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UCA Foundation Scholarships | Apply by Jan 23

Foundation scholarships for academic year 2023-2024 are open, and applications must be complete by Jan 23. Apply for dozens of scholarships with just one application. Everyone is encouraged to apply. Not all scholarships are based on GPAs.

To apply: https://uca.edu/foundation/scholarships/

COB Students Awarded Scholarships from Participation in ACRE Reading Groups

Just before Thanksgiving, around 20 College of Business students were awarded scholarships from the Arkansas Center for Research in Economics for their weekly participation this semester in two reading group programs.

In “The Role of Government in a Free Society” group led by UCA Economics Professor, Dr. Collin Hodges, and Department Chair, Dr. Tom Snyder, ten participants read and discussed works by scholars such as Adam Smith, J.S. Mill, John Locke, and Karl Marx, as well as more contemporary works by Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, Robert Nozick, and John Rawls to examine what a variety of economists, political philosophers, and public policy experts have contributed to this topic. The group also traveled to Dallas in September to participate in a group summit with other universities that completed the same readings. Students were awarded $500 on November 14 for their participation this semester.

A second reading group also met this semester and awarded $500 scholarships to students who participated in the philosophy and law reading group called “Landmark Supreme Court Cases” led by Business Law Professor Dr. Anthony McMullen and Philosophy Professor Dr. Jacob Held. Over the course of ten weeks, students in this reading group studied major Supreme Court opinions covering topics such as economic freedom, federalism, equal protection, privacy, and intellectual property rights. Working through these decisions helped students understand the rule of law, Constitutionalism, and the role the judicial branch plays in our government.

All students were required to gain acceptance into the program and actively participate in the program throughout the semester.

For questions about reading groups and the application process continuing reading, or contact Suzanne Massey at smassey@uca.edu.

COB Accounting’s Annual Fear the Strike Event Raises $1K for Ronald McDonald House

On Monday, November 7, UCA Accounting held its annual networking and fundraiser event attended by 18 UCA accounting students, 4 faculty/staff, and 16 professionals.

Teams included firm representatives and students competed in a bowling tournament, and the highest average score won a donation to the charity of their choice. The Landmark team won, so the Ronald McDonald House will receive a check for $1,000.

Other great teams of the evening included Centennial Bank, Ernst & Young, Forvis, Frost, Garland & Greenwood, HCJ, and Hogan Taylor.

The annual event is a way for accounting students to engage with professionals of the industry in a fun and relaxed setting.

Accounting Students Make an Impact through the VITA Program

Every year, hundreds of thousands of dollars are unclaimed when citizens do not file tax returns. Many do not file because they believe they can’t afford to file their taxes, but the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program can help qualified tax payers file their returns for free. The program, allowed by the IRS, offers free tax help to people who make $57,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and limited English-speaking taxpayers who need help in preparing their own tax returns.

Macy Dillard

For students, VITA is a great opportunity to gain experience and give back to the local Conway community. Led by UCA Accounting Professor Ashley Phillips, the program is open to COB students who would like to volunteer or earn college credit in accounting. VITA volunteers receive training and can either prepare returns or do intake. Experienced CPAs then review each return.

“Taxes are stressful for many people, and by helping through the VITA program, I was able to alleviate a big part of that burden. During review meetings, I could see the gratitude and relief wash over my clients’ faces,” said accounting student Macy Dillard.

Last year, students volunteered approximately 420 hours to return more than $324,000 of taxpayer money to the community through the preparation of over 250 tax returns for low-income taxpayers in the region.

“I am so thankful for the big difference I got to make as just a student for both individuals, their families, and the local community as a whole. It is an amazing feeling to see firsthand how much you are helping someone. On top of that, I got great experience, developed my social skills, and gained volunteer hours,” Dillard added.

To receive college credit, students must register for the course that occurs in spring, complete at least 25 tax returns, complete a total of 80 hours (3 hours per week) at United Way. To find out more, contact Professor Ashley Phillips about how to register for the course in spring 2023.

If you need help preparing your tax return in early 2023, learn more about getting help from VITA in Central Arkansas.

All Students Welcome to Compete in COB Homecoming Innovation Challenge

Imagine Lab Innovation Challenge 4: The Homecoming Challenge

Entries due October 29, 2022

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COB launched this challenge series to help students develop and exhibit their talents in innovation. For this fourth and final open-call opportunity this semester, think about current UCAers and alumni. Think Homecoming 2022 – the pageantry, the festivities, the memories. Current and former students can find something meaningful during Homecoming.

WHO: Any UCA student is welcome to enter this challenge whether you attend UCA online or in person.
WHAT: Imagine Lab Innovation Challenge 4: The Homecoming Challenge
WHEN: 
Video submissions are due by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, October 29, 2022.
WHY: (1) Prizes. (2) Entry into Tournament of Champions. (3) Bragging rights on your resume.

