TTU's World Cultures Program Rated "Best" by National Association

Helping students prepare to work in the international economic community has earned Tennessee Technological University national recognition for its new "World Cultures and Business" degree program.

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities has named the bachelor's program in its annual list of "best practices," a compilation of the nation's top 100 programs deemed to be most effective in meeting societal needs, student demands and advances in knowledge.

"We began officially offering the major in the summer of 1998, but we already have upperclassmen who have entered the program and are doing domestic and international internships to develop their knowledge and skill in the international marketplace," said program director Eston Evans.

The only World Cultures and Business degree in the state, Tennessee Tech's newest bachelor's degree program is interdisciplinary, blending humanities with international finance and economics. Course requirements include international finance, management and marketing, and foreign languages, history and world studies electives such as literature.

"We are able to tailor internships to fit the needs of our students," said Evans. "One student, who is multi-lingual, has chosen to spend a semester with a local company, Tutco, which deals with several companies and clients abroad. Another is scheduled to study in the Netherlands during the next school year. Other students will be able to arrange foreign internships or 'study abroad' opportunities to meet their interests."

Tennessee Tech consulted the marketplace to ensure that its program's courses would produce students prepared to face the reality of international commerce. College of Business Dean Robert Bell and other faculty members held a number of focus groups with employers and other business leaders. Bell says corporate leaders unanimously emphasized the need for continuous strengthening of international perspectives.

"Graduates will work in many different settings, and most business students will work in an international framework," said Bell. "Their markets will be worldwide, and their competitors will come from all over the world. Many of their employers - even if they're located in Nashville, Carthage or Gainesboro - will be international corporations."

At an AASCU meeting in November, the association highlighted Tennessee Tech's World Cultures program as well as programs from other universities to illustrate that many state colleges and universities have responded to calls from policymakers and others for more efficiency and accountability.

AASCU is a Washington-based higher education association of more than 425 public colleges and universities and higher education systems across the United States and the U.S. territories.