SHANGHAI SCHOOL PROVIDES CHINESE STUDENTS WITH AN AMERICAN BUSINESS PERSPECTIVE
| george burman|
A view of the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology, home of the Shanghai-Syracuse International School of Business.
In a higher education version of East meets West, Chinese management students have a unique opportunity to study American business practices under the guidance of Syracuse University professors at the thriving Shanghai-Syracuse International School of Business, located in Shanghai, China.
The school was forged out of a partnership between the School of Management and the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology. The partnership developed several years ago when Zhang Yimin, professor and dean of the College of Commerce at the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology, taught at the School of Management. While here, he and finance professor Peter Koveos, director of SU's Kiebach Center for International Business Studies, organized a conference attended by Chinese business and academic leaders.
Following further exchanges between Koveos and leaders of the Shanghai university, the two schools launched a pilot master's program in 1994. Drawing on resources and faculty of both universities, the school provides programs that give managers a global perspective and training in business fundamentals, communication, leadership, and entrepreneurial skills. Its first master's class graduated in 1996. Now the school has a dedicated building on the University of Shanghai campus and about 450 students enrolled in its bachelor's and master's degree programs.
Yan Xie '96, is studying finance at the School of Management, broadening her knowledge of American business perspectives and expertise in finance. "The United States is the most advanced country in the world in the field of finance," Xie says. "I can use this knowledge to study Chinese finance problems."
She finds the free exchange between SU faculty and students a unique aspect of the American culture. "It is easier to have a good relationship with the professors from SU," Xie says. "Communication is open between students and SU professors. In China it is not an equal relationship. I can't imagine establishing a close faculty-student relationship with a Chinese professor."
Dean George Burman, a member of the Shanghai-Syracuse school's board of directors, feels the cooperative program offers great benefits. "SSI is a wonderful opportunity for the School of Management and our faculty members to be involved in training Chinese men and women to be actively immersed in one of the fastest growing economies in the world," he says.
PEOPLE OF THE LONGHOUSE ROOM TAKES STUDENTS BACK THROUGH TIME TO EARLY IROQUOIS HISTORY
Within the Longhouse of the Onondaga, Tadodaho calls the Grand Council of the Six Nations to order. As principal sachem of the Haudenosaunee, it is his job to keep order and pass discussion across the council fire from representatives of the "elder brothers," the Mohawk and Seneca; to sachems of the "younger brothers," the Oneida, Cayuga, and later, Tuscarora. Seated along two tiers of benches on three sides of the fire and surrounded by wampum belts, the Six Nations try to reach consensus on the business at hand.
It is as it was centuries ago, save for a few details: The benches are really tables made of modern composites, the fire and belts are ceramic, and Tadodaho's wearing sneakers.
Welcome to the People of the Longhouse Seminar Room in Maxwell's Eggers Hall, where students play the roles of Tadodaho and other council members in Professor Stephen Saunders Webb's History 330 class. "It was so different from any other class I've ever taken," says Paul Carr, a third-year student in The College of Arts and Sciences, who took the role of Tadodaho.
One of two special seminar spaces installed when Eggers was built in 1993, the People of the Longhouse Room honors the Haudenosaunee, also known as Iroquois. The room, which was recently dedicated thanks to the support of Maxwell alumnus John F. Cota '59, centers on a mosaic council fire designed by Freida Jacques '80, the Onondaga Turtle Clan clanmother. Mosaic wampum belts adorn the walls. "The room is wonderful for role-playing, partly because of the symbolism," Webb says. "With its decorations and seating, the room suggests to people they're dealing with a reality that's utterly different from their own. This is intellectual space travel."
After reading accounts of each of the Six Nations, students take on the identity of a historic council member. On class discussion days, which are conducted according to council protocol, students in character discuss issues the Haudenosaunee faced hundreds of years ago. "The students love the role-playing," Webb says "Most build a real sense of themselves as a representative of a part of the Iroquois past and they get deeply involved in it. They take a clan identification, master whatever that clan's traditional policy was, and begin to speak of themselves in terms of their council name."
Mohawk Daniel N. Honyoust '77, '88, G'94, a doctoral candidate in the humanities in The College of Arts and Sciences, took the course several years ago. He designed the room's mosaic wampum belts. Hoping one day to teach a similar course, he regularly sits in on classes. "Each of the nations has a different perspective on Iroquois history," he says. "That's perhaps one of the most valuable things about this classeach student realizes there's diversity even among the Iroquois."
Webb's approach goes beyond names and dates, getting the students more personally involved in the history, Honyoust says. "The students bring a post-modernist approach to it. He brings them back into the 18th, 17th, and 16th centuries. That's a heck of a trick."