For Homecoming this week, students are invited to participate in an either/or challenge. Either
(a) design an “official” sticker to be placed on water bottles, personal tech devices, car windows, etc. or
(b) make a music video using the UCA Fight Song as the music and lyrics.

Students from any major or college at any level — both face-to-face and online — can participate in the Innovation Challenge Series.  The deadline is Saturday, October 29, 2022, at midnight to exercise their opportunity-seeking and problem-solving skills.

Using tools found in the Imagine Lab (3rd Floor of UCA’s College of Business), make Homecoming memorable in this core challenge. Then, make a video of yourself highlighting the features of your approach. Upload that video to YouTube and share a link via this form. Please know that the video can be as long as you want, but only the first two (2) minutes will be viewed for prize consideration. Prizes are gift cards valued at $100 for the best approach, $50 for second, and $25 for third. Email for questions or details.

Also, many thanks to Stoby’s for contributing to the first place winner prize!

Be sure to request access to the Imagine Lab via the Department of Marketing & Management: mktgmgmt@uca.edu.

Innovation Challenge 2 Winners Announced

Congratulations to our Imagine Lab Innovation Challenge 2 winners: Savannah Conly, Grayson Pinson, and Veronica Bertolusso!

The competition launched early this fall, and this time students were challenged to select a day in September and tell us how to celebrate it in a big way. Using tools found in the Imagine Lab (3rd Floor of UCA’s College of Business), the competition winners designed a big-time celebration that, at the least, brings people together.

Many thanks to Stoby’s, a long-time Arkansas favorite, for contributing to our prizes for our first place winners!

See Related Article: Innovation Challenge Series at UCA: First Winners Announced!


First Place: Savannah Conly – ($100 value prize) + Stoby’s prize

Cinema day is a day all about relaxation, connecting with your friends and family, and having fun. By making this a National Holiday, it brings people together and allows them to enjoy something together. It caters to all ages, it brings people together, and creates a new market for a different spin on gift giving.


Second Place: Grayson Pinson ($50 value prize)

The Birth Day is a day where we recognize everyone’s birthday on one day. It doesn’t replace your actual birthday; instead, it is a day that we can all come together to commonly celebrate one day that we all love. It solves all gift-giving problems related to birthdays. We now have one centralized day that gifts can be expected rather than having to decide who you will gift a gift to on their actual birthday. It is a day I would personally also love to celebrate- it sounds very fun for everyone to have a birthday at the same time.


Third Place: Veronica Bertolusso ($25 value prize)

My proposed day of celebration is the International Student Day! It would be celebrated yearly on September 28. ISD will allow international students (and not!) to get together and appreciate all cultures from around the globe. During ISD international students will celebrated together throughout one big cookout where everyone will make their most loved Home meal and will later be followed by a karaoke night with song in each home language. ISD is celebrated during the first two weeks of Hispanic Heritage Month. However, many cultures not only aren’t celebrated well enough, but some of them are still unknown! ISD would help solve this issue and expand cultural knowledge to international students and not! And who doesn’t love a good cookout and karaoke night!


Congratulations to these winners. Stay tuned for the announcement of our next challenge on Monday, October 10!

Senior CIS Major Earns Full-time Job After Internship

Senior Computer Information Systems major Aubrie Sinclair is set to earn her BBA in December, but even with all her hard work, she did not expect to secure a full-time job months before graduation.

After her summer Database Tester internship at Acxiom was extended into fall, Aubrie was surprised in mid-September with a full-time offer to join the company. She has accepted a position to be a Delivery Support Analyst after graduation.

Learn more about Aubrie’s success in her path to career development from her own words:

Why did you choose to major in business?

I chose to major in business on a whim, but I think what’s more important is why I stayed. I stayed majoring in business because of the amazing individuals I met when I changed my major; I stayed because my advisor in the COB encourages me and pushes me to be my very best, and right alongside him, my professors do the same. Majoring in business can be tough, but I wouldn’t want to struggle and succeed in any other major. The College of Business has given me endless opportunities to learn and grow in an environment that allows me to be surrounded by fellow peers and professors who have the same drive and passion as I have. Being a business major has made my time at UCA worthwhile.

Why did you choose this internship?

I chose this internship as a Database Tester at Acxiom because I saw it as an opportunity for growth with a company that I could see myself working for one day. The internship aligned with skills I had prior knowledge of, but it also grabbed my attention because it required me to expand my knowledge and pick up new skills along the way.

What did you learn at this internship?

At this internship, I learned a variety of skills. I learned very quickly that problem-solving and communication were going to be key in this career. Being a Database Tester required me to think outside of the box daily and pushed me to practice concise communication with both my co-workers and the client. I worked with SQL Database every day, and I enjoyed that I was exposed to hands-on experience with software that I have been taught at UCA.

