NOVEL CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) UPDATES

Masks are required as the campus is at red status.

How do Small Businesses Respond to COVID-19?

If you’re a small business owner, the last couple of weeks have been filled with long days, more stress and anxiety, and questions about the future as the country responds to the COVID-19 pandemic.

School closings, mass event cancellations and postponements, and social distancing have challenged small business models across the country, including in Arkansas. How can small businesses respond to obstacles created by COVID-19?

Remain Calm

Jeff Standridge, Ed.D., adjunct instructor of Finance and managing director of the Conductor, said small business clients, customers and employees are looking to the owner for guidance.

“Your attitude and demeanor can make them feel comfortable or worried,” said Standridge. “Your thoughts impact your feelings, your feelings impact your actions, and your actions impact your results.”

Put Yourself in Your Customer’s Shoes: Reach Out!

Business owners should figure out ways to make customers more comfortable in doing business with them in the middle of self-isolation and reduced trips outside the home, said Standridge.

“Before you decide to close for two weeks, look for ways to reduce human contact points within your business,” he said. “If you can serve your customers remotely, you should do it.”

It is important for customers to see care, concern and empathy from businesses, said Standridge.

“It builds trust and loyalty,” he said. “Reduce risks, increase convenience, go above and beyond to meet their physical and emotional needs.”

Reaching out to top customers or clients, asking how they can be helped and informing them of changes your business is making can be helpful.

“Everyone is facing this crisis together, so be transparent about what your business is going through,” said Standridge. “Customers can empathize with brands facing a crisis, as long as you communicate with them properly.”

Doing the Right Thing Now Will Benefit You in the Long Run

The potential for negative press, ill will or loss of business from the general public is possible for the firms and businesses that do nothing or are slow to respond to the crisis, said Parker Woodroof, Ph.D., assistant professor of Marketing.

Whether it is transitioning to online services, reimbursing clients for missed or canceled services or offering gratuities, “being the first small business in the competitive environment gives you a competitive edge and advantage,” said Woodroof.

Go Online

When many stores shuttered in China and workers stayed home in response to COVID-19, Standridge said the savvy business owners shifted their sales strategy to social media, email and phone calls to avoid heavy losses.

“If you’re closing your store, find ways to keep your employees earning a paycheck by reaching out to your clients, selling on social media, putting your email list to good use or using a video tool to reach new leads,” he said.

Keep Your Routine

Things may not seem the same at the moment, but it’s important to keep some semblance of a routine.

Always have coffee with a mentor? Lunch with a fellow small business owner? Keep those appointments, said Vance Lewis, Ph.D., assistant professor of Management, just adapt.

“You can still have those morning coffee chats, greetings, lunches and comradery over the phone or internet just as easily as in-person.”

Plan for Cash Flow Implications & Get Help

Develop and plan for scenarios likely to result in an increase or decrease in demand for your products and services during the outbreak, said Standridge.

“Determine any potential impact on business financials using multiple possible scenarios that affect different product lines or store locations,” he said.

Other strategies that can be implemented include:

  • Reduce or eliminate all non-business-critical tasks and expenses.
  • Identify essential, revenue-critical employees and make sure they are focused on business-critical tasks.
  • If you reduce staffing levels, consider developing rotating work schedules to continue serving clients. Maintain some level of income to as many employees as possible.
  • Talk to your bank and suppliers about alternate payment arrangements. Talk to suppliers about extending payables. Talk to your bank about temporary interest-only payment arrangements.
  • Eliminate excess inventory to generate cash.
  • If the situation calls for it, reach out to your bank about the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Recovery Loan program.

Cynthia Burleson, director of the Center for Insurance & Risk Management, said it could be beneficial for small business owners to consider business income coverage.

“This is nuanced and often misunderstood,” said Burleson. “Owners need to understand their policy to see if they may have the potential for partial help due to loss of income.”

For more information regarding the policy, click here.

