Jacksonville News

The following is a story that I wrote that appeared in the October 1 edition of the Jacksonville News, the local newspaper:

Dr. William A. Meehan: Jax State reaches out to Asia

Over the past 20 years, Asia has been growing substantially in importance throughout the world with respect to their economies, population, and political influence.

This was illustrated in spectacular fashion at the Olympics that recently concluded in China and is a reason why Asia has been an important target of recent international partnerships efforts at JSU.

These opportunities for the JSU community include student and faculty exchanges, joint degree programs, as well as other research and project collaboration possibilities.

Dr. Guillermo Francia, III of the Department of Mathematical, Computing, and Information Sciences (MCIS), who was part of a delegation that traveled to China this summer to promote JSU and initiate collaborative academic programs, feels that developing educational partnerships with Asian institutions will bring JSU “to the forefront of an active movement that provides educational initiatives to the service of a ‘flatter world.’ These academic partnerships are a step towards JSU’s goal of meeting the educational needs of students in a rapidly advancing global society.”

Dr. Andrew Ciganek, also from the MCIS department, sees an opportunity for JSU in Asia after recently returning from teaching MBA classes, conducting research, and initiating partnership discussions in Thailand.

“I have heard from several Thai administrators that felt that American universities, unlike others throughout the world, have not pursued productive relationships with them,” he said. “Consequently, JSU can distinguish itself though lasting partnerships that will enhance our international reputation, which began in 1946 with the founding of the International House.”

Dr. Ciganek reflected on a few of the experiences he had over the summer in Thailand, which is commemorating 175 years of diplomatic relations with the United States this year. “Learning and teaching in a foreign country was the quickest way for me to both understand and appreciate cultural differences,” he said. “For example, Thai students typically do not like to challenge authority, which is considered disrespectful.

“This caused problems as students were unwilling to let me know if I was speaking too quickly or if they were unclear about content that I covered in class.

“So instead of enforcing the same expectations I have for my students in the US or teaching the same content that I teach American students, I adapted my style and my comfort zone to match the needs of the Thai students.”

For a JSU student, many of which rarely leave Calhoun County, living and learning in a different country brings new abilities and experiences in assimilating to a culture very different from their own.

These skills are essential for our students as our local economy becomes increasingly global and shaped by Asian influences, as evidenced by the recent influx of major manufacturers such as Honda and Hyundai.

Such skills cannot be imparted from a textbook or by “Googling” them online.

If we want our students to be successful in business with other countries, they need to understand those cultures. International partnerships are just one way that JSU is providing that crucial experience that will serve them well long into their professional lives.

Dr. Andrew P. Ciganek, Assistant Professor of Computer Information Systems, contributed to this article. 


2 Responses to “Jacksonville News”

  1. Lou Says:

    So what your saying is Asians are going to take over the world!
    Just kidding, very nice paper. It sounds so prestigious. You said you wrote it but it says at the end that you only contributed to the article? Anyways, I hope dad’s visit is still going well. Do me a favor and break the news to him that I did not cover his tomatoes so he can complaint to you. Well this week is going to be a short one for the kids. Only school until wednesday, but I have meetings Thurs Fri and Sat. Oh well its all part of the job I guess. I hope everyone is getting excited for the holidays. Who could guess that Stephanie is already. I am already thinking about what stores to visit the day after thanksgivng. Hopefully, this year you both or at least one of you will be able to go out on the hunt we me. Thats about all I got. Talk to you later.

  2. Janette Says:

    I think Steph is starting to nest now that she feels better. It’s funny because now that she can concentrate on things again, she is starting to remember that she’s going to have to start all over with night feedings and changing diapers!
    Things are going well here. I just took Kaitlyn for her 3 month pictures this morning and can’t wait to get them to everyone! It’s funny how Abby took like an hour to get hers done because every time they coaxed a smile out of her, she had to lift her feet in to the air too. Katie took about 20 minutes. Talk about an easy one to get a smile out of! I told Jeremy he had to pick up the pictures when they came in because the place is notorius for conveniently having “extras” of the shots/sizes you didn’t pick.
    Have a great day, great article to sum up your summer for others to read. Hopefully the right people read it and get involved in your cause!
    p.s. I can’t believe you’ve written just about NOTHING with your visitor!!

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