Cross-cultural program uses innovative teaching methodology

Sept. 24, 2017 at 10:24 p.m.
Updated Sept. 25, 2017 at 6 a.m.

Jifu Wang, a UHV associate management professor

Jifu Wang, a UHV associate management professor   Contributed Photo for The Victoria Advocate

Jifu Wang

Scholars have been pondering for a long time now about how to reform and innovate university teaching.

How to most effectively combine management science with economic development practice and how to integrate theories concerning government management and enterprise management are urgent tasks for teaching business administration majors.

If there is no change in teaching innovation in business education, business administration teaching will be shackled in a traditional teaching model. This will result in being disconnected from practice and the real business world and gradually losing its application value and meaning of existence.

When designing the University of Houston-Victoria study abroad program in China, we decided to walk out of the classroom and out of campus. A distinguishing feature of the program is it emphasizes resources and capabilities as the foundation for competitive advantage. We introduced that concept using a resource-based approach as a practical and useful tool of strategy analysis.

This program is an application course that will build real managerial muscles because it offers a more integrated and systematic approach to the identification and appraisal of resources and capabilities. The course "Leadership Management: Comparison and Application Between the East and the West" also draws on recent contributions to literature to discuss how firms can create and develop organizational capabilities.

There were four partners involved in running the program: The UHV School of Business Administration; School of Government at the Central University of Finance and Economics; College of Business at the University of International Business and Economics; and Sanzhu Group, a manufacturer of pharmaceutical, health and cosmetic products.

Chinese and U.S. students from business and government got together to learn from each other since these are two sides of the same coin in modern society. Business executives and government officials need to know each other's business for effective and efficient operations since firms are the cornerstones for the very existence of business schools and public schools.

For this reason, we have two big firms participating in the program: Airtech Asia Ltd., one of the most successful U.S. manufacturers in China, and Sanzhu Group, one of the most successful Chinese private firms. The pilot program was done in China in 2013 with five UHV Master of Business Administration students and 15 Master of Public Administration and doctoral students from the School of Government at the Central University of Finance and Economics in Beijing. UHV students participating in the program in 2014 grew to 29, and now a total of 66 have gone through the program.

Chinese businessman Bingxin Wu and his wife, Shuqin Feng, have donated the capital to establish the Wu-Feng Center for International Business at UHV. Wu offers funding for the program, which is contributing to continuously deepening our innovative educational practice, enriching theories and accumulating practical experiences for generating results.

This innovative study abroad program has profound significance for both China and the U.S. So far, four of the 66 participants have found jobs in China.

Jifu Wang is a management professor in the UHV School of Business Administration.


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