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UW-Eau Claire announces new international business major

RELEASED: June 13, 2011

EAU CLAIRE — Beginning this fall, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will be the first college or university in northwestern Wisconsin to offer an international business degree. The new degree program was approved June 10 by the UW System Board of Regents.

"In today's interconnected world, it is essential for our business students to be trained to work in an environment that requires the knowledge and skills of doing business globally," said Dr. Rama Yelkur, professor of marketing and coordinator of international business programs at UW-Eau Claire. "The international business major is long overdue and will make our business students more competitive upon graduation."

Yelkur initiated the idea of the major and was instrumental in the development of the new degree program. A year ago, Yelkur received a $190,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education to prepare UW-Eau Claire students and Wisconsin businesses to be more competitive in emerging markets. Part of the grant also supported the development of the international business degree.

"Corporate members of our International Business Programs Advisory Council have already given the major their blessing and foresee tremendous opportunities for students graduating with the major," Yelkur said. "I am thrilled that this dream and vision has become a reality for the College of Business and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Most of all, I am excited to provide our students a niche program that will make them globally competitive."

Based on surveys taken during the program's development, approximately 40 UW-Eau Claire students are expected to declare an international business major during the in 2011-12 academic year. By 2015-16 the university's number of international business majors is expected to grow to 71, with 18 international business students projected to graduate per year.

"The international business major will experience immediate demand," said Dr. Robert Sutton, associate dean in the UW-Eau Claire College of Business. "The College of Business has had students requesting an international business major for the last several years. Students recognize how the economy has become a world economy and they see the value in broadening their own international skills and experiences so they are better prepared to enter the workforce."

According to the program proposal submitted to the Board of Regents, rapid growth in international business is fueling the demand for people with international experience and knowledge. UW-Eau Claire's international business major will include an upper-division foreign language requirement, as well as required course work in accounting, law, information systems, business communication, marketing, management, finance and economics. Students also will take elective credits from upper-level international courses in a variety of disciplines including anthropology, art history, communication and journalism, economics, foreign languages, geography, history, political science and religious studies. The international business program, designed to be attractive to both nontraditional and traditional-age students, also will require students to either study abroad or complete an international business internship overseas or at a company in the U.S. that is engaged in international business.

"All business students, whether they plan to work overseas or stay in the United States, need an understanding of global business," said Diane Hoadley, dean of the UW-Eau Claire College of Business. "The new international degree program is a very strong addition to the complement of majors offered by the college and keeps us in the forefront of global education in northwestern Wisconsin."

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JP/DW

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