7 Books to Read Over Fall Break

Looking for a way to spend all that free time this weekend during Fall Break? Consider picking up one of these books recommended by COB faculty!

Teach Yourself How to Learn: Strategies You Can Use to Ace Any Course at Any Level
by Saundra Yancy McGuire
Want to improve a grade or two after a bad midterm? Pick up this book recommended by Stephanie Watson, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Accounting. Or, read one of the Perfect Phrases series that Dr. Watson also recommends.

The Top Performer’s Field Guide: Catalysts for Leaders, Superstars and All Who Aspire To Be
by Jeff D. Standridge
Did you know we have our own best-selling author right here in the COB? Jeff D. Standridge, Ed.D., instructor of finance and COB Advisory Board member, has a couple of best-sellers, including this one that details the habits of successful people.

Predictably Irrational
by Dan Ariely
“The author has a Ph.D. in business and another in psychology. He does a masterful job showing how behavioral economics applies to business decisions.” –Joe McGarrity, Ph.D., professor of economics

Field Presence, It’s Not Enough Just to Play the Game
by Wes Booker
Enjoy listening to UCA alumnus Wes Booker this week at BIT Club? Check out his book, recommended by Cindi Burleson, director of the Center for Insurance & Risk Management.

“We all have dreams. Sometimes those dreams become our realities and, sometimes, the dream doesn’t work out and we have to re-focus. This is a playbook for upping your game to being the best you can be, a successful leader and a successful person.”

Bored and Brilliant
by Manoush Zomorodi
“Since it is fall break, I found it with good timing that this book reveals that our brains are at their most productive and creative when we are bored. By taking a break from our gadgets, it gives students a chance to take control over their time, and using boredom to their advantage.

The one thing I found that separates this challenge from a typical and trendy unplugging or mindfulness challenge, is that actual baby steps are implemented to slowly bring awareness to even the slight urge to hold your phone. Plus, this emphasizes that we need to develop healthy phone habits, and not just shutting everything off.” –Tachia Awbrey, COB Academic Advisor

Free to Choose: A Personal Statement
by Milton Friedman
“Want an easy read that will help you learn about how the economy works, including the role of government? Your life will not be the same after reading the book and/or watching the videos.” –Tom Snyder, chair of the Department of Economics, Finance, and Insurance & Risk Management

Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are
by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
“It’s a fun and interesting book written from the perspective of a Harvard graduate in economics, who is also a former Google data scientist. The author explores how big data can be leveraged to find what people really want, and how our digital dossiers are used to get a peek inside of our minds.” –Mike Casey, Ph.D., assistant professor of management information systems

BIT Club Meeting 10/15/19

The Business & Information Technology (BIT) Club is having its second meeting on Tuesday, October 15th.  Gamma Iota Sigma is co-hosting the event.  It will be held in the College of Business Auditorium (Rooms 107/208) during X-period (1:40 – 2:30 p.m.) and is open to all majors on campus.  Wes Booker, a noted motivational speaker and current SEC Football Referee, will be our featured speaker.  Here is a little more about Wes:

Wes Booker is the owner and CEO of The Wes Booker Agency with the main office located in Maumelle, AR.  He also is the creator and director of the Wes Booker Football Officials Camp which takes place each year in Little Rock as well as speaking at and directing motivational workshops and events (https://wesbookerspeaks.com).  Mr. Booker is a 2017 Class member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame and was a member of the University of Central Arkansas 1991 NAIA National Football Champions team

As a longtime UCA Bear, we are delighted to welcome Mr. Booker back to campus.  Refreshments will be served and door prizes will be awarded.  All students, faculty, and staff are invited to attend.

Curtis Barnett to Speak at Davis Family Lecture Series

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield President and CEO Curtis Barnett will be the keynote speaker of the Davis Family Lecture Series on Oct. 22 at the University of Central Arkansas College of Business.

