New Opportunities For SF State's College of Business
School is awarded largest grant in history of college
August 30, 2005 2:21 PM
A federal Business International Education grant awarded to SF State’s College of Business is creating cutting-edge educational projects and practical learning opportunities for business students and faculty.
The $191,544 grant is the largest in the history of SF State’s College of Business, and will be used over the next two years to invest in programs that provide students with hands-on business education with small, family owned wineries in California.
The College of Business plans to use the grant money to provide faculty and graduate student resources to help small wineries with their marketing problems and international trade endeavors. Students and faculty will assist with data collecting, research and consulting, especially in the area of international trade.
“It’s a great training ground for students and faculty,” said Richard Castaldi, professor of business management and co-director of the grant. “We can apply some of the knowledge we’ve learned in the classroom and get experiential education in the field.”
Castaldi said the business school has been concentrating on the wine industry because of the prevalence of wineries in California, many of which are small, family owned operations that can use help with marketing and international trade endeavors.
“Here is an industry that is virtually in our backyard,” said Castaldi. “And it provides a unique learning opportunity for our faculty and students.”
According to the Wine Institute, an organization devoted to California wineries, 95 percent of the nation’s wine is produced in California at more than 1500 wineries.
“There aren’t many industries that are so concentrated in one area,” said Castaldi. “Where the California wine industry goes, the U.S. wine industry goes.”
California wineries shipped a record 428 million gallons of wine to the U.S. in 2004, and accounted for about two out of every three bottles sold in the nation.
A recent Supreme Court decision that allows wine-makers to ship their products anywhere in the U.S. will significantly bolster the program’s effectiveness and potential, said Castaldi.
Faculty members from four departments- management, information systems, marketing and decision sciences- drafted the grant proposal and will lead the project.
The grant will be divided and allotted to a number of projects. Some of the projects are designed to be academic in nature and further the College of Business by providing educational resources, and a series of outreach projects that are aimed at helping the College become more connected with the business community and enhancing the trade capabilities of the local wineries.
One project, developed by Professor of Decision Sciences Susan Cholette, will use data gathered from the wineries to create “cutting-edge” software that will match small wineries with distributors that will fit their unique distribution requirements. Cholette hopes the project will encourage small wineries to export their products.
Another project - headed by Professor of Marketing Mahmood Hussain - will focus on building a curriculum and knowledge base of Southeastern Asia, which Castaldi said has become a “hot-bed business area” that has been largely neglected by the College’s international business curriculum. Plans have been introduced for a series of marketing courses that will focus on the marketing practices and culture of the area.
“There’s no reason why people in Japan shouldn’t be able to enjoy Californian wine,” said Cholette.
“We’re going to help them with pretty much anything they need help with for the next two years,” said Castaldi.
The Business and International Education grant program, operated by the U.S. Department of Education aims to “provide funds to institutions of higher education that enter into an agreement with a trade association and/or business to improve the academic teaching of the business curriculum and to conduct outreach activities that expand the capacity of the business community to engage in international economic activities,” according to the Department of Education’s website.
The grant is a 50-50 matching contribution grant, meaning the College must match each dollar contributed by the Department of Education. The grant is the fourth of its kind received by the SF State College of Business, totaling more than 750,000 dollars in federal funds.
While the wine companies are not paying for the resources provided by the College, they are providing students with time, resources, and valuable and educational information about their business operations.
The program provides the faculty with many research opportunities to collect data, study it, and then write papers and case studies for academic journals and textbooks which will then be used to educate SF State business students. The exposure may create additional jobs for graduates as well, agrees Castaldi and Cholette.
“It enhances our professional development, it enhances the reputation of the College of Business, and it enhances the reputation of SF State within our business community,” said Castaldi. “Not to mention the hands-on practical education being provided to our students.”
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