July 15, 2013
Drury’s Breech School of Business’s Mission Statement is, “Preparing ethical leaders for the global business community.”
The “global” part of that mission statement is much more than just words for Breech faculty and students. All of Drury’s business majors must participate in a study abroad experience, the purpose of which is to increase students’ intercultural competence. “Ultimately, we want our students to thrive in a variety of environments. A big part of this is learning to recognize cultural variations and to respond appropriately,” said Dr. Robin Sronce, associate professor of management at Drury.
However, the cost to study abroad can be considerable when tuition, program costs and travel expenses are all added together.
In the spring of 2012, Dr. Sronce’s project management class set out to help their peers pay for this enriching requirement. The class conceived and designed study abroad scholarships, and presented the idea to the Breech Advisory Board and Drury’s Office of Alumni and Development. Once the class had the go-ahead, it raised $2,000 from faculty, students and Advisory Board members. Then, over the next year, enough was raised to award three $2,500 scholarships.
In the spring of 2013, Dr. Sronce’s Project Management class built on what the 2012 class had started to help their peers afford a study abroad experience. The class conceived and organized a golf tournament at Millwood Golf and Racquet Club. Between golf fees, sponsorships and donations, the class quadrupled their fundraising goal, coming up with $10,000.
Senior-to-be Brooke Hickman was one of the project leaders for the golf tournament. On the day of the tournament, while Hickman was working, the scholarship committee voted to award Hickman one of the $2500 scholarships to study in Rome earlier this summer.
“It was a huge surprise. I had planned to take a study abroad trip for a little more than a year, I had saved most of the money, but it was a struggle,” Hickman said. “I applied for the scholarship and hoped for the best. It was nice that my work paid off and helped me a little bit, too.”
And the experience overseas put Hickman well on her way to intercultural competence, “It gave me a better understanding of how other cultures operate. I’m prepared to work with people who have different beliefs and come from different cultures. You can’t learn in the classroom what I learned by being surrounded by the culture,” Hickman said.
While the focus continues to be on current students’ need, there is a study abroad scholarship fund raising committee that hopes to raise enough money to endow these scholarships for the future.
Story by Mark Miller, associate director of marketing and communication at Drury.