Business Advisory Council

Dean Howard Thomas (center), with BAC members, Richard A. Lumpkin, Consolidated Communications, Inc., and William Schnirring, Springfield Electric Company, at the reception.

Chair Larry Austermiller, partner at Arthur Andersen, welcomed BAC members to campus on November 10, 1995. Dean Howard Thomas reported on the state of the college. The #7 ranking of the undergraduate program (see page 5) was very welcome news. Commerce continues to be one of the most productive colleges on campus vis-à-vis instructional units per full time equivalent faculty. This is both good and bad news since our productivity is achieved in part by offering large lecture classes. For example, Econ 101 has 1,600 students in one lecture section. The prevalence of large classes is being studied at both the college and campus level. Small, faculty taught classes are now routinely offered to underclassmen.

Much of the college's discretionary money, the dean reported, is spent on upgrading technology to keep pace with changes in the industry. Sources of revenue for this purpose include the campus, state, and private gifts. At present, the need outstrips the funds.

Using the high-tech classroom the college equipped last year, with a generous gift from alumnus Dick Cogdal, the Department of Accountancy is providing a distance learning course for Caterpillar. The Executive MBA is also working on a project to provide distance learning courses.

In other college developments, Professors Morgan Lynge and Bill Williamson reported on the undergraduate task force. The committee is reviewing the required core courses (what we teach and how). It is also comparing our program to that of selected peer schools. Although the undergraduate program is clearly the top program in the college, recently, most resources have gone to support the MBA program.

The main topic of discussion at the break-out sessions was the public image of the college. Four topics were discussed: The strengths and weaknesses of the undergraduate and MBA programs; The image the business community has of alumni; What image the college would like to have; How the college can reach its goals and what role the BAC can play. The discussion will be continued at the spring meeting.

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