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August 16, 2002

 School of Business boasts
rich mix of international faculty

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. Students in Indiana State University’s School of Business are getting more of a global perspective these days – and they’re getting it first hand.

The school’s faculty hails from a dozen countries and students and educators say they welcome the diversity.

“Preparing people in business who have a broad global perspective is certainly important,” said university President Lloyd W. Benjamin III.

“Terre Haute and western Indiana aren’t exactly the melting pot of the world,” said Ron Green, dean of the School of Business. “It’s important that students who are primarily from this region have a chance to interact more with faculty that have different views on life, different views on the business world. It allows them to understand how different cultures think. They understand more about how international business actually operates.”

Aruna Chandra, assistant professor of management, grew up in India and was educated in a British school by Irish Catholic nuns. She went on to study in America and wrote her first dissertation about a Frenchman. She’s worked with multi-national executives, done consulting work in Mexico and has visited 14 countries.

“I consider myself a citizen of the world,” said Chandra, a U.S. resident for 19 years and an American citizen for 12 years.

“There’s no question having a global perspective is important to students,” said Chandra, who recently wrote a book about the opportunities for U.S. businesses in India. “Even a small business in Vigo County has to consider the world its market.

“There are rich opportunities to be tapped into, but the businesses need that awareness and understanding of this market, and if our students are not educated in the global perspective they’re not going to be willing to go out into other countries and other cultures.”

Having international faculty members in business schools is “part of the new paradigm of global business teaching,” said Eric Girard, assistant professor of finance.

Girard, who is from France, served as scientific attaché for the French embassy in Bangkok, Thailand.

In his classes, Girard puts “a lot of emphasis on building not only a general domestic culture in business but also a global culture in business.”

With business ethics now getting a good deal of attention, it is especially important for students to learn about insider trading rules that vary from one nation to another and “even tax differentials that make a market more or less attractive,” said Girard. “This is something that is definitely addressed in my class.”

Having international faculty such as Girard has “been very helpful. It’s pretty interesting, actually, when you have a professor from a different country. You learn a lot more, I think,” said Sean Armstrong, a senior from New Palestine.

“It’s very important so that we have a taste of what people are supposed to be like in different cultures,” said Gina Kerr, a marketing major from Plainfield.

Faculty members such as Chandra and Girard can function as “switchers,” said Gaston Fernandez, executive director of ISU’s International Affairs Center. “They can facilitate, or turn on, the connections that would help our community in terms of bridging … the cultural differences between different societies.”

International faculty members also often take the lead in advising and working with international students, Fernandez noted.

“They both see the value of having an international presence on our campus, nourishing that presence and helping that presence be more beneficial to all students and to the whole community. Having our international faculty at Indiana State University is a resource and making use of that resource is absolutely crucial.”


Ron Green, dean, School of Business,
(812) 237-2000 or

Dave Taylor, assistant director of Public Affairs
(812) 237-3743 or

ISU Public Affairs:
(812) 237-3773 or