When USF’s College of Business Administration appointed Maria de Los Angeles Crummett director of the Center for International Business (CIB), they chose a woman who could inspire students.
Crummett has served on more than a dozen committees at the international, national and local levels. Currently she serves on the Board of Governors of the North American Small Business International Trade Educators and is a member of Tampa Bay Women in International Trade, a board of which she was a founding member and president.
“In the summer of 2002, USF called me about returning here, and I jumped at the chance,” Crummett said. “To come back here is both a compliment to me and a huge recognition of the importance of the center here.”
Crummett hopes her view on world commerce and connections within the field will bring a stronger presence to the department.
“All business is global,” Crummett said. “USF is an important part of an economic engine. A number of companies have come to the center looking to become involved in our programs. And with these new outlets to interact with, a greater emphasis (will be) placed on understanding the way other countries and cultures operate than has been in the past. (My experience) means I know and have worked with a lot of the same people who (the CIB) now looks to interact with.”
Internships and student exchange programs are the department’s primary means of student involvement. This will not change under Crummett, who said she believes the best way to learn is through first-hand experience.
Crummett was the associate director of CIB from 1995-2000 before taking a job at the University of Tampa. She returned last summer as professor of the Economics of Latin America. She also served as interim director of Latin American and Caribbean Studies over the summer until a new director was found.
“The center has been strong in building student programs, such as the study abroad program,” she said. “Students here understand the importance and opportunity of the academic programs we offer. I have put a lot of effort into encouraging students to take advantage of our semester-long study abroad program rather than just doing the three week exchange in the summer. We also create international internships for students, both working abroad and working in local international business outlets.”
These programs are enhanced by Crummett’s emphasis on increasing the Center’s role in the community.
“The Center for International Business in the 21st century has to have a strong relationship with the international business community here,” Crummett said. “We work with key players in the Tampa area, including the Tampa Port Authority, the Tampa International Airport and the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.”
But Crummett said she has also begun planning for the department’s future with the construction of a new school of business. She has already set her sights on the possibilities to come.
“We are going to begin a series of executive development programs when the college opens a new business school in early 2005,” Crummett said. “The new school will focus on executive programs, meaning the addition of short, non-degree courses focused on upper-management training, and will hopefully introduce new students to USF. For example, one of the new courses will likely be international credit. Financial executives would be very interested in having mid-level management employees attend the one-day or half-day seminars we would offer.”
Crummett’s focus and motivation come as no surprise to her coworkers, though.
“Maria had been on this campus for years and everyone she came into contact with, including myself, was impressed,” said Bob Anderson, College of Business Administration Dean. “(Appointing her) was really a no-brainer.”
Anderson said he sees more potential benefits from the appointment coming from Crummett’s national recognition.
“She will be active in the area of grant research, and will possibly bring in grants from Washington and other parts of the country,” Anderson said. “(These grants) will give thrust to the student programs we offer.”
And ultimately, advancing those student programs has become Crummett’s calling.
“It is my goal to establish the department’s mission as ‘to focus strongly on working with the area’s international business community to create a broad spectrum to serve our students,'” Crummett said.