Centers for International Business Education Project   printer-friendly-version
Program: Centers for International Business Education
Award Number: P220A060037
Grant Period: 10/01/2006 - 09/30/2011
World Areas: International
East Asia
Europe and Russia
Latin America
Middle East
Russia/Eastern Europe
South Asia
Southeast Asia
Western Europe
2006:  $343,000
2007:  $343,000
2008:  $343,000
2009:  $361,300
Total:  $1,390,300
Institution: University of Kansas
Project Director: Melissa Birch
1300 Sunnyside Avenue, Room 207
Lawrence, Kansas 66045
Tel: 7858647571
Fax: 7858645328
University of Kansas (KU) Center for International Business Education (CIBER) initiatives for 2006-2010 build on a solid foundation of traditional international business (IB) coursework, creating a range of experiential and/or integrative learning opportunities, from courses for students just starting college to internships and cultural immersion programs for Masters of Business Administration (MBAs). At the same time, we seek to extend the reach of instruction by developing new curriculum for high school students that fits the No Child Left Behind standards and new management education that addresses the issue of business opportunities and practices in a post 9/11 world. We also seek to direct our energies toward some of the most difficult, but potentially most important, markets for the future.

Building on its previous successes, KU CIBER will realize projects that emphasize the importance of emerging markets, enhance U.S. competitiveness and security, and augment the learning of foreign language and culture for business. Within this framework, our programs are designed to 1) Increase the ability of business graduates to work in IB contexts; 2) Increase the knowledge of business by students in foreign language and area studies; 3) Develop IB knowledge and skills among businesses and educational institutions within our region; and 4) Advance the knowledge and practice of IB nationally, through scholarly research, faculty development and other activities of strategic national importance.

New Perspectives on the Global Business Environment: The world of international business has undergone profound changes since the University of Kansas was first awarded a CIBER grant in 1999. Major new economic powers are emerging, old alliances are tested, and security that was once taken for granted can no longer be assumed. Within this new global configuration, it is more important than ever before to provide current and future business professionals with tools they need to compete internationally. These include knowledge of international business practices, an understanding of other countries, cultures, and languages, and information about events and policies that affect world trade.

KU CIBER's initiatives focus on the powerful developing Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRICs), and the regions around them. Relevant to these countries, we will provide study abroad and foreign language training, support faculty research, and deliver Thematic Learning Community programs for freshmen-sophomores that will include sets of courses on Africa, East Asia, Latin America, and Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia. We will deliver these in collaboration with KU's Area Studies centers, including three Title VI funded programs.

A set of activities focusing on the theme Navigating Globalization in a Post 9/11 World will explore the interface between globalization and terrorism and examine the nature of business development in conflict ridden areas, in order to assess current knowledge about these issues and learn from the experience of other countries. The first of these activities will explore the role of business in post-conflict economic development. Working with former World Bank executive Richard Lynn Ground, former U.S. Ambassador David Lambertson, and former Japanese Consul General Takao Shibata, we will organize a business forum designed to share information and enhance public understanding of global business in the context of failing states and the terrorist threat. Ground will also deliver a course on post-conflict economic development, for students in business, economics, political science, and the humanities. We also plan an interdisciplinary faculty seminar, to be led by Professor Anton Rosenthal, who headed the University's academic response to the events of 9/11. An expanded seminar, coordinated by CIBER Director Melissa Birch, to be held jointly with the Army Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, will be held the following year.

International Experiences for Faculty: Taking advantage of a recently signed University agreement, KU CIBER will conduct a faculty Development Program at the College of Europe located in Bruges and Warsaw. The College of Europe focuses on postgraduate legal, economic, political and interdisciplinary policy studies, and provides tailor-made seminars and training for the private and public sectors. The program will focus on European integration and will be split between locations in Belgium and Poland, providing experiences in both Western and Eastern Europe. Access to the College of Europe's large EU documentation center should attract faculty from business and law and will be useful for both teaching and research purposes.