Doug Voss, director for the Center for Logistics, Education, Advancement & Research and Scott E. Bennett Arkansas Highway Commission Chair, encouraged small businesses to negotiate payment terms with financial institutions.

“Protect your employees’ health and financial well-being to every extent possible, and avail yourself of state and federal assistance programs,” said Voss.

For more information on programs available to small businesses, click here.

The Conductor provides free, one-on-one virtual consultation for small businesses.

“We work every day to help business owners in Arkansas to get their game plan together if they need guidance or assistance,” said Standridge.

Go to arconductor.org to set up a session.

BIT Club Meeting – 3/10/20

The Business & Information Technology (BIT) Club is having its third meeting on Tuesday, March 10th.  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.  Phi Beta Lambda is co-hosting the event.  Our speaker will be Ms. Shari Natovitz, former Senior Vice-President, Director of Risk Management, Silverstein Properties and World Trade Center Properties, New York, NY.  Shari has spent the past fifteen years providing leadership, direction and creative solutions for the risk management challenges of the company’s real estate, development and financial services businesses.  This included the WTC development project and the Silverstein portfolio of buildings, acquisitions, operations and new construction projects.  Refreshments will be served and door prizes will be awarded.  All students, faculty, and staff are invited to attend.

BIT Club Meeting ~ 2/25/20

The Business & Information Technology (BIT) Club is having its second meeting on Tuesday, February 25th.  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.  Mr. Seth Bartolotta, Decision Support Analyst with Acxiom Corporation in Conway, will be the featured speaker.  From coast to coast, our internships and new college grad programs provide you with powerful skills to set you up for career success.  From mentoring to hands-on problem solving, get ready to roll up your sleeves and make a difference for an industry-leading Fortune 500 company.  Seth is a graduate of our College of Business and we are delighted to welcome him back to campus.  Refreshments will be served and door prizes will be awarded.  All students, faculty, and staff are invited to attend.

BIT Club Meeting – 1/28/20

The Business & Information Technology (BIT) Club is having its Spring Welcome Meeting and Kick-Off on Tuesday, January 28th.  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.  Courtney Phillips, a UCA alum who is a Team Leader (Mainframe Academy) at Ensono, will be the featured speaker.  Joining her will be Samantha Valencia, Project Lead (Mainframe Academy) and TJ Sambuunyam, Associate Application Developer – all UCA graduates!  Katie Branch, Manager (Mainframe Academy), will be present as well.  Ensono delivers managed IT services to optimize and modernize mainframes, infrastructure, and cloud for clients all around the world and will be at our Career Fair.  We are delighted to welcome them all back to campus.  Refreshments will be served and door prizes will be awarded.  All students, faculty, and staff are invited to attend.

The Best of 2019

As we close out another year in the College of Business, we want to thank all our friends and supporters, and look back at some of the milestones and achievements of the last year.

UCA Day of Giving

In 24 hours, our college received nearly $200,000 in donations, named three spaces in the college and created seven scholarships for our students. The UCA Day of Giving included Greenway Equipment establishing the Greenway Equipment Cultivating Successful Leaders Scholarship Fund, Modern Woodmen sponsoring a classroom, C.H. Robinson sponsoring our Imagine Lab used for the Innovation & Entrepreneurship program, and Leanna Godley, of Goddess Products, establishing the first Minority in Business scholarship in the college.

Diversity in Business Night

How do we achieve diversity in business? It was the discussion our accounting and Biz@Bear students had with business community members in our college in March.

 Student Awards Banquet

In April, we honored the best of the best in the college, awarding our students for their academic and service achievements throughout the 2018-19 academic year. Kelsey Carter, an accounting major, was won our 2019 Outstanding College of Business Student Award.

MIS Student Wins Student Worker Award

Darby Ketron, an MIS student, was awarded the 2018-19 Student Worker of the Year Award by UCA Career Services in April.

