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Instructor to receive international trade educator of year honor

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Laurie Wolff, an economics and finance instructor in the School of Business, will receive the 2021 North American Small Business International Trade Educator  of the Year award at a conference on Thursday, May 20.

NASBITE Executive Director Michael Borgers said Wolff is being recognized for her life-long advocacy for global trade and global business education. The selection committee acknowledged that Wolff has been instrumental in guiding many activities that have helped to develop and promote international trade, and she is being honored for her lasting contributions and positive impact on international trade.

“Laurie Wolff is deserving of this recognition,” said School of Business Dean Tim Schoenecker, PhD. “Throughout her career, she has demonstrated a consistent commitment to student learning, globalizing our curriculum and promoting the work of NASBITE. I couldn’t be more pleased for her.”

Wolff joined the SIUE faculty in 1989 and is part of a four-generation SIUE family.

“My 101-year-old grandmother is SIUE’s only centennial alumni to date,” she said. “My mom was a traditional student at the founding of the campus, and my grandmother was a non-traditional student soon after with six kids at home. I have many aunts, an uncle and cousins who are alums. My eldest son and daughter-in-law both graduated from SIUE.”

Wolff initially began teaching required economics core courses, and then started teaching interdisciplinary studies courses on global problems and human survival, and modern Latin America. “That set off a round of Excellence in Undergraduate Education grants and study abroad opportunities for a couple hundred students and dozens of faculty in Costa Rica, Mexico, Hong Kong and China,” she said. “More than 20 years ago, I was teaching international economics and thought my students weren’t learning enough that was practical for doing international business.

“Silvia Torres Bowman, of SIUE’s International Trade Center, referred me to NASBITE International. I presented at a conference in 2004 on our service learning in study abroad. At that time, NASBITE was about to launch a professional credential for international trade – Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP). I could not have passed the exam at that time and knew they needed help to realize the program’s potential. A lot of professional development and service followed.”

A CGBP and a certified CGBP trainer, Wolff joined the NASBITE Board of Governors and served as its first two-term president. She is also a Distinguished Fellow for NASBITE. “I’ve hosted approximately 100 webinars on trade education, recruited and worked with the speakers, and presented a few webinars along the way. I lead an international business student case competition where top teams compete to solve export challenges for a U.S. company. That is an amazing experience!”

Meanwhile, Wolff is writing a textbook entitled “International Economics for Global Business and Policy Making” that aims to fill a critical hole in international business education.

The Ferguson, Mo., resident has a major commitment to justice and inclusion. She leads the School of Business diversity and inclusion committee, and serves SIUE as an Impact Fellow. This summer, she is offering the first economics course that will examine systemic racism.

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