In addition, KU CIBER will offer a two-week Faculty Development Program in Turkey in summer 2010. Poised between Europe and the Middle East, Turkey is of particular interest to business faculty as it is at the frontier of European Union integration and provides a window into the Islamic world. Working with KU Business Ph.D. candidate Orsan Orge, now a faculty member at Bilkent University in Ankara, KU CIBER will offer a faculty development program including lectures at Bilkent, site visits and discussions with managers in a variety of firms, as well as cultural activities.

Any treatment of the global business environment would be incomplete without discussion of business ethics in an international context, as illustrated by AACSB International's growing emphasis on business ethics and the increased government regulation of business conduct. KU CIBER will therefore offer several Faculty Development Workshops in IB Ethics. Previous workshops in 2002 and 2004 attracted participants from across the United States, and there is demonstrated demand for this program, which helps faculty incorporate IB ethics into the courses they teach.

Model Programs for Students: Four new student programs exemplify KU CIBER's emphasis on interdisciplinary cooperation.

First, KU's Thematic Learning Communities (TLCs) initiative, designed to enhance retention and improve academic outcomes, allows freshman and sophomores to study as a 20-30 person cohort and to work closely with a professor. CIBER will sponsor an annual TLC wherein students will enroll in one area studies course and a related language course, plus a new integrative course, International Dimensions of Business and Society. The TLCs will focus on a different world area each year, beginning with Latin America and followed by East Asia, Russia and Eastern Europe, and Africa. In each case we will encourage study of less commonly taught languages for each world area, such as Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, or Russian

A Distance Learning Course in Russia and Eurasia will pair 15 business students with peers in Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, and Russia. This collaborative initiative with the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies builds on a virtual classroom project funded by the U.S. Department of State using technology pioneered by East Carolina University. Using two-way video links, KU faculty will share teaching duties with colleagues at the Eurasian institutions. In addition to live lectures, the students will communicate via e-mail and chat room facilities and participate in an IB ethics case competition.

A third new program for students will be the Pre-MBA Global Business and Language Immersion delivered by a consortium of CIBERs to provide summer language and business culture immersion for students prior to the start of their MBA programs. The programs will be three-four weeks in duration and will be wholly or partially delivered abroad. Consortium members have initially agreed to provide programs in Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Russian, Portuguese, and Spanish. Working with KU's Area Studies Centers, KU could lead programs incorporating any of these languages; subject to demand, we could also offer programs in Czech, Polish, Swahili, and Ukrainian.

Finally, the introduction at KU of a Minor in Business, designed for non-business students, will allow us to design a Minor in International Business for language and area studies majors. While the components of the new program will depend on the final structure of the Business Minor, we anticipate that it will consist of a combination of business core courses and international business electives, building on the students' language and area studies.

Of course, KU CIBER will continue to sponsor short-term study abroad programs for students focusing on business in countries such as Brazil, Russia, India, and China. CIBER scholarships will help to encourage undergraduate and graduate students interested in participating in study abroad programs in these and other countries under the auspices of KU's Office of Study Abroad, which offers a variety of programs and internships to students in over 50 countries.

Research, Teaching, and Outreach Consortia: KU CIBER will support research symposia intended to develop knowledge and encourage researchers to delve into the international dimensions of their fields. A symposium developed by Professor George Bittlingmayer in 2007 will focus on The Financial Effects of Political Uncertainty. Traditional models of stock markets have used easily observed, continuously measured quantities such as interest rates, inflation and economic output to explain stock and bond price movements. More recently, attention has turned to equally important but harder-to-measure factors in a country's political climate. Leading examples of such research have examined the stock market effects of political turmoil in Europe between the World Wars, the turnover of Hong Kong to China, and financial crises in Southeast Asia, Russia, and Latin America. With the increasing globalization of investment markets, and the continued strains that globalization places on political systems, a better understanding of how political uncertainty affects financial markets will prove helpful to investment professionals, policy makers, and business leaders in general.

KU CIBER will work with the Michigan CIBER to sponsor a Symposium on Environmental Management in an international context, to be led by Associate Professor of Economics Dietrich Earnhart. This symposium in 2008 will examine businesses' efforts to reduce their impact on the environment, focusing on non-traditional, innovative, and preventive methods, while still examining standard treatment methods. Presentations about any country outside the United States will be considered. A keynote speaker and approximately 10 presenters will be drawn from academic institutions, research think tanks, policy-making institutions, and government agencies. Conference papers will be published in book form by the University of Kansas Press or by a relevant academic journal, such as the Journal of Comparative Economics or Journal of Environmental Economics and Management.

