June 4, 2010/MLive
By: David Mielke
Michigan ranks eighth in the nation in economic impact from international students, according to the Institute of Higher Education.
Tuition and living expenses from 22,967 international students alone generated $525.5 million for the state's economy during the 2007-2008 academic year. This is up from $471.6 million and 21,143 students during the previous year.
It is difficult to estimate the number of additional faculty positions that result from these students enrolled in our universities, but it is certainly significant.
The state can point to three universities in the top 40 of doctoral granting institutions based on the number of international students - the University of Michigan (6), Michigan State University (15) and Wayne State University (28). Eastern Michigan University (19) ranks in the top 40 of master's institutions.
These statistics certainly emphasize the quality of our public universities and the world-wide recognition the state has developed.
Why is this important for us?
Certainly the economic impact and jobs are welcome at a time when the state is facing a number of challenges.
In addition, enrolling international students in our state universities is also critical for the education of our Michigan students who must understand cultural differences and learn how to work together to succeed in today's global workplace.
There is no better preparation for future business interaction than to participate in a team project in a business course than to have a student from China, another from India working with two students from Michigan.
Domestic students must understand international competition and, hopefully, study abroad themselves. You can't just read about international issues - you must live overseas for a true learning experience.
Our universities also provide research forums to expand our expertise and recognition. EMU's College of Business, for example, is sponsoring the first Tricontinental Conference on "Global Advances in Business Communication" from June 24 - 27.
This conference is a partnership with the University of Antwerp and the Macau University of Science and Technology. The purpose is to bring together academics and practitioners to consider business practices that shape - and are shaped by - the changing nature and level of global business communications.
More than 80 participants, including a number of business professionals, from 18 countries, will present and discuss real-world international business communication issues.
The conference has five tracks:
1. Cross-cultural business communications and negotiations.
2. Global aspects of integrated marketing communications.
3. International law and global business ethics.
4. Languages and business communications.
5. E-semantics, a new field dealing with cross-cultural dimensions of internet marketing and communications.
As we face possible state cuts to higher education, let's remember economic development in that discussion.
• Do we want to cut the source of one of our best exports and high-paying jobs?
• Do we want to diminish the international education and culturalization of our students?
• Do we want to sacrifice the advance of our international research expertise and recognition?
• Do we truly value our educational product the way students from around the world obviously do?
For more information about EMU's Tricontinental Conference, visit http://www.cob.emich.edu and click on News and Events.
David Mielke is dean of the Eastern Michigan University College of Business, recently named a "Best Business School" five straight years by The Princeton Review. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.