both students and staff when Cathy’s decision was announced!


Registration for the Spring semester took place on Friday, January 23rd, and virtually the entire student body re-enrolled, with only two students requesting academic leave for “family reasons.” RACU’s retention rate has been excellent and we rejoice in this!

We have moved into two new rented classrooms in our current facility which now allows us to offer more courses simultaneously. The two classrooms are being leased from New Life Eurasia and are conveniently located on the same floor as our other classrooms.

California Baptist College, under the leadership of President Ron Ellis and Vice President Don Evans, has become RACU’s newest North American partner institution. A delegation from CBC, lead by Drs. Ellis and Evans, visited RACU’s campus in December and signed a three-year agreement as a supporting partner. It was exciting for the students and staff of RACU to hear that California Baptist College, now located on a campus with seventeen buildings in Riverside, California, started in a church basement about fifty years ago with forty students. 

RACU’s computer lab is now operating and Sergey Vdovin, the university’s computer specialist, is offering our first course on “Computer Literacy.” Only sixteen students were allowed into this course, although the entire student body wanted to take it. RACU’s computer course offerings will be expanded next year.