The concept of a Russian-American liberal arts college was first born in the minds and hearts of Russian educators who came to the United States in 1990, visited several Christian liberal arts colleges and universities, and were so impressed with both the quality of the education and the integration of moral values and ethics with living and learning that they approached the leadership of the Christian College Coalition with the request that a similar institution be established in Moscow. Five years later, this concept is a reality.
The Russian-American Christian University’s (RACU) mission statement reads as follows:
The Russian-American Christian University, established in the Russian Federation, is a comprehensive liberal arts university grounded in historic Biblical Christianity. This university offers to Russian students an educational program which trains them to be agents of renewal and reconciliation in the university, church, society and the world of business
As the plans for the university were jointly formulated by Russian and American educators, the following educational goals were approved by RACU’s Board of Trustees as guidelines for its development:
- To establish a cooperative educational venture through the combined efforts of Russian and American educators, a venture which would bring together the strengths of each educational system and would result in a vibrant community of Christian scholars and students.
- To engage Russian university students in vigorous liberal arts education that would promote lifelong Christian service to church and society.
- To produce quality Christian scholarship by faculty and students, scholarship which would enhance the best insights of Russian culture and historic Christianity and engage issues in the intellectual and public spheres.
- To create a caring and diverse educational community where faculty and students would be challenged to acquire knowledge, cultivate aspirations, and practice lives of service.
- To offer to Russian society an intellectually credible Christian witness, a witness that would bear testimony to historic Christianity, through lectures and publications of its faculty.
With leadership from a voluntary Board of Trustees made up of both Russian and American Christians, RACU opened its doors in the Spring of 1995 with four evening courses, and then a four-week summer English Language Institute in July 1995 which served almost one hundred students. Evening courses were offered during the 1995-96 academic year, a second English Language was held in July 1996 and the beginning of the four-year undergraduate program took place in September 1996. RACU has its own headquarters facility with classrooms, offices, library and a computer lab conveniently located in the southwest section of Moscow.
At the last stage of RACU's license hearing before the Ministry of Higher Education in June 1997, the Council of Rectors denied our request to use the word "university" in our title. Under a new Russian law regulating education institutions, the title of university is reserved for institutions that are well-established and national in scope; all newly-created institutions of higher education must begin their lives as "institutes." By law, an institute is allowed to offer Bachelors and Masters degrees, and to perform basic research, so it has a prestige that would not be associated with the word in English. As a result of these developments, we will be known in Moscow as the "Russian-American Christian Institute," but will continue to go by our registered name of "Russian-American Christian University" in North America.
On December 3, 1997, the "Russian-American Christian Institute" was granted its educational license by the Russian Ministry of Education. RACI is now authorized to offer university-level undergraduate courses as it works toward state accreditation, a seven-year process according to current Russian educational law.
Greetings from the President:
Thank you for your interest in the Russian-American Christian University (RACU) in Moscow! We believe our university is a unique higher education institution in the Russian Federation, an institution which combines the strengths of Russian and American education.
From its inception, RACU has been developed as a binational institution, formed by a partnership of Russian and American educators, and supported by a network of liberal arts colleges and universities in North America. Courses at RACU are offered in Russian and English and faculty members are equally drawn from Russia and North America.
The students who graduate from RACU will have the following distinctives:
* They will be bilingual (Russian and English);
* They will be "computer competent";
* They will be trained in democratic and free market values and institutions;
* They will be grounded in Christian ethics and moral values; and,
* They will be given a career specialization in business or social work.
We believe that these qualities will prepare our students for future leadership roles in the "New Russia."
Please visit our Web site again for updates on developments relating to RACU on the "What's New?" page or new issues of "Reflections on Russia" in the "Insights on Russia" section of this Web site. If you would like to become a partner in this exciting educational adventure, visit our "Getting Involved" section for suggestions. Once again, thanks for your interest!"
Dr. John A. Bernbaum
President & Founder