Community college faculty from the U.S. and Canada travel to MSU for International Business Institute

Publish Date: Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Forty-Two community college professors spent four days learning about international
business, business functions and business education strategies at the Kellogg Center on
the campus of Michigan State University.

The International Business Institute for Community College Faculty is a Biennial
conference hosted by Michigan State University’s Center for International Business
Education and Research (MSU-CIBER). It is four days of sessions, workshops and
networking specifically targeted at community college faculty. Created in 1995, it brings
together professors to learn about international business, exchange ideas and get
resources to improve international education at community colleges across the U.S.

“Community colleges are a vital part of the American education system, but the
professors at these colleges are an underserved audience when it comes to international
business training programs to attend,” said Tomas Hult, Director of MSU-CIBER. “We
feel good providing a program that community college teachers  need, value and seem to
really enjoy.”

Community colleges are a very important part of the higher education in the United
States. Nationally, 12 million students each year attend community colleges. More than
half of total incoming freshman in the U.S. attend community colleges.

“Internationally focused courses are a great way to broaden perspectives and provide
opportunities to those people who have never had them,” said Gretchen Carroll, Professor
of Management and Leadership at Owens Community College in Toledo, Ohio and co-
facilitator of the conference together with Hult and Bill Motz of Lansing Community
College. “Community colleges have a tremendous role in economic and social
development. Employers rely on community colleges in a lot of areas for training their
workforce,” Carroll continued.

Carroll started attending the conference more than ten years ago as a participant, and
started acting as a facilitator in 1997. She, like many other professors who have attended
the conference, left the conference with a wealth of materials to teach international
business courses and infuse international content into classes and programs. When she
returned to Owens, she developed an international business major for her students from
what she learned at the conference.

“Because community colleges are integral in developing an educated work force and
aware citizenry, it is important to have linkages with places like MSU that have the
resources that we need to educate our students better,” Carroll said.

Many participants take back information and resources they acquired at the conference to
start new programs at their schools. Verna Swanljung, professor of international business
and marketing at North Seattle Community College, attended the conference for the first
time in 2003. She developed at 24 credit certificate program for international business at
her college and she also became a presenter at the conference this year.

“The whole package is complete, it is hard to go away with something negative from the
conference,” said Motz. “All of the participants walk away with thick notebooks full of
information and content they can use and a disk drive with everything on it.”

The program cost for the participants is $600, with major sponsors paying for the
majority of the costs of the conference, which equals roughly $1,500 per participant. The
International Business Institute for Community College Faculty is co-sponsored by the
Centers for International Business Education and Research at Colorado, Florida
International, George Washington, Illinois-Urbana Champaign, Kansas, Memphis,
Michigan State, Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, Purdue, South Carolina, Temple, Texas, Texas
A & M, Washington, Wisconsin, the Center for Advanced Studies and International
Development (CASID), Women and International Development (WID) at MSU, MSU
University Outreach and Engagement, Lansing Community College, The League for
Innovation in the Community College and NASBITE International.