The University of St. Thomas

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Global Business Education Initiative Task Force

Published on: Sunday, December 15th, 2013

A World of Opportunity: Office of Global Initiatives

The Office of Global Initiatives (OGI) has established an array of international programs and new partnerships worldwide that will advance and internationalize UST campuses. The OGI provides resources that support global engagement of UST faculty, students and community.


OGI strives to enhance the experience of UST students through global educational opportunities. Currently, we develop international agreements and contracts that will encourage student visitors, faculty research, consulting projects, and program development with universities and businesses worldwide.

St. George’s University (SGU) in Grenada, West Indies is our first medical/veterinary partnership for College of Arts and Science (CAS) students. With this partnership students can apply to both St. Thomas and St. George’s simultaneously. When they complete the required health education program and maintain a required GPA for both institutions, then they will be admitted to medical school after graduation from UST. SGU also offers a summer undergraduate college academy where students get hands on experience in the medical field.

New agreements with five Chinese universities offer opportunities for a master’s in science and software engineering in the School of Engineering to incoming Chinese students. The purpose of this agreement is to recruit Chinese students who are non–U.S. citizens to enroll in computer science and software engineering courses offered by UST Graduate Programs in Software (GPS). Admitted students will attend UST for up to three years.  Students who successfully complete all 14 courses will receive a Master of Science in Software Engineering (MSSE) degree from UST.

In the College of Education, Leadership, and Counseling (CELC) the newly established Socio Economic Approach to Management (SEAM) International Institute with French partner ISEOR  Institute of Socio-Economic Organizations Research provides graduate doctoral students an internship in Lyon, France as part of their graduate work  This collaboration between the University of St. Thomas and ISEOR was established in 2013 to promote the concepts and values of organizations worldwide with a more humanizing concept to organizational management.

Agreements with several law schools in China and the new LL.M. program at University of St. Thomas School of Law introduces international law school graduates to the legal system of the United States and provides the opportunity to focus on particular areas of law, such as global and comparative law, intellectual property, business and corporate law, among others. The LL.M. degree is especially attractive to lawyers who expect to work with U.S.–trained attorneys on international transactions or disputes that involve U.S. law and legal institutions.

UST and Heriot–Watt University, Edinburgh  have reached an agreement to cooperate in joint educational programs and research projects.  To the extent feasible, both universities will encourage and support exchanges with faculty and students, and engage in research projects.  In spring 2014, three students will travel to Heriot–Watt to study for the semester taking classes in statistical methods, British culture, and Advanced Math.

These are just some of the highlights already in place. There is much more to come as we work with the different colleges to move toward our goal to internationalize the campus.  Please visit the Office of Global Initiatives website  for a complete listing and explanation of the partnerships and agreements available to all in the St. Thomas community.

Submitted by:
Eleni Roulis
Associate Vice-President of Academic Services &  Special Programs
IRB Administrator / Professor of Education

Published on: Friday, November 15th, 2013

7th annual China Town Hall

The Opus College of Business is pleased to present the 7th annual China Town Hall, featuring a live webcast from former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright speaking on “Issues in U.S.-China Relations.”

The program will open with a webcast from Washington, D.C., moderated by National Committee on U.S.-China Relations president Steve Orlins. Albright’s presentation will be followed by a 30-minute Q&A session during which she will respond to questions emailed from audience members across the country.

This event is free and open to the public, but advance registration is required. Click here for more information.

Published on: Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Study Abroad: Global Financial Services in China

HK Harbor

Hong Kong Harbor at Night

Traveling to China is something I never dreamed I’d have the opportunity to do and now I am preparing to embark on my 7th trip traveling with the J-Term FINC 752: Global Financial Services: Shanghai and Hong Kong, China and Taipei, Taiwan course. As the program coordinator, I have the honor of organizing the logistics of the course. It’s hard to imagine, but every year the course gets better, more exciting and more vivacious!

