About CIBER at Florida International University

Florida International University's Center for International Business Education and Research (FIU CIBER) was formally FIU established in October, 1995, with the help of our Advisory Council and some financial support from the U.S. Department of Education. We deliver unique curricular, research, and outreach programs in a cost-effective way to advance FIU's agenda of international teaching, research and outreach. Our purpose is to make our various stakeholders--students, faculty, university community, South Florida business community and residents--more competitive in the global economy. We strive to promote U.S. competitiveness and to be a local and regional resource for ensuring that the U.S. is globally competitive.

As the first CIBER in the state of Florida, we have attempted to create programs that become self-supporting. We therefore see our Center as a valuable resource not just for people in South Florida, but also for those in contiguous states interested in forming partnerships for faculty development and outreach (primarily to Latin America). Moreover, we are a national and international resource in terms of our expertise in the Caribbean and Latin America. We helped craft the Summit of the Americas in 1995 with FIU's Latin American and Caribbean Center--which is the only one of its kind in the country.

Our programs are geared to an ethnically diverse international community. Since Miami itself serves as a gateway between North and South America, it boasts one of the largest trading centers in the U.S. and enjoys a rich, multicultural environment. FIU reflects this rich diversity. Our students are 51.12% Hispanic (including European Hispanic), 23.4% White, 14.0% of African American descent, 7.66% International, and 3.6% Asian. Our mandate from the State of Florida is to create Centers of Excellence, of which FIU CIBER is one.

We have endeavored to deliver programs emphasizing ways we can help our diverse community ensure its global competitiveness through international business education and research programs. We think we've achieved much since our inception--not just at the local and regional levels, but also at the national and international levels.

FIU's College of Business Administration recently has received strong support from major, local multinational donors (e.g., Knight Ridder and Ryder). The College has received funding to support the hiring of several endowed professorships--in its Knight Ridder Center for Excellence in Management and in its Ryder Center for Logistics, to name a few.

CIBER funding is extremely helpful in supporting research, curriculum and faculty development, and outreach programs that enhance our goals of internationalization and of fostering U.S. competitiveness. CIBER awards Faculty Research Grants to the faculty involved in international research with preference to those whose research mirrors CIBER's Congressional mandates listed below:

  • Collaborative programs, activities, or research involving other institutions of higher education, local educational agencies, professional associations, businesses, firms or combinations to promote the development of international skills and awareness.
  • Research designed to strengthen and improve the international aspects of business and professional education and to promote integrated curricula.
  • Research designed to promote the international competitiveness of American businesses and firms, including those not currently active in international trade.
  • Interdisciplinary programs which incorporate foreign languages and international studies and training into business and other professional curricula.
  • Interdisciplinary programs which provide business and other professional training for foreign language and international studies faculty and degree candidates.
  • Programs, such as intensive language, available to members of the business community and other professionals.
  • Programs or activities focused on homeland security and US international competitiveness issues.
  • Innovative approaches to improving the teaching of foreign languages in a business or professional context, including the less commonly taught languages.

Meeting our Goals:

The hallmark of a good learning organization is its ability to generate good ideas and then to extend those ideas across boundaries (of space, time, geography, direction and position.) Our programs have significant impact at all levels. FIU CIBER supports a unique combination of academic, research and outreach programs that help business, government and academic communities operate effectively in the global business environment. We will continue our successful activities, eliminate activities that have already accomplished their objectives, and implement strategically-designed new activities that are directly responsive to the needs identified in South Florida and in the nation.

More specifically, we will continue our geographic emphasis on Latin America and the Caribbean, since we have a competitive advantage here. We will extend some of our programs in Europe and continue our expansion into the emerging markets of Asia and Southeast Asia.

Academic Programs:

Academically, our overall philosophy is to expand international expertise among our students, our faculty, and participants in our development programs. A few examples that attest to the breadth of FIU CIBER's activities in achieving its academic mission include:

  • The Enterprise Development in a Global Economy (EDGE┬«) Executive MBA Program
  • The International MBA
  • The College's new Global Logistics curriculum
  • The Knight Ridder Center for Excellence in Management courses
  • The international business plan competition
  • The Spanish-taught Latin American Business Certificate program
  • The Study Abroad program
  • The teaching of different languages across the curriculum program
  • Language programs for faculty
  • The international business minor for language majors
  • The IB course for local high schools, and
  • The partnership with the World Trade Center of Florida to deliver an innovative study abroad program.

