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Witnessing Soviet Union collapse leads IU Kokomo professor to award-winning career in economic research

February 21, 2014
KOKOMO, Ind. — Dmitriy Chulkov's experiences during the breakup of the Soviet Union drive his interest in economics.

Dmitriy ChulkovDmitriy Chulkov

Chulkov, professor of economics at Indiana University Kokomo, remembers food shortages and waiting in long lines for basic necessities as a teenager in Moscow.

"I remember very vividly what it was like," said Chulkov, who was 15 when the Soviet Union fell in 1991. "Soviet money was abolished, and all the money people had disappeared overnight. You could maybe exchange $200 of it for the new money. I saw one economic system fall apart, and I saw another system being built, as I was going through my studies. It made me want to learn more, so this never happens again."

He continues to research in economics, and also macroeconomics and information systems, while teaching at IU Kokomo. He recently received the annual faculty research award, honoring his prolific work during the last five years.

"I strive to be a good teacher and a good researcher," Chulkov said. "Both aspects are important to me. Research helps me stay current in my field, and allows me to bring current topics into my classroom. My students find it interesting, and they appreciate being exposed to cutting edge research."

Erv Boschmann, interim dean of the School of Business, said Chulkov's work in research is excellent, and far exceeds the school's standards.

"What particularly pleases me is the breadth of Dmitriy's research interests," he said, adding that Chulkov has had numerous publications in both economics and management information systems.

"He had a great year in research, with a paper and four proceedings published," Boschmann said. "The European Academic Conference judged one of his papers to the best paper. He has also been successful in getting internal and external funding."

Chulkov received a nearly $17,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security in 2011 for an economic analysis of investment in enhancing port and waterway security from underwater threats, and was part of a team awarded a nearly $800,000 grant from the National Institute for Hometown Security for development and commercialization of a compact neutron interrogation system for underwater threat detection and identification.

His interest in research led him to Purdue University, after he earned his bachelor's degree in Russia. He began teaching at IU Kokomo in 2002, after completing his Ph.D. in economics. He also teaches classes in management information systems and computers in business.

"We are different than the big research campuses," he said. "We are more free to pursue different interests. I've challenged myself to incorporate all the areas of my teaching in my research."

He uses the same scientific approach he takes in research to his teaching, and also applies economic principles to the topic of education. For example, his research in how students select new, used, or electronic textbooks led him to choose books available in all of those formats for his classes.

"Having a choice in and of itself is valuable for the students," he said. "I try to choose options to support both."

Chulkov became a U.S. citizen in 2013, after living in the country for 15 years.

"I wanted to be part of the nation, and have the rights citizens have," he said, adding that he travels to Russia to visit his parents. Advances in technology make it much easier than when he first emigrated, and phone calls to Moscow were $2 per minute. Now he can Skype for free.

Conditions in Russia have vastly improved since he left the country, he said.

"There are still a lot of challenges, but at least people have access to all the basic services and things they need," he said. "Overall, the market economy has been better for Russia."

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

Last updated: 09/11/2014