As a member of the Intercultural Edge (ICE) research and teaching consortium, KU will collaborate with Duke University and other CIBERs on development and application of a new framework for cross-cultural and organizational research. ICE is based on Richard Lewis's work (When Cultures Collide) and will offer an alternative to Hofstede's framework. During the next grant cycle, KU CIBER will use the new ICE instrument as a focal point for discussion in IB classes.

KU CIBER collaborates with other CIBERs, the Journal of International Business Studies (JIBS), and the Academy of International Business each year on the Conference on Emerging Research Frontiers in IB. This event is the official exploration arm of JIBS, and is intended to encourage emerging research ideas and build the community of international research across both the social sciences and the functional areas of IB. KU CIBER is particularly interested in fostering interdisciplinary research collaboration and in broadening the focus of IB research to include new organizational forms and new trade and investment venues.

The National Forum on Trade Policy (NFTP) was initiated in 2003 by the CIBERs at Duke and North Carolina, in collaboration with other CIBERs, as a forum for state governments, trade groups and businesses to 1) discuss current and pending free trade policies and 2) initiate proactive research responses to those policies. Now supported by nearly all CIBERs, the annual NFTP conference features renowned national and regional trade authorities. Related research and outreach ideas generated at the annual event are championed and facilitated by NFTP consortium members. KU CIBER will be a cosponsor each year, will have representation at each Forum, and will disseminate Forum findings within our region.

Encouraging Foreign Language for Business: Our close relationships with area studies centers and foreign language departments at KU enable us to work creatively with these units and to share our ideas with other institutions. KU CIBER will lead a new Consortium to Promote Business Language Teaching and Research whose purpose is to provide incentives for language faculty to teach and do research in a business context. This is important because language departments at most universities emphasize literary studies and tend not to reward faculty who teach applied topics. Several CIBERs have agreed to join KU in this new initiative, which will work to help "mainstream" business language into foreign language departments by introducing panel discussions at meetings such as the annual Modern Language Association conference, which typically do not stress utilitarian topics. The panels will present thoughtful discussion by respected academics from traditional language fields that are supportive of the need to encourage applied language teaching.

Each year during the current grant cycle, CIBER has provided one or two Business Language Teaching Internships for Ph.D. students in foreign language departments. Interns are expected to teach a business language course alongside a faculty member for one semester, and then teach the class alone for one or more semesters. This initiative, suggested by KU language faculty, is growing in popularity as past participants have often had an advantage in the job market. During the next grant cycle, CIBER will support up to five of these internships per year, i.e., one for each KU area studies program; at least two of these will be in less commonly taught languages. CIBER will pay a teaching stipend to each intern and underwrite his/her participation in a business study abroad class or business language conference.

The CIBER Global Business Languages Conference supported by all CIBERs and hosted by a different CIBER each year, is the major national forum for sharing research, teaching techniques and information about business language education. It attracts participants from across the United States and abroad, including higher education, K-12, and businesses. KU CIBER has been actively involved in this conference and will host it in 2009.

To encourage business language research, the Consortium will sponsor an annual research competition and two "best paper awards" (one for faculty and one for Ph.D. students). We will update the research agenda previously developed at the 2002 conference on "Business Language Research Priorities," held at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), as a basis for suggesting topics in need of investigation.

Language Specific Initiatives: Arabic language study has increased on many campuses, including KU, which currently offers eight courses in Arabic. CIBER will support development of a new course on Arabic for Business. Professor Naima Omar will develop new supplemental materials including a CD showing business-relevant scenes and conversations in companies, banks, and universities in Tunisia and Morocco; the CD will be made available to other institutions. The new course will be delivered in 2007, and we will consider offering it as part of KU's study abroad program in Morocco. In the interim, we will collaborate with the Michigan CIBER's Business Arabic Language and Internship Program, providing support for students who wish to attend this intensive program.

