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15 /

Minding the University Force of Globalization with Education

Dr. Jean Abshire, associate professor of both Political

Science and International Studies at IU Southeast, points

out that knowledge in international topics and cultural

diversity has become such an important issue in today’s

society that there is an International Studies degree.

This major spans multiple departments as it focuses on

classes in political science, history, and economics as well

as having a three-year foreign-language requirement.

Because of the diversity of required courses, International

Studies majors gain a global knowledge base in cultural,

social, and political norms. Dr. Abshire states that the

“Bachelor’s degree in

International Studies focuses

on the world and learning to

thrive in a globally diverse

environment.”

While there is an

International Studies major,

this does not mean that

education in international

topics is only for those

seeking education and

employment in the Political

Sciences. “Every major

is being affected by and

through the increasing global

collaboration,” Dr. Abshire

points out. “In the sciences this world collaboration is

facilitated by being able to have a Skype conversation

with another researcher across the globe on a mutual

project.” Business models are being shaped to include a

worldwide clientele while traditionally they addressed only

the narrow audience of those within the same country.

Increased communication and interconnection worldwide

are shaping the content of what is being studied.

“Literature is even affected. It is easier these days than it

ever was before to study the literature, both fiction and

nonfiction, of other cultures. I use novels in class because

they can be very useful in giving perspectives on the lives

and social norms in other cultures,” says Abshire.

Having an understanding of cultural differences, as well

as the local customs of an area, plays its part in marketing.

In Japan there is a highly popular trend known as ochobo,

or having a small and modest mouth. Due to this trend, it

is considered rude for a woman to open her mouth widely

while in public whether speaking, laughing, or eating.

Freshness Burger, a burger chain that operates in Japan,

did not realize the extent of this social norm and was

having a difficult time obtaining female customers. After

teaming up with marketing firm Ad Dentsu, which had

more knowledge of the Japanese social standards, a new

burger wrapper was conceived. This new wrapper has a

flap that lifts to cover the lower

half of the female consumer’s

face. On the flap is an image

of a woman’s nose and a petite

closed mouth. The wrapper

creates a form of mask which

allows the female clientele to

present ochobo while indulging

in popular cuisine. This piece of

knowledge and the invention of

the “Liberation Wrapper” raised

the chain’s sales to women by

over 200%. This is one example

of just how important it is to

be aware of and educated in

international and cultural norms.

Samtec, a privately held company headquartered in

New Albany, Indiana, understands the importance

of an international outreach. Since their founding in

1976, Samtec has grown to an over $500,000,000 a

year company. Having expanded their reach to include

locations in eighteen countries on five continents,

they are considered a world leader in the electronic

interconnect industry. Will Ouyang, director of technology

management, believes that an internationally diverse

education is important because “it is a relevant and

compelling challenge for businesses to do the things they

believe in, and do it while crossing the bounds defined

by time zones, languages, nationalities, cultures, and

geographical locations.” Ouyang points to a quote on

Increased

communication

and

interconnection

worldwide are

shaping the

content of what

is being studied.