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How did being nimble and proactive save China AGI?

    The China AGI course, sponsored by China Business Studies Initiative and led by professor Roger Chen and Liang Wang, was originally designed for USF students to visit Shenzhen, China during the 2020 spring break. After months of planning, everything was almost set to go by January, when we learned the outbreak of the COVID-19 in China. Within a short time, CBSI Director, Xiaohua Yang and AGI faculty partnered with Associate Vice Provost Anastasia Vrachnos and her International Initiatives team to revamp the format of the study trip and to design a completely new glocalized China-Silicon Valley immersion program in the Bay Area to provide both academically sound and practically exciting experience to students.

    Everything was set to go again after CBSI mobilized its vast industry network built over the years for company visits and USF internal resources for guest lectures (we even prepared protective gears for students just in case). Unexpectedly, coronavirus spreading like a wildfire, began to threaten many countries, including the US right before our spring break. Once again, Anastasia and our CBSI team made decisive decision to move all the visits and guest lectures online two days before it started, but one week before the university wide online courses started. With the support of our industry partners and our own USF colleagues, we were able to successfully conclude the AGI program and our students were happy that they could successfully complete their course without having to risk their health and safety.

    Throughout the entire process of rapid changes and risk management, we have put USF students’ safety in the first place while we ensured quality of learning and integrity of the program. This AGI program demonstrates to our USF community that partnership across university units, dedication and commitment of our faculty and their agility and a willingness to adapt, support from the business community and robust risk management system are just a few key factors in ensuring the best learning experience for our students.

    CBSI wishes to express our deep gratitude to many individuals and organizations who have contributed to the success of our AGI. The list is long, but we will name a few here: Associate Vice Provost Anastasia Vrachnos for her outstanding leadership and expert guidance and her International Initiatives team Luis Bazan and Allyn Nobles for their meticulous preparation for the AGI, SOM Dean Charles Moses, Associate Dean Peggy Takahashi for their unwavering support. We also want to thank SOM staff members Morgan Maich, Wilma Kay, Sean Kirsch for their excellent administrative support, CBSI executive board and advisory board’s support, esp. that of Nora Wu, a USF trustee and CBSI advisory board member, Jeff Wu, a founding CBSI advisory board member, Del Christensen, David Chen and Vivien Wang, CBSI advisory board members, USF professors who provided guest lectures: Stephen Roddy (CBSI executive board member), Peter Lorentzen, Stanley Kwong, USF Ricci Institute Director Xiaoxin Wu and Archivist Mark Mir, and the companies that opened their virtual doors to our students. Last, but not least, CBSI is fortunate to have two dedicated and committed faculty members who worked day and night, went backwards and forwards to design, redesign, strategize to conduct a unique AGI during a global pandemic crisis.