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June 18, 2010

Yelkur Receives Federal Grant to Establish New International Business Major

Rama YelkurA professor at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire has received a $190,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education to prepare students and Wisconsin businesses to be more competitive in emerging markets.

Dr. Rama Yelkur, professor of marketing and coordinator of international business programs at UW-Eau Claire, wrote the grant to continue efforts by the College of Business to internationalize the curriculum, faculty, students and the business community.

The Business and International Education Program grant will support the development of an international business major, international study scholarships and international scholarships for students, faculty, travel, conferences and related activities.

Through "Global Opportunities for Business and Education (GLOBE) with a focus on China and India (CHINDIA)," UW-Eau Claire will offer short-term study abroad programs to China and India during the January term, develop a new international business major, and provide programming to assist small and medium-sized companies in conducting business with China and India.

"Exports from Wisconsin to China have increased by 337 percent over the last five years, exports to India have grown by 29 percent in the last year, and tremendous opportunities still abound," Yelkur said. "Given the strategic directions of UW-Eau Claire and the state of Wisconsin, it is essential to train our students, faculty and business community to get the support they need for globalization."

Yelkur referenced a survey of 1,200 northern Wisconsin businesses revealing that 63 percent are involved in exporting, 37 percent are importing and 30 percent are involved in other types of international activities such as sourcing. Respondents expressed interest in getting help through education or the use of international business interns from the university. A Wisconsin Department of Commerce report states that Wisconsins economic health is closely tied to that of the global economy, particularly to the economies of China and India.

"The primary mission of UW-Eau Claires College of Business is to position graduates for success in a technologically driven global business environment," Yelkur said, noting that the college serves about 2,400 students.

Yelkur previously received funding from the same source in 2007 to develop and implement the "Partnerships in International Education" program, which allowed the College of Business to internationalize nine courses, send students on international internships, engage faculty in international experiences and assist area businesses in their international endeavors.

The new grant will build upon these efforts to make UW-Eau Claire graduates more employable in the global marketplace. The approval process for the new major, with the option for a double major, is in progress. According to the plan, students will be able to pursue a major in international business in addition to acquiring a major in another business discipline, such as management, marketing or finance.

"GLOBE CHINDIA leverages the resources we already have along with the funding from the Department of Education to enhance the quality of education that our students receive through a variety of activities," Yelkur said. "The new major will add great value by providing students with the necessary language skills, international experiences, and business and non-business courses involving international trade."

Yelkur said corporate members of UW-Eau Claire's International Business Programs Advisory Council provided input in the development of the international business major.

For more information, contact Dr. Rama Yelkur at yelkurr@uwec.edu or 715-836-4674.

Source: UW-Eau Claire News Bureau

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