Barnett’s talk, “Challenge & Culture: A Career in Healthcare at Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield,” will begin at 1:40 p.m. in the College of Business auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Barnett began his career at Arkansas Blue Cross in 1993 as a primary care network plan manager and has served as manager of product development, director of enterprise managed pharmacy and vice president of operations for BlueAdvantage Administrators of Arkansas. He was president and CEO of USAble Corporation from 2008 to 2016.

He was named president and CEO of Arkansas Blue Cross in 2017. Prior to that, he served as senior vice president of internal operations. Arkansas Blue Cross is the largest health insurer in Arkansas with more than 3,000 employees.

Barnett serves on various industry boards, including BCS Financial, Life and Specialty Ventures, the National Institute of Healthcare Management, the Partnership for a Healthy Arkansas, USAble Corporation and the Western Conference of Prepaid Medical Plans.

He is an active supporter of UCA, his alma mater, and serves on the College of Health and Behavioral Sciences’ advisory board. In 2018, he received UCA’s Distinguished Alumnus Award.

The Davis Family Lecture Series was established in 2010 through a gift from Granger and Jan Davis, and Milton and Claudia Davis. The series features prominent business leaders who have made a significant impact in an industry. Past speakers include John W. Bachmann, Steve Williams, Hank Henderson, Reynie Rutledge, Marcy Doderer, Millie Ward and Johnny Allison.

The UCA College of Business has more than 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students. It offers 13 baccalaureate degrees, two master’s and one graduate certificate across four academic departments and houses the state’s only insurance and risk management program. The UCA College of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Visit uca.edu/business for more.

BIT Club Meeting – 9/19/19 @ 1:40 pm

The Business & Information Technology (BIT) Club is having its Fall Welcome Meeting and Kick-Off on Thursday, September 19th.  The event, which will be held in the College of Business Auditorium (Rooms 107/208) during X-period (1:40 – 2:30 p.m.), is open to all majors on campus.  Amy Beam, People Operations Manager for Edafio Technology Partners, will be the featured speaker.  Amy is a UCA graduate and we are delighted to welcome her back to campus.  Refreshments will be served and door prizes will be awarded.  All students, faculty, and staff are invited to attend.

Trade, Tariffs & The Arkansas Impact

The trade war and new tariffs put in place by the U.S. and Chinese governments dominate most of the headlines.

But what is the impact in Arkansas? How are Arkansans affected? How are Arkansas businesses and farmers coping with changing tariffs? What’s the impact long-term?

Jeremy Horpedahl, Ph.D., assistant professor of economics and ACRE Scholar, discusses the issues and their impact at home in Arkansas. For more, check out the video below.

50 Years of COB Alumni: Donna Townsell

The University of Central Arkansas has been a part of Donna Townsell since childhood.

She grew up blocks from the university, rode her bike through campus, hit golf balls with her dad in the field that now houses the Pepsi Center near the corner of Bruce and Farris streets.

“Choosing UCA was an easy choice,” said Townsell. “It was a great school and close to home.”

Interested in a Business Degree? Check out the COB’S Programs of Study

It took her a few years to settle on a major and the College of Business, though. She spent her underclassmen years completing her basics, then, eased her way into prospective majors, which included marketing.

Townsell felt confident it could be a fit for her. She worked in many retail businesses as a teenager, including her family’s clothing business, a local photography studio, and a convenience store. Those work experiences showed her the value of marketing.

She enjoyed tasks that required creativity and writing. When one of her courses required her to create marketing material for an imaginary company, Townsell knew she had found the right place.

“It helped me utilize my skills and get a feel for different types of marketing tools,” she said.

Townsell’s career has taken her to many industries, including banking and finance where she has worked for Home BancShares for more than a decade. Now, she’s director of investor relations for Centennial Bank. Earlier this year, she became the first woman to be elected as a board member of Home BancShares and Centennial Bank.

Find Out More: UCA Marketing

No matter where she’s worked, Townsell said her degree from the UCA College of Business prepared her to compete and thrive.