John W. Allison Entrepreneurial Speaker Series: Bunny Adcock

Bunny Adcock, chair of the UCA Board of Trustees, spoke to our Innovation & Entrepreneurship students in April as the latest speaker of our John W. Allison Entrepreneurial Speaker Series. Adcock shared about the work he does with his organization, Opportunity Matters, which assists undocumented immigrants purchase a home.

HR Club Wins at State Competition

Danesha McCraney and Kaitlyn Reeves won the student case competition at the Arkansas Society for Human Resource Management Conference in April. Reeves was also named a recipient of the J.C. Cote Scholarship.

Phi Beta Lambda Racks Up Awards

Our Phi Beta Lambda students won 11 awards in April at the State Leadership Conference. The awards covered categories such as contemporary sports issues, sports management and marketing, computer applications, information. Management and insurance concepts.

Beta Gamma Sigma Inducts New Class

Beta Gamma Sigma is the premier business honor society in academics. Being a part of AACSB allows the exceptional students from the College of Business to enjoy membership. In April, we had the pleasure of inducting our newest class of members.

Beta Alpha Psi Named Student Organization of the Year

Beta Alpha Psi, the national honors organization for financial information professionals at UCA, was named the campus’ Student Organization of the Year in April.

Celebrating 50 Years of Business Education Excellence

July 1, 1969. The day our college was established. Much has changed since then. What was the State College of Arkansas became the University of Central Arkansas. We’ve called multiple buildings across campus our home, established new departments, created new programs and started new fields of study.

In all our growth and advancement, the one thing left untouched is our mission. We have the same commitment to providing a high-quality business education to our students as we did a half-century ago. We are honored to be celebrating 50 years.

Standridges Establish First Endowed Scholarship in Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Jeff and Lori Standridge established the first endowed scholarship in Innovation & Entrepreneurship at the UCA College of Business in June. The Dr. Jeff and Lori Standridge Innovation & Entrepreneurship Scholarship will be awarded to one upperclassman majoring in Innovation & Entrepreneurship each year.

UCA/Acxiom IT Careers Camp

Our IT Careers Camp brings together young students interested in information technology with young business professionals for a two-day camp on our campus. The students enjoy an engaging series of sessions with hands-on learning and activities.

Insurance Program Named Global Center of Insurance Excellence

This summer, our Insurance & Risk Management program was designated a Global Center of Insurance Excellence by the International Insurance Society. Our program is the only four-year program of its kind in Arkansas. UCA is one of 34 universities in 11 countries to have obtained the designation.

Insurance Hall of Fame Inducts New Class

Six new members were inducted into the Arkansas Insurance Hall of Fame in October. The inductees were: James Howard Atkins, of Herrington, Inc.; Matthew Cashion, of Cashion Company, Inc.; Daryl Coker, of Spradley & Coker; Gail James, of Bituminous Insurance Companies; Ron Lensing, of BancorpSouth; and Jim Spradley, of Spradley & Coker.

The Arkansas Insurance Hall of Fame was created to recognize leaders of the insurance industry in Arkansas, and to remind the public of the important role insurance plays in securing the well-being of both individuals and businesses. The Hall of Fame is housed in the UCA College of Business, which offers the only insurance and risk management program in the state.

Dean Hargis Appears on Talk Business

Dean Michael Hargis appeared on Talk Business & Politics with Roby Brock in August to discuss the college’s 50th anniversary and the future of higher education.

Meet The Firms 2019

Business suits, polished resumes and big smiles were on full-display in September as our accounting students met with dozens of firms and companies at our annual Meet The Firms event on-campus.

Anthony McMullen Wins Master Teacher Award

Anthony McMullen, associate professor of business law, is a long-time fan of “The Simpsons.” With a little inspiration, he found a way to incorporate clips of the popular animated show in his classroom to teach aspects of business law. His efforts won him the Academy of Legal Studies in Business’ Charles M. Hewitt Master Teacher Award.

