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September 19, 2007

UW-Eau Claire College of Business Receives Grant to Support International Education Initiative

A newly funded initiative at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will provide business faculty and students with 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-Eau Claire received a $174,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Business and International Education program to support its new "Partnerships in International Education" program, said Dr. Rama Yelkur, international business programs coordinator for the College of Business.

"This initiative will foster a strong link between business and education, giving all entities a better understanding of international issues," said Yelkur, project director for "Partnerships in International Education." "Businesses and business students our future leaders will experience greater success if they have an understanding of and appreciation for how the United States fits into the global economy."

"Partnerships in International Education" program objectives include:

Globalizing the content of the curriculum within the College of Business to expose a significant number of business students to international issues. All courses identified for globalization will be revised to include at least 20 percent international content.

Establish an umbrella organization, Northern Wisconsin International Trade Association, through a partnership among the College of Business, the Wisconsin Department of Commerce International Division, the university's Center for International Education and the student organization-AIESEC. This organization, which will establish an office in the College of Business this fall, will assist and mentor area businesses in their international endeavors through consulting, speaker events, online resources and a newsletter on global issues.

Promote faculty and student development in international business by providing faculty with overseas exchange opportunities through new programs with study abroad partners in Thessaloniki, Greece, and Limerick, Ireland, and through a business experience in China.The College of Business also will host faculty from partner sites in Greece and Ireland at UW-Eau Claire. In addition, the university will provide business students with international internship opportunities and domestic internships with internationally-based business.

The campus-community partnership will provide area businesses with short-term and long-term benefits, Yelkur said. "Businesses will benefit immediately from the support they'll receive through the NWITA partnership," Yelkur said. "And they'll benefit in the future by hiring UW-Eau Claire business interns and graduates who have an understanding of international issues and an appreciation for new opportunities found in the global economy."

Students will benefit through internships-both domestic and international, faculty will benefit through international experiences to support course redesign, the College will benefit through short-term faculty visits from our partner study abroad sites as well as the community connections established through the Northern Wisconsin International Trade Association.

The U.S. Department of Education ranked UW-Eau Claire's "Partnerships in International Education," authored by Yelkur, among the top 10 proposals it funded through its Business and International Education program in 2007. Yelkur noted that just 26 of 89 applications received funding under the BIE program.

The "Partnerships in International Education" program will run from July 2007 through June 2009.

Project Oversight Committees
Director: Rama Yelkur, DBA, Associate Professor of Marketing, Coordinator of the COB International Business Programs
• Rajarshi Aroskar, PhD, Assistant Professor of Finance
• Kristina Bourne, PhD, Assistant Professor of Management
• Bruce Lo, PhD, Professor of Information Systems
• Abraham Nahm, PhD, Associate Professor of Management
• Rhetta Standifer, PhD, Assistant Professor of Management