Both business and education are global enterprises, according to experts from the UH Bauer College of Business. Community involvement, diversity and teaching students to understand other cultures is what makes the University of Houston a global university, guest speakers said at a recent discussion panel.
The three-member panel, moderated by Professor Tyler Priest, director of global studies at Bauer College, included EDS solutions consultant Holly Luong (BBA ’94, MBA ’04), ExxonMobil Foundation President Gerald McElvy (’75) and Professor Stephen Zamora, the Leonard B. Rosenberg Professor of Law at the UH Law Center.
“I wish there were more emphasis on the international community,” Luong said. “We don’t make the effort (to learn foreign languages) because it’s not committed.”
The panel focused on the importance of teaching students about the international community to avoid language and cultural barriers to promote better business and diplomatic relations through programs such as study abroad for first hand experience.
“There is little discussion about teaching foreign language,” Zamora said. “If we could do more to provide opportunities to students for study abroad — you have to spend time out of the country.”
While panel members agreed UH is ethnically diverse with students representing more than 139 countries, they also said that all students should be familiarized with different cultures.
“Keep a pulse on current events,” Luong told students gathered at the panel discussion. “It opens up topics of discussion.”
McElvy said working in Australia, Europe and Africa as part of his professional experiences has taught him to appreciate global diversity. Learning about the region’s customs has helped to facilitate communication with local leaders. Students should show genuine respect for other people’s views, he said.
McElvy added that universities should emphasize the need to learn other languages so that students can thrive in the global workforce after graduating.
“I think it’s very important to the diversity…and the mastery of language,” Luong said.
As part of an institution’s educational process, gaining an understanding of other cultures — including history, customs and language — are things students should be learning and that UH should strive to meet those needs, panel members said.
“There is no substitute for competence,” Zamora said a law professor once told him.
Partnerships between business enterprises and universities are vital to solving social, health and business problems, the panel said.
“I can’t stress the importance of teamwork,” Luong said. “We have different ways of thinking.”
Zamora said that while businesses can provide capital, universities provide research capabilities as well as neutrality when approaching an issue that needs investigated.
McElvy said partnerships should form to solve an existing social or business problem rather than find one after joining.
“You have quite a lot of partnerships join together and then look for a problem,” McElvy said.
By Mayra Cruz
About the University of Houston
The University of Houston, Texas’ premier metropolitan research and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate, civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and service with more than 35,000 students.
About the Bauer College of Business
The C.T. Bauer College of Business has been in operation for more than 60 years at the University of Houston main campus. Through its five academic departments, the college offers a full-range of undergraduate, masters and doctoral degrees in business. The Bauer College is fully accredited by the AACSB International – the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. In August 2000, Houston business leader and philanthropist Charles T. (Ted) Bauer endowed the College of Business with a $40 million gift. In recognition of his generosity, the college was renamed the C.T. Bauer College of Business.