Information Systems spotlight

May 13, 2013

Graduation season opens up opportunities to spotlight some of the accomplishments of Department of Information Systems faculty and students. Our feature photo is a group of students, with faculty advisor Daniel Mazzola, at the Spring Avnet Tech Games (story below). This month's news also includes a glimpse of graduation, including a group shot of the first class of our Online MSIM to complete the program.


Master in the classroom

In the W. P. Carey School, if you are nominated for the Outstanding Masters Teaching Award, it means you’ve aced a kind of informal 360 degree review. Nominations are gathered from department chairmen, program directors and students – arguably representing your manager, your peers and your clients. A nomination means you are a master: you stimulate learning, relate the course materials to the business world, respond quickly and well to the needs of students, and maintain high academic and professional standards. This spring, Information Systems Professor Robert St. Louis was recognized for meeting that high bar, and was honored with the Outstanding Masters Teaching Award.

St. Louis joined the Information Systems Department in 1982 and teaches in the Master of Science in Information Management program. “Believing in and doing hard and smart work to impart critical thinking skills are what sets Professor Robert St. Louis apart from the others,” said Associate Dean Stacey Whitecotton during the awards ceremony.

The award cites St. Louis’ work in one of the most important courses in the MSIM program, data and project management.

“Across courses and curriculum, Bob pushes our students to their furthest limits and nurtures a collaborative environment in which students must test propositions and challenge assumptions,” Whitecotton said. “The critical thinking skills he develops in students force them to generalize beyond a single problem. He has advanced the department and his colleagues through his leadership of the online MSIM degree.”


From student to alumnus: 173 graduate

The happiest day on a university campus is graduation. Last week at the W. P. Carey School you would have seen family groups with excited graduates, and faculty in their regalia – each different depending on where they earned their advanced degrees.

The Department of Information Systems congratulated 79 Bachelor’s Degree recipients at the W. P. Carey School of Business Convocation at Wells Fargo Arena. T. J. Wey, the department’s Outstanding Graduating Senior, carried the Computer Information Systems banner. See T.J.’s story.

The next day, at the school’s graduate convocation, 94 received the Master of Science in Information Management degree. This represents a completion rate of virtually 100 percent for this program, which consists of the Evening MSIM and the Online MSIM. At any given time, the Department of Information Systems is working with five cohorts of MSIM students: three online and two evening.

The 29 Online MSIM students who were hooded last week are the first class to earn the degree online (Photo above). It seems like only yesterday that we were welcoming this group: KnowIT was a fly on the wall at their orientation sessions in January 2012. Currently there are 78 more students making their way through the online program: 39 will graduate this December, and another 39 next May. The Evening MSIM graduated 65 students who started the program in May 2012. The new class is still enrolling, but is expected to number between 55 and 60.

Two MSIM students were singled out for the W. P. Carey MSIM Student Leadership Award. This award recognizes students who demonstrated leadership in the pursuit of their studies, within the university and in the community. Receiving the award from the online program was Adriana Williamson; Elisa Cunningham was recognized from the evening program.


Tomorrow’s leaders … today

A group of four students from the DISC club were highly visible at the Association for Information Systems Student Conference in Bentonville, Arkansas this spring (from left in the photo, above: Diego Ortiz, T.J. Wey, Victoria Polchinski and Yonathan Vivas). Travelling with the group were the incoming DISC faculty advisor, Linda Prince, and department staff Angelina Saric and Saundra Lamb.

These students had competed against more than 20 teams to land one of the six spots in a competition at the conference. The case problem focused on IT risk identification, and the team brought home third place. One of the students, Victoria Polchinski, also ran a break-out workshop on "Getting Women Involved in Student Organizations," which included a lively discussion on what student leaders could do to encourage increased participation in club activities.

The student conference will be held at ASU next year.


An Event-ful year

Throughout the year, students learn about companies and make important contacts at events organized by the DISC (Department of Information Systems Club). This spring, DISC hosted an event so special that it warranted the Event of the Year Award, presented by the Business School Council. The American Express Technology Workshop drew in a crowd of over 175 students and faculty members throughout the W. P. Carey School of Business.

The company brought in more than 20 employees, ranging from recent graduates to seasoned professionals at the executive level, and whose educational backgrounds included Computer Information Systems to Computer Systems Engineering. Participants learned about some of the latest and most innovative technological solutions. “This diverse team enabled attendees to learn about relevant technological solutions from a collection of different backgrounds, which provided us with ample opportunities for an engaging and valuable learning experience," said DISC member Victoria Polchinski.


 The ROI on specialized master’s degrees

Unemployment rates for college graduates continue to hover at about 14 percent, but the information technology sector is growing, writes department Chairman Michael Goul in Information Week. And, specialized masters degrees improve the chances that candidates will land a high-paying position with potential for advancement. Goul writes that the options include a Master of Science in Information Management (MSIM), a Master of Science in Business Analytics (MS-BA), or an MBA with an information management specialization. . On Dice.com, a career site for the tech industry, Goul writes about “high-impact” degrees, including the MSIM and MS-BA

“My advice for students interested in an IT master's degree is to identify their current skill set and strengths, and the type of role or organization in which they would like to work after graduation. Then they should choose a program that pushes the envelope to teach the latest industry technologies and skills that graduates need to be competitive in the work force,” he wrote.


Avnet Tech Games

A group of Computer Information Systems students competed at the spring Avnet Tech Games (see feature photo). Avnet produces videos of the competition, and the 2012 and 2013 productions featured our students and faculty -- see if you can pick them out! In addition, here’s a gallery of images from the day:

 

Photo left: Haylee Hilgers, Angela Wan, and Jason Hyacinthe

Photo middle: John Read

Photo right: Chase Foster

Feature photo (top of article): Chase Foster, Jorge Delgado, John Read, Anastasia Navarova, Daniel Mazzola, Yonathan Vivas, Chris Howard, Tiffany (TJ) Wey, Tiffany Shaw, Michael Yap