Hope College has a long-standing relationship with Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo. My research on 100-year-old companies began when I led a group of Hope students on our Japan May Term several years ago and one of the lecturers was Makoto Kanda. He presented a lecture on his research of shinise - honored old Japanese companies and I was hooked. He and I have been working together researching old companies in both Japan and the U.S. ever since.
When MGU began offering an International Management major Mako asked me and Hope's Japanese professor Andy Nakajima to put together a 2-week August program for their students. Thus was born the Hope College-Meiji Gakuin Global Management Seminar. For the last 8 or 9 years (I've lost track of when the first seminar took place) I have been co-director of the program, coordinating economics and business lectures for the MGU students (including giving lectures myself), as well as setting up local and Chicago business visits. This year I had all the planning done for the seminar but, since I am on sabbatical, was expecting one of the other management professors from Hope to actually run the program with Andy Nakajima. However, the other professor backed out saying he was just too burned out from a busy spring semester and the fact that he would have to prep a new course for the fall. I didn't mind stepping in since I enjoy working with Andy and always have a good time with the Japanese students and the professor who accompanies them.
So soon after returning from Belize, I joined Andy Nakajima in welcoming 20 Japanese students and three staff members and one professor to Hope and Holland. Since I was planning to be on sabbatical, I wasn't scheduled for any lectures and had arranged for another professor to accompany the group on the local business visits. So the only other things I needed to to were the evening picnic at the park, the farewell luncheon and celebration, and the Chicago trip. After the luncheon, which resulted in even more tears than usual, I boarded a bus with the group for the trip to Chicago.
After checking into our hotel we headed for Navy Pier where we always stop at Bubba Gumps for dinner, walk the pier (usually wandering through the stained glass museum along the way), and then go for a sunset Lake Michigan cruise.
The next morning we go to the Chicago Board of Trade/Mercantile Exchange for a tour, then across the street to the Federal Reserve for a presentation and tour of their Money Museum. A walk up to Wacker Drive, stopping to point out a few Chicago landmarks along the way, for lunch at Bao Wow before going to JETRO (the Japanese External Trade Organization) for the last business meeting of the program.
For their last evening in the U.S. we give the students free time to shop - Michigan Avenue and Watertower Place. Andy takes the students to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory and I take the professor(s) out to a nice dinner at the Signature Room at the top of the John Hancock with great views over Lake Michigan. (Because the Japanese expect drinks as part of the business social experience, this usually costs me a bit since Hope won't cover alcoholic drinks, but I don't really mind.)
The next morning we sent everyone off on a bus to the airport and then I had the day to myself in Chicago before boarding the Amtrak train back to Holland at 4:50 p.m. It was a gorgeous summer day, so - though I had planned to see the Magritte exhibit at the Chicago Art Institute - I spent the day wandering around the city (and doing a little shopping). Millenium Park and the "bean" were great as was my lunch at the Atwood Cafe where Mayor Emmanuel was also dining that day (apparently he's a regular). A stop at Pret a Manger for a sandwich to eat on the train ride home and I'm good for the day.
Though doing the Global Management Seminar this year wasn't in my sabbatical plan and it delayed the start of my other sabbatical work, I enjoyed it as usual.
This month I also received the news that a paper I had been working on with a former colleague during the spring semester (and finished up when I returned from the Netherlands) was accepted for publication in the journal Servant Leadership: Theory and Practice. My exposure to Robert Greenleaf's work on this topic years ago and my experiences at Herman Miller were instrumental in shaping my approach to management theory.