CIBER will work with KU's Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures to establish a Center for German Business Language building on the existing courses "German for the Professions" and "The German Business Environment," developed previously with CIBER assistance. The new Center will serve as a regional resource for German business language instruction, course development, and proficiency testing to meet needs of regional higher education, K-12, and the business community. An initial step, which has already been completed, is the inauguration of KU as a regional German testing center for the Goethe Institute. Business German courses will be enhanced by providing small grants for faculty to collect materials and update content in Germany. As part of this support, CIBER will fund one graduate teaching internship each year in Business German and will earmark travel funds each year for students who obtain internships in Germany.

Professional Development and Training: In collaboration with the Trade Development Division of the Kansas Department of Commerce, KU CIBER will organize a new program to educate Kansas business people, politicians and other civic leaders about the challenges and opportunities of doing business in a global environment and motivate them to give it a try. Called International Leadership Kansas, the program will consist of two one- or two-day sessions. The first session would focus on broad questions such as the nature of globalization, WTO issues, the implications of fiscal and trade deficits for the US, with some attention given to current global trouble spots and their implications for the national and state economies. The second session will be oriented more toward practical aspects of doing business internationally, including a discussion of state and federal resources available to Kansas companies interested in access to foreign markets.

Based on our years of successful collaboration with the International Trade Council (ITC) of Greater Kansas City, the KU CIBER will strengthen its relationship with this group during the next four years. CIBER and ITC will cosponsor a series of half-day IB seminars each May, in conjunction with World Trade Week, covering topics such as IB ethics, business in specific world areas, and international security. At the request of ITC, CIBER will also spearhead a new initiative to help prepare IB practitioners in greater KC for the NASBITE Certified Global Business Professional exam. KU CIBER has been invited to work with Texas A&M CIBER and NASBITE on accreditation of institutions and organizations as providers of training for the NASBITE credential.

In collaboration with the CIBER Advisory Council, KU alumni, and area trade promotion organizations, the KU CIBER will coordinate internships to provide students with opportunities to apply classroom learning to business situations. Some interns will work abroad and others will work locally to help small and medium-sized businesses meet the challenges of exporting from the Midwest. KU CIBER and the Mid-America District Export Council (MADEC) will launch an E-Award Internship Program, whereby a student intern, supervised by a KU faculty member and an experienced member of MADEC, will spend at least 10 hours per week working with a local company to build its case for its receiving the President's E-Award for Excellence in Exporting. CIBER and MADEC have identified several firms that we believe can compete successfully for this award. Other regional groups have agreed to accept interns, including the U.S. Department of Commerce District Export Office, the Greater Kansas City International Trade Council, and Kansas City's Office of International Affairs and Trade.

Having solicited input from faculty, business leaders and government officials, we feel that KU CIBER activities for 2006-2010 reflect a broad range of interests, and are of increasing importance for the region and the nation. These activities create a base of knowledge and practice at the University of Kansas that we then build into outreach programs, actively sharing educational resources with business practitioners and other institutions of higher education. In an increasingly interconnected world, KU CIBER will serve as an important link among these constituents, as we strive to increase the competitiveness of U.S. businesses in today's global economy.

Languages: Countries:
Dutch (Flemish)
Haitian Creole
Hebrew, Modern
Quichi (Maya: Quiche)
Uyghur (Uighur)
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Central African Republic
Costa Rica
Cote d'Ivoire
Czech Republic
Dominican Republic
East Timor
El Salvador
Equatorial Guinea
French Guiana
French Polynesia
Hong Kong
Sierra Leone
South Africa
South Korea
Sri Lanka
Discipline: Subjects:
Business administration and management
Area Studies
Dissertation Research
Distance Learning
Foreign Language Across the Curriculum
Foreign Language Programs (Domestic)
Foreign Language Programs (Overseas)
Graduate Fellowships
Instructional Materials
Interdisciplinary Studies
International Business
K-12 Opportunities
Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTL)
Major/Minor/Certificate Programs
Multidisciplinary Studies
Overseas Opportunities
Professional Development
Professional School Linkages
Self-Instructional Language Programs
Summer Opportunities
Undergraduate Education
Undergraduate Fellowships