“I soon realized the skills and knowledge I gained that can be used every day, whether directly or indirectly, in any field of work I’ve landed in,” said Townsell.

Townsell now serves the college as a member of its advisory board.

University of Central Arkansas Designated Global Center of Insurance Excellence

The University of Central Arkansas has been designated a Global Center of Insurance Excellence by the International Insurance Society.

UCA’s designation was earned for its Insurance and Risk Management program in the College of Business. For consideration, universities and colleges have to meet criteria in student qualifications, course offerings, graduate and industry employment rates and professional involvement. Prospective schools must also exhibit students learn from academically qualified, full-time faculty with research expertise.

The UCA College of Business’ Insurance and Risk Management program is the only four-year program of its kind in Arkansas. The program offers a personal financial planning emphasis and an opportunity for students to earn their University Associate Certified Insurance Counselor designation. Cynthia L. Burleson is the director of the college’s Center for Insurance and Risk Management.

“UCA’s Insurance and Risk Management program plays a significant role for insurance and financial services companies in the state and region, because of its uniqueness,” said Michael B. Hargis, Ph.D., dean of the UCA College of Business. “We’re proud of Cynthia’s leadership of our program and thrilled to see it recognized globally.”

UCA and three other 2019 designees were officially recognized in June at the International Insurance Society Forum in Singapore.

“The GCIE designation signals the industry as to where the top talent is being cultivated and in doing so, builds the prominence of the world’s leading insurance programs, which are effectively serving as the top-tier talent pipeline,” said Michael J. Morrissey, president and CEO of the International Insurance Society.

The Insurance and Risk Management program is housed in the college’s Department of Economics, Finance, and Insurance and Risk Management. It is one of only three programs offered fully online. It currently has 60 majors.

The International Insurance Society, founded in 1965, is a global forum of insurance stakeholders with members from more than 90 countries, including brokers, regulators, public policymakers and insurance scholars. It promotes the innovation and development of the industry, as well as its relevance in the global economy.

Since the certification was created in 2017, it has designated 34 universities in 11 countries, including the University of Alabama, Florida State University, University of Georgia, University of Iowa, University of Mississippi, St. John’s University, Temple University, Virginia Commonwealth University and University of Wisconsin.

The UCA College of Business is the fastest-growing college at the University of Central Arkansas with more than 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students. It offers 13 baccalaureate degrees, two master’s and one graduate certificate across four academic departments and houses the state’s only insurance and risk management program. The UCA College of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Visit uca.edu/business for more.

50 Years of COB Alumni: Erin Simpson

Erin Simpson grew up in the small, close-knit Arkansas farming community of Hazen.

She knew college would take here away from home, but Simpson was not ready to leave behind the supportive, family atmosphere. At the University of Central Arkansas, Simpson realized she would not. Instead, she traded one family for another.

“My professors became mentors who made sure I did well in classes, stayed focused and had a path to a career,” she said. “UCA and the College of Business became a family and a home for me. I gained a community and a group of people invested in making sure I succeeded. That was what I needed coming from a small town.”

Interested in a Business Degree? Check out the COB’S Programs of Study

Simpson found her passion for accounting as a teenager working over the summer in a local firm in Hazen.

“I fell in love with it,” she said.

Simpson’s time in the College of Business crafted that passion into a career.

“My professors knew my strengths and weaknesses and were able to guide me in the right way,” said Simpson. “When it came time to decide tax or audit, they knew I should be in auditing because my personality is geared toward being out in front of employees, clients and customers, working to help them.”

Find Out More: UCA Accounting

Simpson spent nearly three years working at an accounting firm in Little Rock after graduating in 1999. She assisted clients from many industries, including non-profit, banking and government agencies. Then, she made the switch to banking compliance. She has been a senior vice president and director of compliance at First Security Bank since 2008.

