|EDITOR'S NOTE: BP Ledger carries items for reader information each week from various Southern Baptist-related entities, and news releases of interest from other sources. The items are published as received.
Today's BP Ledger contains items from:
Oklahoma Baptist University (2 items)
WORLD on Campus
OBU graduate school students gain global perspective in China
SHAWNEE, Okla. (Oklahoma Baptist University) -- In a world where information is immediate and technology changes at a supersonic speed, a global mindset is mandatory for successful business ventures. At the Oklahoma Baptist University Graduate School, an international business practicum in East Asia was an integral part of the curriculum for current MBA candidates.
Eighteen students working toward masters of business administration degrees through the OBU Graduate School traveled to Shanghai, Hangzhou and Beijing, China, July 7-15, to expand their business worldviews through the practicum. Led by adjunct professor Trish Zylstra, the group interacted with executives from international companies in China to learn how to conduct business on the international stage.
"Being that now just about every company and organization has some form of international makeup, this trip forced us to consider the international aspects of our industries and our world," said Scott Timmons, an MBA student from Shawnee, Okla. "China is especially unique due to its size, presence on the world stage, and a thought process that is very much foreign to Western thought."
Rubbing shoulders with executives and learning the cultural customs of the country offered the students an opportunity to discover what it would be like to conduct business transactions in a foreign country. They experienced firsthand both the benefits and drawbacks of international business.
"The purpose of the trip was to help students apply their book knowledge in the international business arena by visiting companies in China and exploring the possible ways to do business with China in their industry," Zylstra said. "On the trip, students learn business by doing business. They exchange business cards, meet prospective clients and begin forming relationships with Chinese executives."
Students visited several companies - including Siemens Medical Equipment, Inventronics, Taomee Entertainment Network and the ELS Language Center - and met with multiple executives while in China. The students also were introduced to local culture, food, transportation methods, markets and business etiquette during the practicum. They traveled on a high-speed train from Shanghai to Beijing and climbed the Great Wall.
During the trip, the students met with OBU President David W. Whitlock, who was traveling with executives from the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma to lead business workshops and meet with executives and entrepreneurs in China. The OBU students participated in a one-day business conference in Beijing and heard a business lecture from Whitlock. After the conference, they sampled Beijing's famous Peking duck. The menu included tofu, jellyfish, duck, vegetables and fried scorpions.
"One of the highlights of my trip was connecting with our MBA students in Beijing," Dr. Whitlock said. "Engaging directly with students is among my favorite activities, and spending time with them was a great opportunity."
Zylstra created an "Amazing Race" style exercise in Beijing in which the students utilized all modes of available transportation and visited business highlights in a contest involving speed and budgetary constraints. For MBA student Jonna Raney, from Shawnee, Okla., the exercise proved to be the most interesting and most culturally educational part of the trip.
"We had several places that we had to find as teams, and we had to use all modes of public transportation and communicate with locals for directions and information," Raney said. "It gave us a good understanding of what it would be like to live in Beijing as part of the minority population."
Zylstra, who owns an international business and education company called The Harvest Abroad, said the international business practicum is a unique component of the OBU Graduate School's MBA program.
"Very few programs assist students in traveling internationally to get a hands-on understanding of the global economy," Zylstra said. "The Oklahoma Baptist University Graduate School offers a distinctive (aspect) by providing students the opportunity to travel internationally to understand international business."
Timmons said from a professional standpoint, the trip forced him to think bigger than he has thought before.
"One restaurant in which we ate appeared to have approximately 4,000 people eating at a time," he said, noting there is a difference in understanding the concept of large numbers and the reality of seeing such economic growth firsthand. "In Shanghai, it felt as though there were a thousand skyscrapers, and in one place I counted 20 cranes building new skyscrapers."
He said the magnitude of the surroundings was matched by the willing spirit of the Chinese people to work with businesses in the United States. While the two countries' governments might not see eye-to-eye at a macro level, Timmons said on a personal level, the Chinese businesspeople offered a welcoming spirit open to collaboration with Americans in the business world.
As the owner of Extreme Inflatables in Shawnee, Timmons said the experience provided him with multiple business ideas and granted him the confidence that he is capable of making international business transactions happen as a result of the trip. The journey was an invaluable asset from his MBA studies at OBU, he said, as the global marketplace does not appear to be shrinking anytime soon.
