Dr. Susan Lantz, a Teaching Associate Professor with the John Chambers College of Business and Economics, is the 2022 recipient of the Faculty Award for Outstanding Global Contributions. Each year, the Office of Global Affairs honors one deserving faculty member with the award for Outstanding Global Contributions and grants them $3,000 to help promote and develop their international efforts. The award recognizes faculty who have made significant contributions to WVU’s global efforts through long-term commitment to working with international students, numerous years of leading education abroad, or a one-time major-impact engagement.
Lantz’s international efforts began in 2017 when she was asked to be a visiting professor at Tianjin University of Finance and Economics in China, a WVU partner institution. While in China for four weeks, she was struck by how different everything was from the Western world she was used to and had studied.
Hear Lantz discuss her experiences in China
Lantz with her students in China 2017 (left) and 2019 (right).
From her experiences in China, Lantz was eager to share her experience and provide similar experiences for WVU students. To help her students build global competency and to better understand their own cultures, they had to travel, and Lantz was going to make sure they had multiple opportunities to gain global perspective. Soon, Lantz was leading study abroad trips to Brazil and Bahrain, where she, and her students, learned to see their own cultures more clearly once they were able to study and appreciate a new one.
While in Bahrain, Lantz helped lead the Women, Business, & Bahrain program, which takes an in-depth look at the experience of women in Bahrain and the Middle East and their unique challenges and triumphs in the world of business. During the trip, Lantz asked her students to create stories using the Trips by Lonely Planet app. Lantz was given an award by WVU and the Higher Education Commission of West Virginia for the assignment.
The stories created by her students cover different aspects of life they encountered in Bahrain:
- https://trips.lonelyplanet.com/s/gMJJrr (Mosques)
- https://trips.lonelyplanet.com/s/VHLaBR (Al Muharraq)
- https://trips.lonelyplanet.com/s/XuB39j (Food in Bahrain)
- https://trips.lonelyplanet.com/s/fMReqq (Patterns in Bahrain)
- https://trips.lonelyplanet.com/s/3tZCkm (Art)
- https://trips.lonelyplanet.com/s/hKZrzJ (Good Eats - Bahraini Edition)
Having led multiple programs abroad, Lantz was just beginning on her international education efforts. She later returned to China to teach for another semester, helped recruit students from Bahrain and China to study at WVU, worked with professors in the Middle East, China, and South America to help design curriculum, and started using novels in the study abroad courses within the Chambers College. Her next plan was to have a study abroad program in Dubai and Bahrain, but COVID-19 caused the project to come to a halt.
Despite the pandemic, she worked to create a series of virtual exchanges with the Royal University for Women (RUW) in Bahrain. More than 250 students from the BCOR 199 class were able to participate in mini virtual exchanges, while other students engaged in a semester long virtual exchange and were involved in case competitions, digital narrative exchanges, and inter-school debates.
Similar to the Lonely Planet stories created by WVU students abroad pre-COVID, students from RUW participating in the virtual Joint Classes with WVU in Feb. 2021 were asked to create a digital storytelling assignment that showcased their lives in Bahrain:
- https://trips.lonelyplanet.com/s/wBycSR (Ithra)
- https://trips.lonelyplanet.com/s/BEy6RR (Saudi Arabia)
- https://trips.lonelyplanet.com/s/T9CXpR (Le PouDufou)
- https://trips.lonelyplanet.com/s/jQLpxY (Beautiful Bahrain)
- https://trips.lonelyplanet.com/s/3uPG5v (Paris)
- https://trips.lonelyplanet.com/s/6wDk6f (Khobar, KSA)
- https://trips.lonelyplanet.com/s/AweKQB (Things to do in Bahrain)
WVU students also shared glimpses of West Virginia in return:
- Life on the Kanawha River:
- Day Trips in Appalachia
- Experiencing four Seasons
- US High School and College
- Family Fun (Written by a native West Virginian whose family is Syrian American)
The inter-school debates between WVU and RUW were held in person in 2019 in Bahrain and then held virtually in 2021 and 2022. Below is the Youtube recording of the 2021 debate.
Lantz is also a Faculty Fellow for the Global Live and Learn Community (LLC) in WVU’s Stalnaker Hall. These LLC’s are specialized floors within residence halls that group students with general interests to the same floor. LLC’s include LGBTQ+ students, business majors, forensic majors, international students/international relations majors, and substance-free, among other floor specialties. Lantz has taken her students from the Global LLC on many activities like ice skating and snow tubing, a weekend trip to Washington DC, and a day trip around our state’s popular outdoor destinations. (See photos below)
Hear Lantz’s excitement about helping students step out of their comfort zones.
So, what’s next for Lantz and her continued efforts to help students gain a
“I just keep thinking of all these other places I need to help students touch base with,” said Lantz.
“I’d love to take a group to study business communication and culture in general in a place like Thailand. That’s on the forefront of my mind because I think that’s a very interesting area. I’d love to take a group of students to take a look at what’s happening in other parts of Europe, South America, and Japan. I think there is so much to learn there [the East] and that our students need to learn.”