It’s difficult for Irina Gorbunova-Ford to say what first interested her about history.
“My mother is a history professor. I was fascinated with WWII history, as is every Russian child whose grandparents fought against Nazi Germany. I like to travel to different countries and learn about cultures, I love experiencing history though items and places from the past, historical treasures,” she said. “So, as you can see, there are many reasons why I became an historian.”
In 1999, she started working at the Far Eastern Academy of Public Service in Russia as an instructor in the History department. She taught many different courses, such as World History, History of Social Work, Russian History and Archeology.
Gorbunova-Ford holds two master’s degrees -- in Public Administration and in History – and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in History from the Khabarovsk State Pedagogical University in Khabarovsk, Russia. Her doctoral dissertation was in reference to the History of Social Work in Russia. She also wrote a monograph called “Social Work and Charity in the Russian Far East in 1884-1917.”
At College of DuPage, Gorbunova-Ford teaches history courses for the Continuing Education program. Her courses include History of the World Civilizations before 1650 and History of Russia and the Russian Language.
“Teaching is sharing knowledge. I love to share and learn from my students at the same time,” she said. “I understand how important it is to build a working relationship with students and embolden them to learn a subject. When students feel professors enjoy their jobs and put all their energy and heart into the teaching process, they respond with same qualities and interest.
“In the current courses I teach, I like to encourage students to become critical readers, thinkers and writers. My goal is not only to promote their intellectual engagement with textbooks and instructions, my target goal is to teach each and every student independent research and to analyze each subject to promote and encourage stimulating individual growth.”
History also inspires Gorbunova-Ford.
“Its many people and events are inspiring, mostly the bravery of those who fought and keep fighting for justice -- for example, the heroes of the Holocaust who saved Jewish people by risking their own lives,” she said.