Insurance Industry Leader Turned Faculty Member Brings Experience to Classroom, Leads UCA Center for Insurance & Risk Management

Ivan Hudson, Director of the UCA Center for Insurance & Risk Management and Lecturer, joined the College of Business faculty in fall 2023. In this interview, he shares his insights about his first semester, his advice for students, and his vision for what’s ahead in 2024.

Give us some highlights of your experience in the business environment from before you joined the UCA College of Business Faculty.

I got my career start with the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce. In November of 2008 I went to work for the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation as Program Associate. At this time in 2008, two-thirds of Arkansas voted to pass the Lottery legislation. Fast Forward to October of 2009 when I joined the start-up management team at the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery. Over the three and a half year period that I was there, I served in a number of capacities, including Procurement Director and Internal Operations Director. I’ll completed my MBA while there, and when I finished my MBA program at UALR December 2012, I launched the Ivan Hudson Agency as my entry into the insurance industry. In March 2014, I secured my Series 6 and Series 63 designations to help set me apart in the industry.

Networking has always been important to me. My personal and professional mantra is “You can network or not work, but you can’t do both.” That really speaks to my core value of building relationships. Solid meaningful relationships, will take you places that even education and other resources can’t.

Career Facts about Director Hudson:

  • December 2012- Received MBA from UALR
  • December 2012 – Launched the Ivan Hudson Agency
  • 2017-2018 – President of Rotary Club of West Little Rock
  • President, National African-American Insurance Association – Arkansas Chapter
  • Independent Insurance Agents of Arkansas, Education Foundation, Board of Directors
  • Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, National Diversity Council
  • NAREB National Insurance Committee (NNIC) Member

How did you hear about this position at UCA and what led you to focus your time in the classroom?
Although the insurance industry is robust and dynamic, it also is relatively small. When networking and getting involved in industry associations, I made meaningful connections that landed me at events on UCA’s campus. After learning more about the Insurance & Risk Management program, I connected with UCA’s EFIRM department and maintained ongoing communication. Once I learned that my predecessor had re-entered the industry and the Director role was vacant, I actually put on my thinking cap to see if I could help identify a strong candidate for the search committee to consider. The more I looked at the qualifications, I realized that I had the skillset and experiences that would provide unique perspective in the classroom. I was at a cross-section in my career where I decided the best use of my time was to leverage my experiences to invest in students.

Why did you choose the Insurance field as your subject of work?
The subject actually chose me. After working in economic development, private philanthropy government administration, I made a career transition December of 2012. I was fascinated by insurance and financial services after identifying there were huge gaps with consumer access and education around very basic principles. I launched an insurance agency and became an active professional in the industry by getting involved with various industry organizations. Insurance is a lot more technical than people realize, so I would spend a lot of time educating my clients. It’s the same energy and commitment to education that I bring when teaching in the classroom.

What about your job now teaching brings you the most joy?
I am thrilled about engaging with my fellow faculty members to bring real-time experiences to students that they would not get from lectures or just reading a text book. Part of my role requires me to serve as the Faculty Advisor for the the student organization dedicated to students pursing insurance and risk management, actuarial science and related degrees – Gamma Iota Sigma. Pouring into students and seeing their level of interest and understanding evolve is very rewarding.

Fall was your first semester here. What was your favorite part or memory from the semester?
My favorite part of the fall semester was hearing and seeing the students perspective evolve regarding various insurance topics and applications. Having a front row seat to students have “light bulb” moments and witnessing their level of understanding and interest grow was absolutely fascinating. There were even a few students that changed their major to Insurance & Risk Management.

What tips or advice would you give to new, current, or prospective business students?
I would encourage students to keep an open mind to the myriad of careers that await them by obtaining a degree from UCA COB. The business climate can be very fast-paced and dynamic and simultaneously, very rewarding! I’m a huge advocate for our Insurance & Risk Management program, because it is the only one of its kind in the state of Arkansas. If a student decides not to pursue Insurance & Risk Management as a major, it is still available as a consideration for a minor. Our institution and the College of Business specifically, is a primary source for local, regional and even national employers looking for top talent, no matter the major/minor. Business students have access to internship and real-time experiences that could lead to fascinating job and career paths.

After moving to the classroom, how do you envision 2024 being different for you ? What new goals and perspectives do you have going into this new year?
For 2024 and beyond, I believe it is important to continue highlighting the value of UCA’s Insurance program as the only one of its kind in Arkansas. There are lots of real-time changes in the insurance and financial services marketplaces that dictate future job and career opportunities that await our students. To that end, I would like to facilitate additional opportunities for industry leaders and professionals to engage with and inspire students in our program, and especially students that actively participate in Gamma Iota Sigma. The Alpha Psi Chapter housed here at UCA is the campus RSO geared towards networking and leadership development opportunities for students in insurance and risk-related fields. Personally, I plan to learn more about the UCA campus community and the at-large Conway community.


Aside from his duties as the Director of Center for Insurance & Risk Management at UCA, Hudson can be found this semester teaching in the classroom: one “Introduction to Insurance” course, one “Risk and Insurance” course, and two Insurance Practicum courses as well as an online “Risk and Insurance” course. He also is the sponsor for the Gamma Iota Sigma registered student organization on campus.

