WMU News

Business college to send more students overseas

April 6, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- It's a global economy. To keep pace with that 21st-century reality, Western Michigan University's Haworth College of Business recently launched a plan to increase the number of business students studying overseas.

The "Dean's Initiative on Study Abroad" aims to send at least 10 percent of Haworth College of Business students overseas by the 2003-04 academic year. To achieve that goal, the college is collaborating with the University's Office of Study Abroad, part of the Diether H. Haenicke Institute for International and Area Studies.

"They're not just buzzwords--we are indeed in a global economy," says Dr. James W. Schmotter, dean of the Haworth College of Business. "Any serious business school must encourage its students to take advantage of the opportunity afforded by study abroad to learn about the international marketplace first hand."

The business college is the first of the University's nine colleges to undertake such an initiative. According to Dr. James M. Butterfield, associate director of the Diether H. Haenicke Institute for International and Area Studies, the college's efforts are unique not just within WMU, but among business colleges.

"This initiative is possible thanks to the global outlook of Dean Schmotter and Associate Dean Richard Hodges, together with a core group of dedicated faculty," says Butterfield. "Many pay lip service to the need to internationalize curricula; Dean Schmotter and his faculty and staff have actually done the hard work to change the curriculum and to convey to students the importance of global awareness to American business."

With the support of a seven-member committee, Schmotter unveiled his initiative to the college this spring. Currently, students can study abroad for Haworth College of Business credit at eight sites in seven European and Asian countries. The college also periodically offers shorter international study tours for students and faculty, including upcoming trips to East Asia and Mexico.

Promotion efforts include special events, speaking engagements and informational literature, along with a college-wide push for faculty and staff to encourage business students to take advantage of international opportunities.

"We have many international students who study at the Haworth College of Business, and we've seen how their experiences enrich the learning process," Schmotter says. "Study abroad represents active learning, and typically leads to some impressive personal development. And there's no question that students with international experience have a marketplace edge."

Media contact: Jessica English, 616 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

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