Research Programs:

We support thematic research emphasizing the following topics:

  • Global competitiveness.
  • Global Logistics and Research Support for One Community One Goal--a project designed to foster targeted. international industry growth in South Florida.
  • International Best Practices in Human Resource Management Consortium--a research project awarded the 1997 Award of Excellence in Innovation in International Research Methodology by the American Society of Competitiveness.
  • International Entrepreneurship--which grew out of the first CIBER funding cycle.
  • International Business Ethics research--which also grew from the first FIU CIBER funding for research.

Accordingly, we highlight research focused on international logistics, international competitiveness, international trade and development, and international management. We also have several projects that emphasize international ethics and environmental issues, one of which focuses on ethics abuses in different national cultures and on the implications of these abuses for international business.

Another project looks at how community discourse influences a nation's disclosure and reporting systems related to toxic chemicals released into the environment. A project endorsed by the United Nations, the World Wildlife Fund, the Chemical Manufacturers Association and the OECD, this research has increasing national and international competitiveness as its hallmark.

We also target international logistics research, since it is directly related to U.S. competitiveness in that most U.S. companies and other MNEs are seeking to find ways to deliver the right products in the right quantity to the right place at the right time. Research is still in its infancy on international logistics and physical distribution management, and we see this research as contributing to FIU CIBER's mission of increasing U.S. competitiveness.

Probably the most critical to U.S. business is our research initiative for the One Community One Goal effort. Rosabeth M. Kanter, in her book, World Class-Thriving Locally in a Global Economy, cited Miami and FIU's CIBER extensively for their original research in this project. That research lead directly to a Miami Task Force, which again drew upon FIU CIBER for data/research on how to make Miami more competitive. We will continue to provide research support to this project for the foreseeable future. Our work engages our local community directly by providing research resources for Miami's quest to achieve targeted job growth and international competitiveness.

Outreach Programs:

FIU CIBER's service to the business community is directed toward executives and companies in Miami and South Florida as well as to those in the Southern U.S.

Our Western Hemisphere Business Outlook project, in which we partner with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the World Trade Center, is designed to promote business acumen and identify business opportunities through insights provided by senior commercial officers, business people, and academic thought-leaders from around the world. Patterned after the hugely successful Asia Pacific Business Outlook sponsored by the Commercial Service and USC's CIBEAR, this outreach program also is designed to foster U.S. competitiveness.

We intend to promote an "International Business Day" during which we will grant an "International Businessperson of the Year" award and sponsor panel discussions on trade policy by Japanese, European, U.S. and Latin American executives.

Although our outreach usually is targeted toward the business community, some of the FIU CIBER initiatives target other constituents. In one program, for example, we target the Historically Black Colleges and Universities to help their Deans and Faculty improve their international business skills and teaching capabilities. Further, we offer management development for executives and some of the programs (e.g., the Latin American Business Certificate) are delivered in Spanish. Some are conducted offshore with our collaborating universities in Latin America. These outreach programs are designed to enhance the knowledge and skills of U.S. executives operating abroad. A crossover program that has outreach implications is the EMBA, in which we offer an optional study abroad program for executives.

Among the most impactful of the outreach programs we propose to deliver involves using the Internet to provide access to previously unavailable trade data. Heralded by the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Business Week and others as a momentous breakthrough in analyzing international trade data, the two researchers responsible for this effort are proposing to go on-line with this information by the summer of 1999.

The Global Public Affairs project, the IB Forum, the International Consortium on Governmental Financial Management and the development of materials for local high schools are other components of our outreach programs. All are designed to provide executives and other academic outreach recipients with language training, study abroad programs, insights into national trade information, opportunities for the international exchange of information, and news about trade promotion opportunities.

FIU CIBER Management:

Under the guidance of our Advisory Council and in consultation with the CIBER Director, FIU CIBER is uniquely positioned to operate in a cost-effective and productive manner. Supported by an executive director now, we have almost half of the faculty and students of the College of Business Administration engaged in some type of international CIBER-related activity.

CIBER has become a magnet for FIU's internationally-focused faculty and promises to become a model for other universities in the Florida State System. Thus, FIU CIBER plays a vital role in international business education and research. With the continued support of the Department of Education, we will engage in what we believe is our mission to create an international education capability for our students, faculty and business community and to enhance the global competitiveness of our city, region, state, and country.