Battling the Virus Strengthens Education

The coronavirus is the firing pin for major innovations.  In many educational institutions, less than half of the customary study time is invested in this year’s academic spring semester. There is some distance learning, but in many instances, the faculty is very much dependent on technology which they learn from students rather than the traditional reverse flow. 

We give you here an article written by two Michael Czinkotas dealing with the same issue: one is Professor in the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, the other is the nephew, a student with most experience gathered in Germany. Here we go: 

The virus brings rapid innovation to the education industry. Just consider that traditionally, the entire sector has not distinguished itself with high-speed change. A debate on the cost of tuition was strongly buttressed by the biblical anecdote of the young Jesus Christ ejecting the money changers from the temple. That event was two thousand years ago.

In the university sector, if one could implement time travel for professors and their students, they could be safely delivered to a university town and be rapidly functional in their work. There still remains the amphitheater seating of chairs. There is the black or white board to communicate information. There is the professor upfront moving from one room side to the other, while students take notes or raise their hand indicating readiness for comment. 

Any changes to this model require approval by at least four faculty committees, each one of which needs substantial time to investigate the potential repercussions of alterations. Then there are reviews by board members, insights from administrators, and the “Fingerspitzengefuehl” of financial liaison. Woe the planner of change who is likely to encounter a lead time of lead. The bottom line: change for education is very difficult and hard to achieve. 

How has the education system performed under virus conditions? We can attribute to its very high degrees of rapidity, focus, transparency, and adaptation which lead to significant changes. Students, by the tens of thousands, are shifting their main residence within a week. Faculty members have at the same time solidified new course materials and given major thought to content delivery under entirely new conditions. Administrators had to rapidly find ways to work with complaining and even incensed students and parents. 

How to conduct an international program under conditions of severely inhibited travel? How to interact with high mobility groups? How to adjust the delivery of an excellent classroom joke which now has no classroom audience? 

Long-term contemplations must now be considered and decided on with a new kind of time framework – we suggest 10 days for adaption of innovation. A textbook which was developed over 40 years now need a revision time measured in weeks. The virus has given us a way to cope with complexity using extraordinary speed. There are now innovations which are finally accepted and which pump new energy and strength into the body politic. The best infusion is yet to come. 

In Germany, educational changes have been seen as the end of the world. Even students at an airport on a school day were seen as a threat to society for missing out on their classes. Now, due to the virus, students must stay at home. Schools whose mission had gradually shifted from being institutions for learning to offering pressure against drugs, against cigarettes, for democracy, and for diversity. It appears that teachers are now beginning to teach again, and students can ask questions which actually are answered. Although in past events of national need, the ability to adapt resources appeared not to exist, this time, the resources, and the teachers are all here, all in support of insights and service of German youth. 

Also, remember, that once for whatever reason, the toothpaste has left the tube, it won’t go back in, which leads to totally different uses and expectations. Earlier societies and time periods had their own changes, some without much benefit such as bubonic plague and the great influenza epidemic. Other changes triggered much displacement but lead also to eventual improvement to society. Examples are the printing press of Gutenberg, electricity by Edison and planes by the Wright brothers. 

The coronavirus leads to adjustments which result in new approaches, unexpected adaptations and a much wider field of options. We will have new playing fields, new players and new rules. The post-viral times will not necessarily be convenient or tranquil, but there will be many more opportunities for innovation and creativity. Sometimes it takes a large hurdle to overcome obstacles but focus and collaboration achieve much progress. This may be a time for a new jointness of purpose. 

Professor Michael R. Czinkota teaches international marketing and business at Georgetown University. His most recent book is In Search for the Soul of International Business, 2019. He served as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the U.S. Department of Commerce in the Reagan and Bush Administrations. 

Michael L. Czinkota is a 9th grade student at the Bischof-Neumann-Schule of Germany. 

The Bear without the bull

Michael R. Czinkota

There is often a strong desire for partisanship both in our domestic and global thinking. Russia keeps being framed as our most vile adversary. Such thinking has much historic background. Of particular worry has been competition in technology – one can still recall the Russian leadership reputation effects of the space launches of Sputnik, the electric ball, and Leica, the spaceship dog. It took the successful North Pole transit of the U.S. submarine Nautilus to re-declare American advantage. 

