As the landscape of higher education is constantly changing, academic units must adapt and respond. Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s College of Business has faced daunting challenges and yet has witnessed encouraging transformative changes. Here are four examples.
First, the college pivoted into analytics, launching two new programs: a Master in Strategic Analytics, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Analytics. These programs opened for enrollment in Fall 2020. Curriculum for these programs reflects in-depth interviews with analytics professionals in a number of corporations, including the CME Group, Caesars Entertainment and Caterpillar. Demand for new graduates is booming across a host of industries including manufacturing, hospitality, finance, retail and marketing. IBM predicts up to 3 million jobs for analytics professionals by the end of 2020.
Second, to reflect these new program additions, the College of Business changed its name to the College of Business and Analytics. Graduates with expertise in business analytics are in high demand. The college name beckons to prospective students and potential employers, looking for entry-level analytics specialists for jobs in social media, customer profile analysis, production management, accounting and financial analysis.
Third, as SIU reorganized into a university for the 21st century, the college gained three additional programs from other parts of the university: Economics; Hospitality, Tourism and Event Management; and the Master of Public Administration. Each of these programs is outstanding in its own right. Economics has a very strong and highly respected graduate program. Hospitality is noted by corporate recruiters for its graduates who are ready to hit the ground running. Our NASPAA-accredited Public Administration program produces graduates who form a national and international “who’s who” in city management; local, regional, and national government; museum administration; aviation management; and nonprofit administration. These programs synergistically complement and accentuate the college’s traditional mix of accounting, finance, management and marketing. Certainly, the college is stronger, more competitive and better able to prepare our students for a changing job market with these additions.
Finally, because the markets for online business courses are becoming more complex and more competitive, most business schools employ an online program management firm to help with their recruiting efforts. We recently entered into an agreement with EAB, the gold standard of the online learning industry, to aid in our online recruiting efforts for our accredited online undergraduate degree completion program (accounting, business and administration, CPA preparation, hospitality, tourism and event management) and accredited online graduate programs (analytics for managers, accountancy, business administration, strategic analytics).
The college is preparing cohesively for the future. Undoubtedly, these efforts will reap numerous benefits as we coordinate our programs to the demands of 21st century business, equip our students to succeed in a world that is becoming vastly more complicated, and make our college more attractive in our efforts to hire and retain world-class research-oriented faculty.
Meera Komarraju is the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.