Top federal support for IU Kelley School of Business center comes at a crucial time

Idalene "Idie" Kesner

Idalene “Idie” Kesner

Here’s another reason why many around the Indiana University Kelley School of Business are thankful this time of year.

The IU Kelley School’s Center for International Business Education and Research emerged as the best funded of the 17 U.S. Department of Education-funded centers that survived after the national list was pared down from 33 to 17.

Idalene “Idie” Kesner, dean of the Kelley School and the Frank P. Popoff Chair of Strategic Management, proudly accepts that distinction as recognition for what her program has accomplished.

“It was very competitive,” Kesner said of the application process this round (It happens every four years). “These 17 schools are all the top-tier research universities in the country.

“We are very confident in the direction that we had taken Kelley’s CIBER programming and activities the past seven years, and we are confident that we are advancing our international educational mission,” she added.

This year’s grant of $289,200 — an amount that is expected to be awarded annually over the next four years — also represents a return to the former funding levels of the 2010 cycle. In 2011, all Title VI programs, including the CIBERs, saw their annual funding slashed by up to 55 percent.

Congress, under the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, created Centers for International Business Education and Research. Administered by the U.S. Department of Education under Title VI, Part B of the Higher Education Act of 1965, the CIBER network links the manpower and technological needs of the United States business community with the international education, language training, and research capacities of universities across the country.

Kelley has been home to a Center for International Business Education and Research since 1992. The program was designed to help business schools foster international competitiveness. Today’s CIBERs are expected to be more engaged and involved in supporting outreach activities with external partners.

P. Roberto Garcia

P. Roberto Garcia

“These 17 schools are really leaders in the country to help minority serving institutions, community colleges and other higher education organizations internationalize,” said LaVonn Schlegel, managing director of the Institute for International Business, which houses the IU CIBER.

Of course, being a business school with a Center for International Business Education and Research adds to Kelley’s overall prestige. But had it missed out during this latest round — which was true of a number of top schools — students and faculty at other places would have been hurt the hardest.

“The impact would have been great as more and more of our funds go to supporting capacity building activities with our partner schools,” she said.

The Kelley CIBER works with five minority serving institutions and community colleges:

Through support from the federal grant, Kelley provides faculty development, encourages study abroad and other pedagogical opportunities.

Through a partnership with the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, CIBER will provide an internship program that will provide summer interns to small firms across Indiana and help them identify new export and international opportunities.

The federal grant also partially supports the school’s Business is Global summer program, which brings high school students to campus to learn about the intersection of business, language and culture.

This year, as a result of the new funding, Governors State University will take more of a leadership role, as Kelley does, in assisting community colleges in the Chicago area to improve their curriculums and bolster faculty and student international engagement.

“We’ve really created something to where our impact is much broader. We are supporting people who are now building capacity toward internationalization, leveraging what we started doing for them four years ago,” noted Roberto Garcia, clinical professor of international business and the new faculty director of the CIBER. ”It’s really exciting.”

“Even though the CIBER program has contracted in terms of the number of schools, that just puts more pressure on those of us who are now funded, to keep focusing on that outreach and to keep focusing on how we help grow a knowledge base around improving international competitive of U.S. businesses.”

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