OGDEN, Utah – Economics professor Cliff Nowell thinks it is important to offer college students a classroom experience that exposes them to a range of ideas, including the views of students from other countries.
This philosophy is even more essential for business students given the growing influence of China on today's global economy.
Building on an existing international faculty exchange program, Nowell and the John B. Goddard School of Business & Economics have organized a partnership with Shanghai Normal University, making it easier for Chinese students to travel to Ogden and earn a bachelor's degree in international economics. This fall, 19 Chinese students started classes at WSU as part of the "two-plus-two" international economics program.
"I've always enjoyed what international students bring to the classroom," Nowell said. "The opinions they offer, the different experiences. I feel that it benefits our Utah students to get that perspective."
The partnership also offers WSU business students the opportunity to travel to Shanghai to study Chinese and participate in internships.
In the program, the international students, who already have taken some of the core business courses in Shanghai, will complete the same graduation requirements at WSU as required of any other international economics major.
One of the program's benefits for the university is the increased use of afternoon courses, which have traditionally been hard to fill. "When we offer classes in the afternoon, we get some U.S. students who are willing to take them, but not enough to carry the class," Nowell said. "Now, we're able to carry the class, and the U.S. students really benefit from some expanded times and expanded experiences in the classroom."
The international students also benefit from studying at WSU. "A degree from a U.S. university is viewed as prestigious in a lot of foreign countries," Nowell said.
While this is the first group of SNU students, Nowell said the Goddard School has big plans for the future of the "two-plus-two" program at WSU. "Our hope is that in five years you see a program where every year 50 or more students come to the university from four or five regions of the world," Nowell said. "We don't want this to be a Chinese program in four or five years. We want this to be an international program."
The program is already exhibiting evidence of the Goddard School's long-term plan. This fall, a student from Madagascar joined the Chinese students as an international economics major at WSU.
"These types of agreements and collaborations allow us to enhance the experience for all students who are in the Goddard School," said Lewis Gale, dean of the Goddard School. "Our students will be able to expand their cultural understanding and deepen their competencies as we increase the number of international students majoring in the Goddard School."
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