The business education she received in the College of Business has allowed her to work in several facets of business, said Simpson.

“There are so many opportunities with an accounting degree,” said Simpson. “You have to understand the aspects of a business that help it operate efficiently.”

Jeff and Lori Standridge Establish First Endowed Scholarship in Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Jeff and Lori Standridge have established the first endowed scholarship in innovation and entrepreneurship in the University of Central Arkansas College of Business.

The Dr. Jeff and Lori Standridge Innovation & Entrepreneurship Scholarship will be awarded annually to one upperclassman majoring in innovation and entrepreneurship.

“We wanted to honor the act of entrepreneurship and young, aspiring entrepreneurs and, hopefully, ease their mind a bit about meeting financial obligations while completing their degree,” said Jeff Standridge, Ed.D., adjunct professor of innovation and entrepreneurship and chief catalyst of Conductor. “Our hope with this scholarship is its beneficiaries will create the next startup or corporation that employs hundreds in our community.”

The Innovation and Entrepreneurship program was launched at UCA in 2012. Students engage in experiential, hands-on activities to learn how to form and implement ideas, as well as be equipped to start a business. The program has 74 students.

“Even if these students don’t go on to start their own business, established firms and companies, public schools, universities, hospitals and health care systems want to hire innovative, entrepreneurial talent,” said Jeff Standridge. “The program in the UCA College of Business does a great job of equipping the aspiring entrepreneur and innovator.”

Jeff Standridge is a member of the UCA College of Business Advisory Board, co-founder of Cadron Capital Partners and is involved in several venture companies that support entrepreneurs and start-up companies in Arkansas. He teaches innovation leadership and entrepreneurial finance in the College of Business.

When the couple realized there was not a scholarship exclusive to innovation and entrepreneurship majors, Lori Standridge said it was a “no-brainer” to establish one.

“It was a given for me that it needed to be done,” she said. “The number of coaching sessions Jeff has done in the last few years, the profile of companies that have moved to Conway and just the general excitement level toward the field in our community, it shows a need for this.”

The UCA College of Business is the fastest-growing college at the University of Central Arkansas with more than 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students. It offers 13 baccalaureate degrees, two master’s and one graduate certificate across four academic departments and houses the state’s only insurance and risk management program. The UCA College of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Visit uca.edu/business for more.

Tom Snyder, Ph.D., Named Chair of Department of Economics, Finance, and Insurance and Risk Management

Tom Snyder, Ph.D., has been named chair of the Department of Economics, Finance, and Insurance and Risk Management in the University of Central Arkansas College of Business.

Snyder assumes the position July 1.

“Tom has been an integral part of EFIRM, the Arkansas Center for Research in Economics and the College of Business for several years now,” said Michael B. Hargis, Ph.D., dean of the UCA College of Business. “I know he will be the same in this new role.”

Snyder came to the UCA College of Business in 2010 as an assistant professor. He was promoted to associate professor in 2016. He served four years as the Resident Master of EPIC Residential College, an entrepreneurship-based program for upper-level students at UCA.

Snyder’s research in public policy, education, and entrepreneurship has been published in several journals, including in the Journal of Private Enterprise, Eastern Economic Journal, B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy, Journal of Economics and Business, Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy, Journal of Entrepreneurship & Public Policy, and Review of Regional Studies.

Snyder earned his bachelor’s in economics from Florida State University in 2003. He obtained his master’s and doctorate in economics from Florida International University in 2008 and 2010, respectively.

The UCA College of Business’ Department of Economics, Finance, and Insurance and Risk Management offers undergraduate degrees in all three studies and features the only four-year insurance and risk management program in Arkansas. The department has 230 majors and 17 faculty.

The UCA College of Business is the fastest-growing college at the University of Central Arkansas with more than 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students. It offers 13 baccalaureate degrees, two master’s and one graduate certificate across four academic departments and houses the state’s only insurance and risk management program. The UCA College of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Visit uca.edu/business for more.