"This business trip sets our MBA program apart," said Dr. Scott Harris, director of the OBU Graduate School. "It truly allows students to learn about international business up close and personal rather than from a cold textbook. Whether our MBA students engage in international business directly after graduation or not, their perspective on business is never the same, and that makes them a valuable asset to their companies."
The cohort of MBA students will graduate with their degrees during OBU's December Commencement ceremony, with completion of all coursework slated for next Spring.
With campuses in Shawnee, Okla., and Oklahoma City, OBU offers 10 bachelor's degrees with 84 fields of study and two master's degree programs. The Christian liberal arts university has an overall enrollment of 1,871, with students from 37 states and 27 other countries. OBU has been rated as one of the top 10 comprehensive colleges in the West by U.S. News and World Report for 20 consecutive years and has been Oklahoma's highest rated comprehensive college in the U.S. News rankings for 18 consecutive years. For 2011-12, Forbes.com ranked OBU as the top university in Oklahoma.
NOTE: Two tributes to the late Calvin Miller follow.
"Mostly Edges: A Tribute to Calvin Miller"
By Christian George
SHAWNEE, Okla. (Oklahoma Baptist University) -- It is said that God is not tethered to any one place, but some places are tethered to God. The Celts called these places "thin" where the edges of heaven blur into the edges of earth. To those who knew him best and loved him most, Calvin Miller was a man who found his forte in the thin places. Places like Iona, Scotland, where turquoise-bathed hills echo millennia of island prayers and hymns. And Santa Fe, New Mexico, where cracking clay steeples pierce blood-orange sunsets above. Calvin loved these places, he painted these places, and for one who believed that "life is mostly edges," his pilgrimage through this world proved to be one of curiosity and unrestrained creativity.
At least that's how I've come to know him. As the end of his journey coincided with the beginning of mine, I'll never forget his warning to resist the temptation of disentangling theology from art, for "God is an artist," he reminded me. I always admired how, in the tradition of C.S. Lewis, Calvin could with one hand deliver a lecture on the fundamentals of homiletics, while with the other incarnate his thoughts into a book that children could easily digest. How well he did the incarnation thing! As a friend he was never without an encouraging word; as a critic his honesty was matched only by his insight and experience. The kaleidoscope of memories with him abound: painting until 3 o'clock in the morning, playing Gershwin side by side at the piano, watching Jackie Chan movies until we almost "got into trouble" by doing kung fu moves like spider-monkeys in his living room.
But perhaps the most enduring memories I possesses with Calvin occurred in those quiet moments -- those garden moments -- when, between the pregnant doldrums of our conversations, he taught me how to think of things that really mattered. Things like the brevity of this world and the eternality of the world to come. That the way up is the way down - for decrease is more precious to God than increase. And that God doesn't just want part of me - he wants all of me, for it's in the little things that the secrets of the kingdom can be found.
And so I can't help but wonder, during this, his first full week in paradise, just how Calvin Miller is spending his time. I'd like to think he's painting with colors he's never used, dancing to songs he's never heard, joking with people he never thought would make it there, and, most importantly, praising the God who, in his graciousness, shared with us for a little while a man of whom this world was unworthy. Calvin, as you venture from this edge to the next, may your thin place be ever thick with blessings, love, and worship!
I once scorned every fearful thought of death,
When it was but the end of pulse and breath.
But now my eyes have seen that past the pain
There is a world that's waiting to be claimed.
Earthmaker, Holy, let me now depart,
For living's such a temporary art.
And dying is but getting dressed for God,
Our graces are merely doorways in sod.
-- Calvin Miller, The Divine Symphony
Christian George is assistant professor of Biblical and theological studies and the Jewell and Joe Huitt Professor of Religious Education at Oklahoma Baptist University.
Thank You Calvin Miller
By Michael Duduit
ANDERSON, S.C. (Anderson University) -- Even though we rejoice when a beloved friend passes from this life into the presence of the Lord, from our human perspective we sorrow at their loss. That is the way I feel at the loss of our dear brother Calvin Miller.
Calvin passed away unexpectedly Aug. 19 after complications from heart surgery. I was shocked -- I had only recently been corresponding with him about upcoming articles for his regular column in Preaching, and he was scheduled this fall to speak for my Master of Ministry preaching class and then to preach in chapel for us at Anderson University. But all of our plans are dependent on the greater plan of the Father, and in His knowledge and providence He had other plans for Calvin Miller. Continued...