The University of Iowa

UI faculty receive first Strategic Global Initiative Awards

December 10th, 2010

From University News Services

Two new awards will help University of Iowa faculty strengthen academic exchange with Chinese colleagues through the creation of a new center and develop an online course that will improve global trade practices.

UI International Programs (IP) has named Wenfang Tang from the UI Department of Political Science in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) and Terry Boles and Cathy Cole from the Tippie College of Business as recipients of the first two UI Strategic Global Initiatives Awards.

The awards, for which all permanent UI faculty are eligible to apply, are intended to help defray costs associated with the development of operations abroad to support faculty collaborations or exchanges, new or existing degree programs or other collegiate or cross-collegiate initiatives.

Major funding is provided by International Programs. Additional support for this year’s awards comes from the Department of Political Science in CLAS, Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou, China, and the Tippie College of Business.

Tang, professor of political science and C. Maxwell and Elisabeth M. Stanley and Hua-Hsia Chair of Chinese Culture and Institutions at the UI, will use the grant to support the establishment of a joint research center. The center will serve as a platform for academic exchange between the UI and China’s Sun Yat-Sen University.

“I am very pleased to see the university’s commitment to international studies,” Tang said. “The award will play an important role in expanding the university’s global reach and promote the interest in and the understanding of a rising world power that the U.S. will have to deal with more closely in the future.”

The research center, called the UI and Sun Yat-Sen University (UI-SYSU) Center for Political and Social Research, will be housed within Sun Yat-Sen University’s School of Government, which currently has more than 40 faculty members, approximately 340 doctoral and master’s students and an undergraduate class of more than 1,000.

The center will provide opportunities for UI faculty members interested in conducting short-term and long-term research projects in China, whether by themselves or with Chinese collaborators. It will also aid UI students as they pursue thesis and dissertation research projects in China.

UI faculty will hold regular seminars at the center on topics of political and social research, and the UI will host Sun Yat-Sen University faculty on campus for the presentation of seminars and for cooperative scholarly research projects. Another objective of the center will be the establishment of a joint degree or certificate program on political and social research.

Boles, who is also director of the UI Institute for International Business (IIB), and Cole, a UI marketing professor, both in the Tippie College of Business, will use the grant for their proposal to strengthen the base of UI faculty and staff who are committed to the study and promotion of international business while, at the same time, increasing the number of Iowans who have a substantial understanding of global trade practices.

Faculty in the Tippie College of Business will develop an online course to help students and business practitioners earn a nationally recognized certificate by taking the North American Small Business International Trade Exporters (NASBITE) Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP) examination. This exam covers such areas as global business management, global marketing, supply chain management and trade finance. The course will provide online preparation for the exam throughout Iowa and will add an additional module to the course on ethics and sustainability in a global economy.

The successful implementation of this online course will not only impact students who enroll, but it will also lay the groundwork for the IIB’s application for a Centers for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) grant award in the next round, slated for 2013.

The funded CIBERs are mandated to be national resources for the teaching of international business with an understanding of the transactional context as well as language and cultural components of international trade. They will also serve as resources to local businesses interested in developing greater international expertise and engage in national and regional educational outreach to schools.

Cole said that the grant will also help the UI develop a unique team-taught class that draws on the expertise of faculty at the College of Business.

“The exciting thing is that business people and students — wherever they may be located, whether it is a study abroad program in Italy or a business in western Iowa — will have access to the class on best international business practices,” Cole said.

For more information on the award, contact Downing Thomas, associate provost and dean of International Programs, at