How do you think this internship will be beneficial in your career?

Internships can be beneficial to students’ careers in many ways. It can show you what you do or don’t want out of a future job and help you grow in your skills. This internship allowed me to exercise the skills I already have and obtain new ones, and it allowed me to network with people who have experience in my future career field. I know this internship helped me me to grow as a student and a future businesswoman in technology. Ultimately, it helped me earn a full-time position with the company.

How do you plan to use your degree?

I have always planned to use my degree in Computer Information Systems and Analytics to work for a technology company that is focused on innovation and creativity. My eventual goal is to go into Business/Data Analytics, and I plan to pursue my master’s degree in Applied Data Analytics.

What advice do you have for students who may (or may not) be considering an internship?

My advice for anyone who is considering applying for or accepting an internship is – just go for it! I never thought I would land such an amazing internship, but I applied anyway and got an interview. The worst-case scenario might be that you get real-life experience filling out applications and interviewing for a company. Don’t let big companies and competitive interviews scare you off; believe in yourself, what you are capable of, and bring that to your interview because that’s what companies want to see.

Innovation Challenge Series at UCA: First Winners Announced!

See related post: Innovation Challenge Series Released at UCA

The first two winners of our new and exciting innovation challenge are Connor Tuttle and Savannah Conly! The competition launched in the COB Imagine Lab last week challenging students to design a suitcase that accommodates clean clothes at the beginning of a trip and dirty clothes during and at the end of a trip. Using tools found in the Imagine Lab (3rd Floor of UCA’s College of Business), the competition winners designed a suitcase that overcomes this core challenge.

Best-upgraded design – $100 value prize: Connor Tuttle

Many thanks to Stoby’s, a long-time Arkansas favorite, for contributing to our prizes for our first place winners!

In his submission, Connor said:
“Imagine a for-the-most-part normal ole’ suitcase, with a golden twist addressing an issue that has been around for decades! The fundamental design premise behind this suitcase is that down the middle of the main compartment there is a stretchy nylon divider that allows for different proportions of clothes to be held on either side depending on how far along you are on your trip! The front-facing section of the suitcase has the typical small, medium, and large compartment. The back, however, is also accessible for dealing with dirty laundry. Taking up approximately half of the top portion of the back-facing side will be a zipper compartment housing all of the tools necessary to temporarily deal with dirty laundry while on the go. Within the flap in the back, there is a mesh-like pocket to slide dryer sheets that have been folded twice right into the space to serve as a form of temporary air freshening.”

Second Place Design – $50 value prize: Savannah Conly

Savannah branded her suitcase and described her design as, “a suitcase designed to help keep you organized, from the beginning to end of a trip. With the detachable laundry bag, clothes rack, and hard shell, it is easier than ever to Rome more organized than ever before. Not only does it offer a way to keep your clean and dirty clothes separate, it offers an at-home closet feel, and you lose no space to pack.

Stay tuned. The first challenge was for students, but we will be engaging other friends on and off campus this semester. Get ready to compete! Teams are welcome. Email for questions or details. And if you plan to compete in the next challenge, request access to the Imagine Lab now!

Department of Marketing & Management: mktgmgmt@uca.edu

Dr. Mike Ellis Explains: How does data analytics affect you?

Do you use spell check or autocomplete when you write? Have you ever gotten a recommendation for a TV show, movie, or product that turned out to be just what you wanted?

These helpful tools are made possible by analyzing past data to predict what should come next. It makes sense that if you enjoyed action movies in the past, you will probably like one tonight, right?

Generally, we refer to data analysis to support better decision-making as “data analytics.” That can involve better decisions on what comes next when you’re writing, which movie you might like to watch tonight, or many other decisions you make regularly. When we consider how data analytics works within the business world, we mean that data is used to discover ways to improve a business. Data analytics can assist in business decisions such as how best to order inventory, set prices, or identify our best customers.

One way to think of data analytics is as a range of options.

On one end, we have data science, the most technical branch of analytics. It typically requires advanced training in statistics and computer science, often in the form of a doctoral degree, and focuses on the theory and tools of analytics. At the other end, we have business people who want to make better decisions. They need some knowledge of analytical tools and techniques, but the business context is more important. It isn’t the tool but how it is used that really matters to this person. This end of the range is “applied data analytics.”

What gets the most attention in the media? Since October 2012, when the Harvard Business Review called “data scientist” the sexiest job of the 21st century, data science has been getting all the ink. But that overlooks an important issue: only a small fraction of companies have the resources they can dedicate to a proper data science effort.

Most small- to medium-sized companies (and a lot of big ones, too) need to find ways to get value from data inside accounting, finance, marketing, logistics, and other operational departments. The solution lies at the applied end of the data analytics range.

