Fifteen Years in the Making of CIBEs: Towards a Globally Competent U.S. Workforce
In 1965, the United States Congress identified the need to concertedly link business schools, language and area study programs, and public and private sector U.S. organizations in a mutually productive relationship to benefit the country’s future economic welfare. The U.S. Congress stated that future economic interests of the country would be served better by increasing everyone’s international business skills. A trigger for this policy was that few linkages existed between the workforce and needs of U.S. businesses on one hand and the education community on the other. A prime objective became to establish fruitful linkages between universities and businesses to provide improved international business training and education opportunities.
To accomplish this objective, Congress expanded Title VI of the Higher Education Act to include authorization for funding institutions of higher education, or combinations of such institutions, to create Centers for International Business Education (CIBE). CIBEs were created as a part of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988. Achieving a more globally competent U.S. workforce is the ultimate goal of the program — spanning implications as diverse as technical ability of the workforce, security issues associated with international business, and integration of business knowledge with language and culture expertise. Since its inception in 1989, the U.S. Department of Education has served as the administering entity of the CIBE program.
The program is constantly evolving to be cutting-edge. For example, rapid globalization of markets and the increasing intensity of international competition dictate new modes of thinking and acting for business executives as well as business educators. Security issues affect most global business operations. These and other contemporary phenomena drive CIBEs in program development and implementation. Collectively, the consortium of CIBEs strive to be appropriately proactive in program development while also effectively maintaining best practice programs developed and implemented since their inception.
The programmatic requirements of the CIBE legislation — reauthorized in 1998 as a part of Title VI of the Higher Education Act Part B - Business and International Education Programs — mandate that CIBEs provide a comprehensive array of services and that each funded CIBE will:
- Be national resources for the teaching of improved business techniques, strategies, and methodologies, which emphasize the international context in which business is transacted;
- Provide instruction in critical foreign languages and international fields needed to provide an understanding of the cultures and customs of United States trading partners;
- Provide research and training in the international aspects of trade, commerce, and other fields of study;
- Provide training to students enrolled in the institution or institutions in which a CIBE is located;
- Serve as regional resources to local businesses by offering programs and providing research designed to meet the international training needs of such businesses; and
- Serve faculty, students, and institutions of higher education located within their region.
As but one example of the proactiveness of CIBEs, since 2001 CIBEs have led the charge of developing programs that would help increase the knowledge base of global security issues of the U.S. workforce. CIBEs' collective strength is a great asset! For example, the geographic and academic diversity of the higher education institutions housing CIBEs facilitate a wide-reaching network that effectively accomplishes the need to be appropriately proactive and sufficiently responsive in program development. For the 2002-2006 funding cycle, thirty CIBEs strategically span the country at the following institutions: Brigham Young University, Columbia University, Duke University, Florida International University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Indiana University, Michigan State University, Ohio State University, Purdue University, San Diego State University, Temple University, Texas A&M University, Thunderbird, UCLA, University of Colorado at Denver, University of Connecticut, University of Florida, University of Hawaii, University of Illinois, University of Kansas, University of Memphis, University of Michigan, University of North Carolina, University of Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh, University of South Carolina, University of Southern California, University of Texas University of Washington, and University of Wisconsin.
Each CIBE serves as a national resource for teaching and outreach in business, foreign languages and cultures, and for conducting cutting edge research on key international business topics of managerial relevance and significance — with each CIBE being focused locally, regionally, and nationally. Given the broad mission of a CIBE, an attempt to even briefly highlight the CIBE accomplishments would be an immense task, as these Centers have truly mastered the skill of delivering a lot with a relatively small amount of funds to reach out to a very wide audience. The target markets for each CIBE include business executives, public policy makers, academics, and students (with the latter two target groups including K-12 through higher education). The collaborative approach that CIBEs take towards programming deserves some of the credit for this. By pooling their scarce resources, CIBEs achieve great economic synergies as well as build on the strengths of different institutions. The end result is the delivery of a superb product to each target market.
The products delivered by CIBEs vary in format from workshops to conferences to publications to online resources. Some are designed and developed through collaborations with Title VI National Resource Centers and Title VI Language Resource Centers. For example, nine CIBEs partnered with the United Negro College Fund Special Projects, funded under Title VI Part C Institute of International Public Policy (IIPP) (Georgia Institute of Technology, Indiana University, Texas A&M University, University of Connecticut, University of Florida, University of Kansas, University of Wisconsin, with Michigan State and Memphis Universities program as co-leaders) to create the Globalizing Business Schools at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) program. The program promotes the internationalization of business education on the campuses of HBCUs. The goal is to raise awareness of the importance of international and interdisciplinary business education; to equip faculty with pedagogical tools, knowledge, and experiences to incorporate international content into existing business courses; and to provide one-on-one assistance to facilitate implementation of international business education programs.
Another example of an exemplary CIBE product is globalEDGETM. A creation of the Michigan State CIBE, globalEDGETM (http://globaledge.msu.edu/) provides business executives, public policy makers, educators/scholars, and students with a wealth of information on 200 global markets. globalEDGETM has become the world’s leading online resource for international business information.1 Several thousand resources are mined daily for news and cutting-edge information.
The aforementioned projects are only three out of more than 900 CIBE initiatives for the 2002-2006 funding cycle. For more information, please visit CIBEWeb at http://ciberweb.msu.edu/. CIBEWeb features information on upcoming events as well as publications that inform the community regarding CIBE activities and programming. The CIBEs are uniquely qualified international business leaders in research, education, and outreach. CIBEs serve an integral part of both maintaining and increasing U.S. business global competitiveness.