The experience of traveling abroad is extraordinary, but traveling to China, learning the unique cultural aspects and how business operates in this unique setting is an experience that can’t be replicated. Lectures are given by highly qualified speakers, including CEOs, from leading companies in China and throughout Asia who present on the current landscape for conducting business in the region. Students repeat over and over again how rewarding this class was for them and the impact it had on their lives. Every year, students create friendships in this course that last beyond their days in the classroom. These friendships result in new job opportunities, networking opportunities and even marriages.

china pics

Global Financial Services Class 2012

It is an honor to work with Dr. Michael Sullivan and the students of the FINC 752 course. I am looking forward to meeting my new travel companions for J-Term 2014 and watching as they grow and experience this exciting opportunity.

Ricia Lansing

55fun facts

Published on: Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

An Interactive International Experience

Int'l BLAW Ethics 5-08_1

International BLAW/Ethics Class in 2008

Go beyond educational tourism!  Spring/Summer semester of 2014, the Department of Ethics and Business Law is pleased to be offering BLAW 615:  Business, Law and Ethics in the European Union.  This course offering is unique among OCB’s study abroad opportunities in that UST MBAs negotiate a contract with students from the Hochschule Trier during the European segment of the course.  The course meets in Minneapolis five times over the course of the spring semester.  During this time, students learn the basics of international contracting, logistics, trade finance, and some of the business and ethical differences inherent in negotiating a deal with a business in a foreign country.

2012 Group Atomium Brussels

2012 Group at the Atomium in Brussels

The European portion of the course begins in Brussels, Belgium on Monday May 26th and includes cultural and business site visits.  Students then travel to Trier, Germany where they will experience classes, site visits to organizations in Cologne, Germany and Luxembourg City, Luxembourg.  A large part of the time in Germany will be spent negotiating a contract by which the UST students export a value added food product (granola bars) to Hochschule Trier students, who act as the importer.

We have offered this course since 2005.  Here are reactions to the course from previous participants:

“The trip to Europe was a wonderful experience and well planned…The drafting of the international contract proved great hands-on experience which I used subsequently in my law school career and later on for drafting lease clauses at work.”
Scott Buell
Site Acquisition Manager at Velocitel, Inc.

A more thorough understanding of contacts and INCOTERMs contributed to my career progression.  After the course, I was able to stand out as a subject matter expert regarding INCOTERMs and even helped the company develop more accurate revenue recognition and practices as a result of knowledge gained from the course.”
Sarah (Bernhardt) Buell
Finance Supervisor, Valspar Corporation

Int'l BLAWTrier 5-08

Pizzaria in Trier, Germany

“Besides learning about international trade laws, I learned a lot about negotiations and cultural differences…What I enjoyed about the class what that I learned many things that I still use in my daily life, but what I cherished the most was the interactions between students that took place outside the classroom, over a glass of wine or beer, over dinner, or while exploring a new city.”
Jens Hoffmann
Project Manager, Opus College of Business

This experience is incredible in so many ways.  Not only do you get to practice your knowledge of contract law, but you get to experience working closely with an international team.  It was amazing to get to know these students on a deeper level, develop friendships, and interact in a business setting…this class is hard work, but worth it 100%.” 
~~Olivia Pieschel
Analyst, Charwell Capital Solutions

marsnik blog

 ”The opportunity to work with German business students and visit important European governmental, legal and business institutions was definitely one of the highlights of the entire MBA program for me. It was hands on and exciting to tie together several aspects of what I was learning in the program.”
Joseph Grodahl Biever
Intern, Caritas in Veritate Foundation,
Geneva, Switzerland

For more information, contact the faculty leaders: Susan Marsnik or Dawn Elm

Published on: Sunday, September 15th, 2013

Focus on International Students

Peter C. Young, Ph. D.

Peter C. Young, Ph. D.

I trust your summer break was refreshing, relaxing and/or  invigorating. This is the final installment of early steps undertaken by the GBE task force. This month, I want to briefly dicuss our focus on Internationsl students here in the OCB.

