PROVO, Utah — The U.S. Department of Education awarded Brigham Young University a four-year grant worth $1.4 million to continue its work as a Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER). The grant allows BYU to work with other centers across the nation to improve international business and language courses.

Brooke Derr, executive director of the Marriott School’s Global Management Center, spent last summer drafting the proposal with help from center staffers and BYU associate professor Kristie Seawright. According to Derr, some of the key factors in winning the grant include an extensive offering of business language courses, BYU’s geographic location and several proposed
programs.

BYU offers 11 upper-level business language courses that place the school at the head of the nation in this category. In an effort to stay on the cutting edge, BYU is working with Michigan State University and the University of Texas at Austin to develop courses in Turkish and Arabic.

“We want to not only be good at languages, but because we have so many people who have lived abroad, we really want to be good at culture,” Derr said. “We are developing an instrument to measure cultural competency, to demonstrate that students not only speak a language, but will actually be able to effectively conduct business in a different region of the world.”

The grant also allows BYU to create other programs that could be implemented at schools across the nation. One such program would make BYU a national resource for international business ethics.

Seawright, who drafted portions of the proposal, explained BYU’s role in creating course outlines and materials for the ethics program.

“We have international expertise that many other schools don’t have, as well as support from Marriott School administrators to become a center for ethics and for training ethical business managers,” she said. “There are ethical issues that come up in international business settings that don’t come up in domestic business, and we can help other schools identify and teach these issues.”

More than 30 CIBER schools nationwide work together to help train other colleges and universities about international business issues. This year, more than 100 schools applied for the CIBER status.