UW-Oshkosh: College of Business receives federal grant to support international business education

OSHKOSH, Wis. – (9/18/08) A new federally funded initiative of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh will provide business faculty and students more opportunities to experience diverse cultures and explore international issues, and establish an organization that will help guide area businesses as they compete in a global economy.

UW Oshkosh received a grant in the amount of $149,000 from the U.S. Department of Education’s Business and International Education program to support its new “Global Competency though Strategic Partnerships In and Out of the Classroom” program. The U.S. Department of Education, UW Oshkosh, and its community partners will use the funding to promote international business education.

“This initiative will foster a stronger link between northeastern Wisconsin businesses and universities, giving everyone a better understanding of international issues,” said Marianne Johnson, project director. “Business students will experience greater success if they have an understanding of and appreciation for how the U.S. fits into the global economy. Graduates who go to work in northeastern Wisconsin can no longer expect to ignore the global market. Even the smallest companies in our region must deal with international suppliers and search for new export markets.”

The objectives of the program include:

• Globalizing the content of the curriculum within the College of Business to expose a significant number of business students to international issues, done by adopting the use of internationally collaborative case studies in business pre-core classes.

• Promoting student development in international business by providing students with overseas exchange opportunities through programs such as our new international consulting practicum course for business seniors. The grant will fund travel to Peru for nine days for students in the course to complete their international consulting project and present it to Peruvian business people. A similar course will be offered in Germany in 2010.

• Creating a year-long “Here-and-Abroad” internship program to improve the business knowledge and language capability of foreign language and business students. In addition, the university will provide business students with international internship opportunities in Peru and Germany and domestic internships with internationally based businesses.

• Creating an International Business Opportunities Conference supported by partnerships with the College of Business, the Wisconsin Department of Commerce and the University’s Center for Community Partnerships. This conference will assist northeastern Wisconsin businesses in their international endeavors through consulting, networking and speaker events.

The grant will especially benefit small businesses in the New North by providing access to expertise necessary for these businesses to engage in international business. The grant will also enable students and educators to gain hands-on experience in international business through attending workshops and seminars.

The campus-community partnership will provide area businesses with short-term and long-term benefits, Johnson said. “Students will benefit immediately from the increased international business programming available on campus,” Johnson said. “Our business partners will benefit in the future by hiring UW Oshkosh business interns and graduates who have a thorough understanding of international issues and an appreciation for the opportunities found in the global economy.”

The U.S. Department of Education ranked UW Oshkosh’s “Global Competency” proposal among the top 10 proposals it funded through its Business and International Education program in 2008. Fewer than 25 percent of the applications received funding under the BIE program. 

The “Global Competency” program will run from July 2008 through June 2010. Current year funding is provided by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, UW Oshkosh and additional partners, such as the Center for Community Partnerships and the Wisconsin Department of Commerce.

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh has grown since its founding in 1871 to become the third-largest university in Wisconsin. With a fulltime enrollment of more than 12,700 students, the University offers 74 associate, baccalaureate and master’s degree programs in the colleges of Business, Education and Human Services, Letters and Science and Nursing. UW Oshkosh serves as the educational, cultural and economic engine for 1.2 million citizens of northeastern Wisconsin.

# # #

For more information or to set up an interview, contact Jaime Hunt at (920) 424-1398 or huntj@uwosh.edu.