A knowledgeable analyst can discover hidden insights in data in many ways. Some are as simple as organizing and visualizing data. For example, say an air conditioning manufacturer is having problems with units arriving in one part of the country with cracked tubing. When looking at the shipping data for the damaged units, the manufacturer discovers that poor road conditions are causing huge jolts to the trucks carrying them, which leads to the cracks. With this discovery, the air conditioning manufacturer is able to upgrade the suspension systems used on those routes, and the expensive problem can be solved.

Because applied data analytics tools are a common solution to business problems, a career in data analysis is a wise choice.

At the UCA College of Business, we have undergraduate and graduate programs that teach the concepts and skills to prepare students to use applied data analytics. Students at the undergraduate level can get the same solid business foundation as our other programs while learning about analytical tools and techniques. Our technical certificate serves as a standalone credential for anyone who wants a foundation in data analytics to boost their career. The graduate-level programs are hands-on programs intended for working professionals and others who want to expand their skill set or are looking for a career change. The Graduate Certificate in Data Analytics is an introduction to applied data analytics that can be completed alone or as part of the MAcc or MBA program. Our Master of Science in Applied Data Analytics takes the student deeper into analytics while keeping one foot firmly planted in the business world.

Building complex statistical models from scratch might be interesting, but it doesn’t provide value for most companies. If you are more interested in solving business puzzles than in creating fancy models, check out our programs. Or, if you are running a company with a huge amount of data and aren’t sure how to get value from it, keep your eyes open for one of our graduates!


About the Author

Mike Ellis

Dr. Michael Ellis is an Associate Professor of Computer Information Systems and Analytics (CISA) at the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) College of Business, where he has served since August 2014. He earned a Ph.D. in Information Systems from the University of Kansas; he also holds an MS in Management Information Systems from the University of Houston and an MS in Finance from Texas A&M University. Ellis teaches both undergraduate and graduate students and has numerous published scholarly works.

2022 Faculty Excellence Award Winners: Professors Nelson, Horpedahl, Shaw, Burleson, Chen, & Schlachter

Each year the College of Business recognizes its outstanding faculty with awards. This year, four new awards were created to highlight the exceptional work of this faculty and to encourage continued excellence in the areas of societal impact, research, service, innovative teaching, engaged teaching, and an individual’s impact on the college itself.

(pictured from left to right, back: Schlachter, Chen, Nelson; front: Burleson, Horpedahl, Shaw)

COB Impact Award: Steve Nelson

This new award was created to recognize faculty or staff who have outsized impact on the success of the UCA College of Business. Professor Nelson’s work outside of the classroom is most often noticed by faculty. He has served as the Director of Assessment since 2016 and revamped data collection and improvement team communications. He is an outstanding communicator who helps all faculty understand what and when to assess, which contributes to continuous improvement of the college for our students.

Societal Impact Award: Dr. Jeremy Horpedahl

Dr. Horpedahl is the incoming Director of the Arkansas Center for Research in Economics (ACRE). Outside of the classroom, he is well known in the region for sharing his expert testimony with the Arkansas Legislature as well as with the general public in the newspaper and on television. On Twitter, he helps citizens understand how to tell fact from fiction and often dispels incorrect statistics and rumors. He is also a regular contributor to Economist writing every day. This new award was created to encourage societal impact such as Dr. Horpedahl’s impact on countless students and citizens.

Innovative Teaching Award: Steve Schlachter

Professor Schlachter was recognized because of his efforts to innovate in every one of the classes he teaches, whether face-to-face or online. His work sets an excellent example as the world of higher education attempts to find ways to engage students in- and outside of the classroom.

Engaged Teaching Award: Professor Cynthia Burleson

Professor Burleson is the Director of the Center for Insurance and Risk Management (IRM). She welcomes IRM professionals on a regular basis to help students gain experience and network within the industry. Burleson’s excellent work contributes to UCA’s IRM program, which remains the only IRM program in the region, and partnerships with employers are one reason why UCA has one of the most active internship programs in the state.

Excellence in Research Award: Dr. Alex Chen

Dr. Chen is known for his excellence in research. The quality and quantity of his published works are truly excellent, but he was recognized for this award because his focus is teaching others how to research well. Dr. Chen collaborates with other faculty and students in much of his work. In this past year, four of his articles that involved student collaborations underwent review, an achievement which helps his students stand out as they pursue employment and higher education opportunities.

Excellence in Service Award: Susan Shaw

Professor Shaw serves on committees doing work that is noticed by faculty, but her work coordinating the annual IT Careers Camp in partnership with Acxiom impacts high school students around Arkansas.  The event is a significant amount of work each year, and Susan does a fantastic job organizing the camp, which educates students about IT careers and encourages them to continue their education beyond high school.