While on sabbatical this spring, Dr. Kurt Jefferson, Professor of Political Science at Westminster College, served as Visiting Professor of Global Business and Politics at ICN Graduate Business School (Ecole de Management) in Nancy, France in late March 2008. He taught Executive Masters of Business Administration (E-MBA) students in the school's graduate program.
Dr. Jefferson co-taught the MBA course on "International Political Analysis" which focused on globalization with Dr. Alexandre Melnik, an associate professor at ICN who is a former Soviet and Russian diplomat who was posted at the Soviet Embassy in Paris for several years. Dr. Melnik was an international nuclear arms negotiator at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland and the personal interpreter for former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, who visited Fulton and Westminster College in May 1992 for a famous speech after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Dr. Jefferson lectured specifically on globalization, American civilization, and American politics and the current presidential election cycle.
"The French MBA students were enthralled with the current American presidential race. They were obsessed with candidates Obama, Clinton, and McCain," Jefferson said.
ICN Business School is located in the eastern Lorraine region of France near the German border about 250 miles due east of Paris. The school is one of France's most prestigious business universities with 2000 students from all over France and other countries in attendance. ICN Business School is a federated member of the network of programs and schools tied to the University of Nancy which has 38,000 students in a wide range of disciplines.
In 2008, the ICN Business School was rated in Europe's top 35 business schools by the Financial Times (a London-based newspaper that is known as the "global Wall Street Journal"). It has a reputation for its academic programs in management and global business.
In 2005, Dr. Jefferson helped arrange for Westminster College to form a special relationship with ICN. He went to Metz, France (about 50 miles west of Nancy) and met with officials at Ecole Supérieure Internationale de Commerce (ESIDEC) which offered a four-week summer program for undergraduates. In 2006, ICN absorbed ESIDEC (a separate business college) as part of its international business program and university structure.
In 2006, Westminster sent two students to Metz for the ESDEC-ICN summer program. The program included four weeks of French language training, courses in management, marketing, French culture and history, and the European Union (EU). Students lived in Metz, but took courses in both Metz at ESIDEC and in Nancy at ICN. Students also got to travel to Brussels to see the EU in action, Verdun in Lorraine to see the site of the famous 1916 World War I battle, the D-Day beaches of Normandy, and other famous spots in France, Belgium, and Luxembourg.
In 2007, seven students went to France to study during the month-long June summer program. They studied with other students from the United States, Mexico, and other parts of the globe while in France. Students received six elective credit hours from Westminster College for completing the program after grades are given by the ICN faculty.
Dr. Jefferson is in his fifteenth year of teaching at Westminster and teaches courses on comparative European politics, international relations, and international law and organizations. He lectured and interacted with students and faculty at ICN on globalization, American foreign policy, the current American elections and major candidates, Franco-American relations, and global leadership. He is the author of a forthcoming book, Celtic Politics: Politics in Scotland, Ireland, and Wales.
"It was a very educational for me," Jefferson said. "I had students from various parts of France and all were executives and professionals, most mid-career, looking to enrich their professional lives."
"I think best part of teaching in France was getting to breakdown the stereotypes the French have of Americans; it was a real learning experience for them and for me as well," he said.
"If I contributed to bringing Westminster College to eastern France, improving our global profile, and building visionary leaders and professionals at ICN Graduate Business School as we do at Westminster then I am completely satisfied," he said.
"It was definitely a great way to spend part of my sabbatical," Jefferson stated.