Oct. 15, 2018
The U.S. Department of Education has awarded the University of South Carolina $1.2 million to further the university’s Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER). South Carolina’s CIBER is one of only two schools that have been continuously certified since the program’s conception. USC’s grant funding has been renewed nine consecutive times since 1989, and each renewal has included a new set of program goals and initiatives. USC’s CIBER is the only one in the state and is one of 15 centers selected nationwide.
“The CIBER funding, which has totaled more than $10 million over the past 30 years, has undoubtedly helped secure research funding for our faculty, accelerated program development in undergraduate and undergraduate international business and has allowed underrepresented faculty from all over the U.S. to become involved in international business,” said Mike Shealy, director of the University of South Carolina’s CIBER. “The impact of how many lives and how many students, staff and faculty that it has touched over the past 30 years is almost immeasurable.”
The grant period, which extends through September 2022, awards the center $302,000 each year to fund 56 major activities comprised of 95 distinct projects and programs, with an emphasis on five major categories: development of academic programmatic activities, outreach to businesses and government, outreach to academic institutions, research in international business and project evaluation.
The development of international business curriculum will increase the number of interdisciplinary courses by boosting international content within existing courses and allowing more study abroad and international exchange opportunities to be offered. Over the four-year grant period, the Moore School plans to implement four Ph.D. double-degree programs with international partner institutions and will introduce international strategy and finance certificates within the International MBA program.
Additionally, the center plans to create four new undergraduate international cohort programs in which students spend up to two years abroad. The International Business in the Middle East and North Africa cohort will begin in Fall 2019, and Japanese, Portuguese and Russian cohort programs are planned for the following years. This emphasis on increasing global curriculum and the new international cohorts provide a strong foundation and caliber of knowledge for students.
South Carolina’s CIBER also supports multiple Faculty Development in International Business programs, both domestic and international. The Africa Initiative is a combination of professional programs and research activities to promote multicultural understanding as it applies to African businesses and competencies. The initiative includes faculty and executive alumni trips to South Africa, Zambia and Botswana, and other sub-Saharan African countries, as well as additional short-term undergraduate study abroad opportunities. Faculty programs are open to faculty from all over the United States. CIBER funding is used to help offset the cost for some participants to attend, with a focus on professionals from minority-serving institutions and community colleges. The goal is to educate U.S.-based faculty, students and staff on how business is conducted in Africa so they can come back and disseminate their knowledge in the classroom or through business practices and research.
The CIBER program, which was created by Congress under the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, was designed to promote “the nation’s capacity for international understanding and competitiveness.” These centers promote cultural fluency and economic growth through education, research and training programs.
“We feel that we’ve not only impacted the business school but the university, the state of South Carolina and the United States,” Shealy said. “We are a national resource center, and therefore, we must try to achieve a national impact, and that’s what we do.”
By Jenna Schiferl