UTEP’s College of Business Administration (COBA) has been named the winner of the Southwestern Business Deans’ Association (SWBDA) 2019 Bobby G. Bizzell Innovative Achievement Award.
The award recognized COBA’s efforts in creating high-impact study abroad experiences that are accessible to students of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds.
The award submission focused on a 2018 study abroad experience at the University of West of England, Bristol in the United Kingdom. Erik Devos, Ph.D., finance professor and COBA associate dean for faculty development, accepted the award on behalf of the college.
The trip was one of the first of several organized by the college for undergraduate students. Subsequent trips have taken COBA students to Ireland, Italy, Peru and China.
Undergraduate COBA students enrolled in the global business class had the opportunity to travel to Bristol, England, for a weeklong program that included lectures, tours of manufacturing centers and museum visits.
Containing the trip to one week enabled students to take part in an educational and transformative experience that is more accessible than a semester-long program.
The students were able to apply for scholarships, and the course did not require extra credit hours, which kept the students on track with their degree completion.
“It doesn’t really take them away too long from their work, and it doesn’t take them away from their families, which is important to our students,” Devos said. “It kept it really as affordable as possible.”
Devos, who accompanied the group in Bristol, said that the award recognized the impact that international study has on UTEP students, some of whom had never left the El Paso-Juárez region.
“Going to Europe is a big deal, experiencing another culture, another currency, different people,” he said. “When you read students’ reflections (after the trip), it is powerful.”
As part of the first-place award, the college will receive $1,500 that will be used to further enhance the international experiences of COBA students.
The award, which recognizes innovative excellence in management education among colleges of business in the region, was presented at SWBDA’s annual meeting in June in Santa Fe, N.M.