During the 2012-2013 academic year, the task force authorized a study of the ‘international student experience’ at OCB (both undergraduate and graduate). The findings are currently under review, but it is expected that a process will begin to manage the international student experience as more of an integrated process—linking recruitment to student enrollment and matriculation, to international student integration, and to the management of international alumni.

International students already are noticeably part of the OCB scene at both the undergraduate and graduate level and their continued presence (indeed their expanding presence) is seen as an important part of the effort to globalize the college. Key to this particular step is the need to assure the greatest level of integration possible so that the presence of international students has direct value to our US students. The task force has been and will continue to work on expanding the range of initiatives specifically focused on welcoming international students into the existing student body and assuring that there is a continued effort to fully connect international and American students not only in the learning process but in the socialization processes as well.

Published on: Thursday, August 15th, 2013


Professor Peter Young

Professor Peter Young

The next early steps for GBE task force fall under the general heading of networking and partnerships.

OCB has enjoyed productive relationships with international institutions for a long time—the University of Caen being just one example. However, the task force has moved toward a more strategic framework for considering partnering institutions and the basis for forming partnering relationships.

The formation of future partnering relationships will be governed to the degree to which such a relationship directly or indirectly improves the OCB’s ability to develop global leaders among its student body. __
world in hands_____ 

These ‘improvements’ may occur in a number of different ways:

  • Providing international exchange opportunities for students, faculty and staff
  • Providing research collaboration opportunities for faculty
  • Providing opportunities for jointly managed courses and programs
  • Providing a platform to support the projection of key OCB programs and learning activities

It should be noted here that the decision to move toward a more strategic, portfolio-based approach of selecting and managing international partnerships is very much consistent with overall University plans regarding the reorganization of its international relationships and commitments.

Published on: Monday, July 15th, 2013

Global Perspectives

Professor Peter Young

Professor Peter Young

Last month, I wrote  about global content within the OCB curriculum. This summer, the task force will be finalizing specific details and plans of action around seven recommendations and more information will soon be available.

OCB has offered a set of short-term abroad learning experiences at the MBA level since at least 1995.  Owing to the ongoing nature of these courses, the task force is fully underway in supporting the 2013-2014 course offerings, which will include two J-Term courses (Hong Kong/Mainland China and India, and a May-Term course in Germany. Additionally, the Executive MBA program will take its students to Hong Kong and Viet Nam.

Future courses at various stages of development will be designed around a plan to diversify locations and subject matter. Two of these courses have already been offered in London and in Argentina/Brazil. Anticipated new courses are expected to be offered in Istanbul, Mexico/Central America, Denmark and South Africa.

The biggest overarching change in the short term abroad courses (collectively known as the Global Perspectives Series) will come via a more strategic process of developing courses and closer coordination on the marketing and management of those courses. While this new approach very much suits the changing role of short term abroad courses in the overall OCB curriculum, it should be noted that this approach also anticipates important university-wide strategic changes that will be occurring with the arrival of the University of St Thomas’s new president, Julie Sullivan, who took  office in July of 2013.

In addition to the short term abroad courses, all of which are 3-credit MBA courses, the task force has begun the process of developing two other short-term activity areas; one pertaining to service/experiential learning and the other focused on technology-driven embedded experiences (that is, focused experiences embedded in existing semester-long courses).

Published on: Saturday, June 15th, 2013

A Look ahead: Globalizing the Curriculum

Professor Peter Young

Professor Peter Young

Over the summer months I intend to provide a bit of a look ahead, providing some indication I hope, of things to be looking for in the 2013-2014 academic year. These activities are far from the only things that will surface under the umbrella of the GBE Initiative and they should not be seen as necessarily sequential. Nevertheless, they are important and do address pressing issues.

The summer of 2013 will be devoted to finalizing specific details and plans of action around seven recommendations and it is expected that detailed information will be distributed to faculty and staff by summer’s end.

Early Step One: Globalizing the Curriculum

During the spring semester (2013) the GBE Task Force conducted a survey to determine the current level of global content within the OCB curriculum. All courses in all programs—undergraduate and graduate—were evaluated and the findings were significantly positive, with well in excess of half of all classes already meeting or exceeding targeted levels of global content. This finding reinforces the Task Force’s initial impression, which was that the OCB had been doing a good job of exposing students to global issues, problems and challenges.

