Smith School professors are ready to infuse undergraduate business courses with a healthy dose of East Asia. Five Smith professors were invited to participate in a summer institute with the goal of integrating East Asia into their classes last month. The institute was made possible by a generous four-year grant from the Freeman Foundation to develop undergraduate curriculum in East Asian studies at the University of Maryland, and is part of an ongoing series of summer institutes.
Among five Smith School participants, Walter Hutchens, assistant professor of business law, was on one extreme end of the spectrum in terms of previous Asia experience. Hutchens has an M.A. in East Asian Studies and practiced law in Beijing, China, before joining the Smith faculty. He is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and recently published an article on shareholder litigation in China in the Penn. Journal of International Economic Law.
"I benefited from additional exposure to information about Korea and Japan," said Hutchens, "and I loved getting to know some of my Smith School colleagues better and brainstorming with them about possible course offerings."
"Because of my research focus and interests, I knew some of the other Asia experts on campus before this program. But interacting with my Smith School colleagues was a real plus and Susan White and I are now collaborating on a course about comparative capital markets which we expect to offer as a travel course to Mainland China in January 2006," said Hutchens.
White, a teaching professor of finance, is planning to incorporate some of what she learned at the institute into her required CORE finance course to give her students more exposure to international finance.
Calling the institute "very enriching professional development," Roxanne Lefkoff, teaching professor of marketing and director of College Park Scholars Program in Business, Society, and the Economy, is also planning to incorporate East Asia into her scholars and marketing honors courses. Specifically, she has a team project in mind - having students investigate marketing strategies for particular goods and services by country to understand similarities and differences between countries and cultures.
The institute was an intensive two-week program that started on June 14, 2004. Other participants were Hassan Ibrahim, teaching professor of information systems, and Brian Shaffer, teaching professor of logistics and associate director of College Park Scholars Program in Business, Society, and the Economy. "The Freeman Foundation workshop on Asia was an exceptionally rewarding educational experience and has provided me with wealth of ideas on incorporating Asia in my undergraduate courses," said Ibrahim.