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BY STEVE RUDOLPH

The Carlson School has joined a select group of 33 higher-education institutions as a host of a Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER), which is devoted to increase and promote the nation’s capacity for international understanding and competitiveness. The U.S. Department of Education awarded the University of Minnesota a $1.5 million Title VI grant to establish the center, one of three new ones added to the nationwide network in 2010.
        With a mission to advance the knowledge and understanding of global business issues to transform leaders, markets, and solutions, the new center at the Carlson School will focus on emerging markets, environmental sustainability, and less-commonly taught languages. It will serve businesses and educators in Minnesota, and is expected to become a resource for Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
        The grant award is a testament to the strength of the Carlson School’s commitment to international business. “Business outreach and collaboration with companies on international issues have long been a hallmark of the Carlson School,” says Michael Houston, associate dean of International Programs and U of M CIBER’s academic director. “This grant will build on and leverage what we’re doing to further benefit companies, educational institutions, and other units within the University.”
        One relationship for example has been with The Toro Company. “The collaboration between Toro and the Carlson School’s International Programs has been ongoing for many years now,” says Karine Watne, international business web and marketing communications manager, The Toro Company, and a member of the CIBER Advisory Council. “We have hosted groups of students from various countries, and have participated in live case studies with MBA students. These are always informative for us as students provide high-quality feedback. These are the kind of relationships that will shape the CIBER program in the future.”
        Houston and Anne D’Angelo, assistant dean of International Programs, spearheaded the grant application, which was supported by Minnesota’s Congressional delegation and the governor’s office. The University will match federal funds it receives over the next four years.
        “Being awarded a CIBER adds depth and breadth to the University of Minnesota’s and the Carlson School’s increasingly diverse international portfolio, and is further recognition of our dedication to introducing students to the world at every opportunity,” says Meredith McQuaid, associate vice president and dean of the University’s Office of International Programs. “The grant will result in connections and outcomes that will benefit our campus, our community, our region, and our world.”
        The center expects to introduce several business outreach activities that will inform regional and national business leaders about sustainability as a competitive advantage and the opportunities and challenges that exist in select emerging markets. “We have a new Full-Time MBA curriculum that includes a required emerging markets-focused course within the Global Discovery Program,” says Houston. “The students will be split into three groups: One will go to Chile, one to China, the other to Turkey. They will get direct exposure to and investigate the nature of these emerging markets. As part of our CIBER efforts, upon their return, we plan to host a symposium where the groups will share with businesses the opportunities and challenges that exist in each of those markets.”

For educators, CIBER anticipates providing:

• A summer institute for K-16 language instructors with the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA)
• A summer program for K-12 teachers on an international business topic through the university’s Institute for Global Studies
• Increased involvement of language instructors in education abroad programs
        One proposed language-focused initiative, says Houston, is to include a Chinese language instructor on a Carlson School short-term trip to China. “The instructor will provide language instruction to our students on the trip, while receiving valuable exposure to the nature of business in China that can later be incorporated into their curriculum and better position them to convey and teach Chinese business language in the context of Chinese business,” he says.

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