The survey further found a fairly wide range of methods for including global content—textbooks, chapters in books, stand-alone academic and professional articles, case studies, guest speakers, international telecommunication link-ups, and—of course—travel abroad.

Over the next twelve months the main focus of this step will be to help departments and programs insert more formal consideration of global content into existing processes for new course development and curriculum review. A parallel effort will begin to build out an infrastructure for supporting faculty development (with respect to globalization) and to provide appropriate incentives and rewards for faculty—and for staff—to improve individual knowledge and capabilities with respect to business and globalization.

Published on: Saturday, June 1st, 2013

Botswana: A Study in Surprise

IMG_2880My name is Rachel Johnson and I am a senior at the University of St. Thomas. I will be graduating in May with a dual degree in community health education and general business. I have accepted a job offer with HealthPartners as a marketing associate. Life is exciting at the moment; it is definitely nearing one of those major turning points that I will always remember. As much as I am ready for the next steps in life, I have had the most incredible four years here at UST and I will definitely miss student life. The memories and friendships will last forever. Two experiences that stand out in my four years at UST have been my study abroad experiences. I went to Turkey in January 2012 with a UMAIE course and studied “Islam in Turkey.” And in January 2013 I went to Botswana for a course titled “Millennium Development Goals for Biology and Public Health in Botswana.”


I was immediately excited about the opportunity to take this course. I have always had a desire to travel and while in college I have also discovered my passion for global health. How could I not partake in this adventure to southern Africa?  The course counted as a biology credit, which I still needed for my community health major, so it was perfect.  We departed on January 9th for a lengthy flight to Johannesburg where we spent a night in the airport before making the final trip to Gaborone the next day.

Most of our time in Botswana was spent in the capital Gaborone, where a typical day consisted of a morning lecture at the University of Botswana and an afternoon site visit. Site visits included hospitals, clinics, a women’s center, an orphanage, and more. Botswana has free healthcare for all citizens so it was a very different experience than what is found here in the United States so it was very interesting to compare the public hospital in Gaborone to the private. The private hospital was very comparable to the ones we might find here in Minnesota, yet there were almost no patients because it was very expensive The public hospital was overflowing with patients and long wait times. We visited tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS clinics. After our afternoon visits we would usually have free time in the evenings. This often included a trip to the mall for dinner and a night of socializing with classmates and trip leaders who are locals from Botswana.

IMG_2845Our adventures outside of Gabarone proved exciting. We traveled north to a campground called Meno A Kwena, which was actually featured on this season of The Amazing Race. While there, we went on a game drive and also on a walk with the bushmen. The bushmen are a group of indigenous people who were traditionally hunter-gatherers in Africa. The men we met now live the way they do for three months out of the year. They did not speak English, but rather a language that was all in “clicks,” using five different clicks as a part of their dialect. They showed us how they hunt, and a variety of games they play. They also showed us how to start a fire using simply a stick and their hands.

  The craziest part however, was when one man dug a scorpion out of the ground, allowed us each to touch it, and then put it in his mouth! We all were shocked and confused, he then took it out, and the translator said that he had simply been giving his scorpion friend a bath. We also spent a weekend at Khama Rhino Sanctuary, where we tracked rhinos on foot and another weekend in a village called Kanye where we each stayed with a host family.

542297_10151480896775466_1640440414_nI will forever remember my month spent in Botswana with 15 other St. Thomas students. It was a once in a lifetime experience and has expanded my perception of the world more than I could ever explain. I met individuals that I am in touch with via facebook and even “snail mail” (my host mom and brother). Someday, I hope to go back. I encourage all students to take advantage of any study abroad opportunities they can. Your eyes will be opened when you may have never even realized they were closed.

Rachel Johnson was the winner of the 2013 Non-Exempt Staff Council Study Abroad Scholarship.

Published on: Wednesday, May 15th, 2013