On September 30th, Teachers College welcomed editors Gainiya Tazhina (University of International Business, Kazakhstan) and Judith Parker (Teachers College), along with contributors, for a virtual event to present their book Toward Sustainability Through Digital Technologies and Practices in the Eurasian Region. Gainiya Tazhina, PhD, is an associate professor in the Department of Social Economic Sciences at the University of International Business (UIB), Kazakhstan, and has been on the faculty since 2008. Dr. Tazhina has been awarded several prestigious fellowships for her work, such as the OSI Faculty Development Fellowship at the Columbia University in NYC (2009-2012), as well as having been selected to give the Erasmus Mundus Lectures on Leadership organized by the partner universities UIB in Almaty and the Kozminsky University in Warsaw (2017). Dr. Parker is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Adult Learning and Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University and an alumna of Teachers College, Columbia University (Ed.D, M.A.). M.S. degree in physics from Purdue University in Indiana, and a B.S. degree in physics and mathematics from Notre Dame College in Ohio. She also teaches college physics and astronomy at Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania.
The book includes research on digital initiatives in a wide range of sectors in Eurasia, and was published, ironically, in March 2020, when digital technology became a necessity. Dr. Tazhina and Dr. Parker discussed how the project was a collaboration between different universities, revealing how faculty in Central Asia were already developing digital tech skills before the pandemic hit. This work is made all the more relevant given the centrality of technology in all sectors as we continue to navigate a pandemic world. The book contributors present discussed their respective articles, which included the use and management of business-government infraction models, sustainable development in rural areas in Eurasia, the impact of social media on college students, studies on the success of the flipped classroom, and more. Coming off of a completely virtual senior year of college, it was really interesting to see the different approaches to online technology that other countries are taking. As a self-proclaimed Zoom hater, it was nice to get a fresh perspective on how digital tech can be used to intentionally grow sectors of the economy, rather than applying it haphazardly out of necessity.