Overseas with the Dean: NAU’s Global Connections

Posted: Monday, March 2nd 2015 at 11:13 AM

In today’s diverse and changing world, it’s important to have an understanding of other cultures. FCB’s Dean Craig Van Slyke has been working on developing relationships with other countries to encourage international students to come to NAU. His trip in December 2014 was his second trip to China where he talked to students who were interested in studying abroad.

“We have a number of partnerships in China, and we’re trying to build more,” he said.

He went with Dr. Harvey Charles, vice provost for the Center for International Education (CIE), and Daniel Palm, director of the Asian Academic Engagement, to visit a number of schools in China along with Bruce Feng Weng, assistant director for China Initiatives.

“The students, particularly at Guangzhou University, were very well-versed in English,” Van Slyke said, “I was very impressed with their language skills. They were engaged and asked really good questions; they’re very excited about coming to NAU.”

These trips are part of the business school’s overall push to become global with the Global Business Program. Business students are strongly encouraged to study abroad in order to become accustomed to the global emphasis present in business.

By studying alongside students in their home country or by having classes with international students at NAU, business students are learning to work with people of different backgrounds, an important aspect to being successful in the diverse global economy.

“The international students add a lot to the entire educational experience here at NAU and the FCB,” Van Slyke said. “It gives [the international student] the opportunity to live in a different culture; it gives our students the chance to make friendships with people from other cultures, and that’s good all the way around.”

He also visited Saudi Arabia in February 2015  to attend an alumni reunion with Saudi students who were at NAU in the early-to-mid 1980s. They were part of an exchange program similar to the one that students in China are being encouraged to do.

“The thing that was really interesting was that they described their time at NAU exactly the same way our current students do,” he said. “The school has relatively small classes; there’s a high level of engagement between students and faculty; and it’s clear that the faculty and staff really care about the students as individuals.

“Here you are, half a world apart and 30 plus years apart and it’s the same message,” he concluded.

This was the second reunion with Saudi alumni and Van Slyke hopes to do them more often. He is proud of the impact NAU has had on international students and wants to continue to build relationships around the world.

Categories: dean craig van slyke global business program gbp center for international education cie alumni study abroad