#ArcBestDay in the COB

ArcBest took over our building Tuesday, visiting several classes and setting up tables to visit with students and tell them about the opportunities in various fields that await them at the company.

Davis Family Lecture Series Welcomes Curtis Barnett

Curtis Barnett’s career at Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield has taken him across several divisions of the company from product development, primary care network and operations on his way to being president and CEO of the largest health insurer of the state.

Barnett’s journey began at the University of Central Arkansas. He shared that journey today with students as the keynote speaker of our Davis Family Lecture Series. Our students learned the occurrences in Barnett’s life that impacted his future and how he leveraged those moments to his advantage. It was an honor to host Barnett and allow our students to be inspired by his story.

TIDA Awards 3 Scholarships in the COB

Karen Xiao, Lane Granberry and Lani Meares are the latest recipients of scholarships from the Trucking Industry Defense Association. We appreciate TIDA for its continued support of our Logistics and Supply Chain Management program.

MBA Program Named to Best Business Schools List

Our MBA program was named recently to The Princeton Review’s Best Business Schools list of Best On-Campus MBA programs. The MBA program has 141 students and offers concentrations in finance, health care administration, information management and international business. It is accredited through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AASCB).

Accounting CPE Workshop

One-hundred and twenty accounting professionals were on-campus in December for the Department of Accounting’s annual Continuing Professional Education in Accounting Workshop. The participants received updates on real estate taxes, estate and financial planning, compliance issues for financial institutions, current expected credit losses and auditing.

Corey Throneberry Named Senior Director of Development for UCA College of Business

Corey Throneberry has been named the senior director of development for the University of Central Arkansas College of Business.

Prior to joining UCA, Throneberry worked as a business development officer at First Service Bank. He also worked with Centennial Insurance Agency in Conway.

Throneberry graduated from the UCA College of Business in 2008 with a bachelor’s in insurance and risk management.

“Through his prior work experience, Corey has established valuable contacts in the business community that will serve us well as we continue to enhance the College of Business for our students, faculty and staff,” said Michael B. Hargis, Ph.D., dean of the UCA College of Business.

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.

UCA MBA Program Makes Princeton Review’s Best Business Schools List

The University of Central Arkansas’ Master in Business Administration program has been named to The Princeton Review’s Best Business Schools list of Best On-Campus MBA programs.

“Our MBA program continues to be one of our fastest-growing in the College of Business,” said Michael B. Hargis, Ph.D., dean of the UCA College of Business. “This ranking among the top business programs in the country reinforces that our students are receiving an outstanding education at UCA.”

The survey asked more than 26,700 students about their school’s academics, student body and campus life.

“We recommend UCA as an excellent choice for a student aspiring to earn an MBA,” said Rob Franek, The Princeton Review’s Editor-in-Chief. “What makes our ‘Best Business Schools’ designations unique is that we take into account the opinions of students attending the schools about their campus and classroom experience.”

The MBA program has 141 students and offers concentrations in finance, health care administration, information management and international business. It is accredited through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AASCB).

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 ~ 11/14/19

The Business & Information Technology (BIT) Club is having its last meeting of the fall semester on Thursday, November 14th.  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.   Dwight Southerland, an Arkansas native with over 39 years of experience in software development, consulting, project management, and systems optimization, will be the featured speaker. He has a BA and MBA from UCA, a secondary education certification from UALR, and a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification.

It is his experience and proven collaboration with stakeholders that has provided him with the skillset required in his position as Deputy Secretary of State.  Dwight’s role is that of Chief of Staff, and as such, he oversees the operations of all divisions of the Office of the Secretary of State through the facilitation of effective decision making, organizational strategy, and implementing process solutions. Dwight is committed to working for the citizens of Arkansas and serving the mission of the Secretary of State.

Refreshments will be served (PIZZA!) and door prizes will be awarded.  All students, faculty, and staff are invited to attend.

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.