Archived Voice Articles

Business professors teach in China too

By Sarah Groneck

For the last twelve years, business professors John Visser and Gary Vander Plaats have been flying to China to participate in the Leadership Enterprise for Asian Development (LEAD). Sponsored by the Chinese government, LEAD organizers bring in eight to ten professors each year from colleges and universities around the United States. Each instructor is asked to teach two courses during his or her stay in China.

“We teach business curriculum and help business-minded individuals understand how market economies work,” said Visser. “We teach executive MBA-style courses to professors, graduate and undergrad students, and business people,” he added. Students in last summer’s classes included managers of high-end Chinese companies including Jialing Motorcycle Company, the largest motorcycle production company in China.

Jack Heinen and Leonard Van Drunen, Dordt alumni, also taught in the program this summer.

Trips typically last one to three weeks for each professor. Each instructor spends one week teaching in one city before traveling to teach the following week in a different city.

“Chongqing was especially memorable this year, since it is not very far from the epicenter of the major earthquake [that hit in May], and our program began just days after the earthquake” said Visser.

While he was in Chongqing, Visser noticed that many of the students were sleeping in tents outside on the athletic fields. “They were afraid that their dorms would collapse on them if another earthquake struck,” he said.

In previous years, Dordt professors have also taught in Nanjing, which is the hometown of Dordt freshman business administration major Lulu Zhang.

“[I am grateful] that God has opened up these countries,” said Visser. “I’m also grateful that he has given me the privilege of playing a small part in his kingdom work there.”