My research in the Georgetown archives yields evidence that not all Russians are adversaries all the time. One example comes from the Russian years of Georgetown University and the Jesuit religious order which founded it. 

The order was initiated by Ignatius of Loyola in Paris in 1534, with its members taking vows of poverty, chastity and an ole of full obedience to the pope. Its principles and their execution turned out to be quite successful, particularly in the field of education. With its headquarters in Rome, the proximity to the pope helped global expansion and influence. 

However, not all was smooth sailing. In spite, or because of their success, the more than 22,000 Jesuits were suppressed in 1773 of all people, by their main patron, Pope Clement XIV. This leader of global Catholicism sent out specific instructions called a “papal bull” or edict to other heads of country, demanding the abolishment of the Jesuit order. The major ruling nations such as the Portuguese and Spanish empires, the French nation, and Austria/Hungary accepted such abolishment,  making the Jesuits virtually extinct. Virtually, but not totally, thanks to Russian policy.  

At the time Catherine the Great was the Tsarina or Sovereign of Russia and the protector of its orthodox religion. One of her key objectives was to bring Russia and herself as an equal partner to the table of international leaders. She recognized that raising the capabilities of the Russian population and its nobility to reason and analyze was an important foundation for such an achievement. She was further impressed with the manifold educational activities which the Jesuits had already set in place. So she was not feeling exploited when the Jesuits requested that the impending papal bull should not arrive or be read by the Imperial Court. She also agreed that existing Jesuits could select Russia as their central headquarters and even allowed them to expand the order. 

As a result, those Jesuits, which had been part of the Maryland province in Baltimore all became Russian in their affiliation, as did their institutions. This relationship remained until 1814 when Pope Pius VII removed the onerous order of suppression. Georgetown University and it’s Jesuit faculty then became American again.

The lessons learned for today: 

  • Political hardships imposed to totally eliminate one’s adversary may not have to be final – there often is a workaround 
  •  An international orientation can often be crucial to advancing one’s agenda
  • Adversaries and traditions do not have to remain steady and immutable; to the contrary, a new perspective should be raised in one’s analysis of conditions
  • Global strengths and unique expertise can set a player apart and permit quite unexpected alliances and cross-references.

The evidence indicates that all this was good for both Russia and Georgetown University. Might there be other strategic linkages possible?  It is necessary to separate the bear from the bull and to remember that there is always a bear market somewhere. 

Professor Michael Czinkota (czinkotm@georgetown.edu) teaches international marketing and business at Georgetown University. His key books are International Marketing (10th ed.) with Prof. Ronkainen and In Search for the Soul of International Business. He served as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the U.S. Department of Commerce in the Reagan Administration

Key Words: Russia, Jesuits, Collaboration, Ignatius of Loyola, Suppression, Papal bull, Dog Leica, Nautilus, Catherine the Great, Education, Bear, Georgetown history, and Czinkota

Can We Really Delete The Past? A British Campaign Aims To Do Just That

What started as a simple idea over two years ago, has grown into a law that very well may be passed through the new Conservative leadership of Britain’s, Theresa May. The new Prime Minister of the UK has been insistent on passing “safeguards” that would allow children, once they turn 18 to delete any derogatory or incriminating former social media posts, photos, and even comments.

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NEW POLICY – NEW RULES : U.S. Leaves Trans-Pacific Partnership

President Trump signed an executive order that will withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP is the largest planned regional trade accord in history, and was designed for the United States and 11 other nations in Asia and the Pacific to build a free trade zone. Its purpose was to lower tariffs, resolve trade disputes, and make patents safe, all while enhancing  U.S. power in Asia.

The new administration has fulfilled Trump’s campaign promise, by changing  America’s trade ties with other countries, and abandoning the TPP brokered by his predecessor. The withdrawal from multinational trade agreements stems from his belief that they “erode American jobs and opportunities”, and has had large geopolitical implications in Asia, and throughout the world.

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