Insurance Professor Dr. Yao Expertise Featured on WalletHub

Assistant Professor Dr. Yao of Insurance & Risk Management contributed his expertise to Wallethub recently on the topic of how much care insurance people need.

Yao addresses why states have different insurance requirements, whether drivers should purchase more than the minimum requirement, and other types drivers can consider.

If you want to read his advice, check out the full article today.

COB Student Elected International Rep of International Professional Fraternity

Insurance and Risk Management student William Biernat has been selected as an International Representative for the Grand Chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma.

The organization shared on its social media platforms, “#GammaIS thrilled to congratulate William Biernat of the Alpha Psi Chapter at the University of Central Arkansas and Zane Smith of the Beta Xi Chapter at St. Mary’s University for being elected International Student Representatives for the 2022-2023 academic year.” [credit @GammaIotaSigma]

Biernat says he is proud and excited to have been chosen to serve in this new leadership role. He was chosen as the Outstanding GIS student for the College of Business at the conclusion of the 2021-2022 academic year.

“I am especially excited and grateful to announce that I have been chosen to serve as the International Student Representative for GIS for the upcoming year,” said Biernat. “I will serve alongside Zane S. as we will represent all 4000+ members and 99 collegiate chapters all across the nation. Can’t wait to get started!

With 97+ Chapters Nationwide with 4,000+ members organized to promote, encourage, and sustain student interest in insurance, risk management, and actuarial science as professions, Gamma Iota Sigma is an international professional fraternity that aims to encourage high moral and scholastic attainments and to facilitate the interaction and cooperation of educational institutions, industry, and professional organizations by fostering research, scholarship, and improved public relations.

The Best of College of Business: 2021-2022

The UCA College of Business delivers experiences that prepare and inspire students to be ethical, innovative and engaged business leaders who positively impact their communities. We are committed to a culture of excellence across all programs, activities, and events, with a focus on action-based learning and student success and retention.

Despite disruptions due to COVID during our last academic year, our students and alumni have overcome obstacles and risen as leaders. Several COB alumni were honored for their efforts in their communities and workplaces while our students volunteered at food pantries, prepared free tax returns for low-income Arkansans, and earned awards.

This annual review gives a brief look at this year’s student, alumni, and faculty success as well as evidence of our commitment to engaged learning.

If you have a story of success or accomplishment from 2021-2022 to add to this list, or anytime in the future, please send it to US.

Sincerely,
Michael Hargis
Dean, UCA College of Business



NEW & NOTEWORTHY

To address the changing business environment, COB expanded to add three new Applied Data Analytics programs:
– a Bachelor of Science
– a Master of Science
– and a technical certificate.

COB welcomed new Marketing & Management Department Chair, Dr. Tracy A. Suter, who began his role at the start of the spring semester.

Dr. Suter has taught and led at 5 institutions over the past 25 years; has authored many academic articles and textbooks and served in other administrative capacities; most extensive experience was as a 15-year faculty member at Oklahoma State University.

Learn more about his credentials, career, and interests.

COB Student Ambassadors engage, connect, and serve as representatives for our college. Twenty-one students took on the task of serving as COB’s first ever group of ambassadors.

They have talked with incoming students, received swag and headshots, and experienced unique development opportunities available only to ambassadors.


AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Economics student Caleb Vines won the Student Research Award at the 2022 Society of Business, Industry, and Economics (SOBIE) conference.

Several other COB faculty and students across all disciplines also presented papers at the SOBIE and International Academy of Business Disciplines (IABD) conferences this spring.  MORE

COB named its Outstanding Students who were chosen because they combined exemplary academic performance with internships, volunteerism, professional development, experiential education, and participation in clubs and other important experiences.

Daisy Martinez Carranza took home the top honor of COB’s 2022 Outstanding Student. READ MORE

UCA’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) program was named to the Princeton Review’s 2022 Best Online MBA Programs and University HQ’s Best Arkansas MBA Programs list.

Associate Professor of economics and ACRE Scholar Jeremy Horpedahl received the Public Choice’s Duncan Black Prize for the best article contributed by a senior scholar.

Karen Shaw, a member of the COB Board of Advisors, was named 2021 CFO of the Year by Arkansas Business.

Shaw was a leader even during her UCA days, as a charter member of Beta Alpha Psi, but her leadership development didn’t stop there. Learn more about Karen’s leadership as a business and community leader.

Several COB alumni, including Joyti Lal (pictured), Ericka Gutierrez, and Scott Dews were named as rising business and community leaders by Arkansas Business.


Three teams representing UCA’s MBA program placed among the top 100 performers in a worldwide business simulation competition called GLO-BUS. Nearly 2,000 teams from 99 colleges and universities competed.


Congratulations to COB’s Theta Lambda Chapter who earned first place at the 2022 Beta Alpha Psi regional conference competitions in the category of Best Practices in the Art of Engagement and will compete at the conference in Orlando this summer. The chapter also earned a second-place win for Best Practices. MORE

In addition, UCA’s chapter of Beta Alpha Psi achieved superior status for 2021-2022 from the national chapter. To be a superior chapter, the registered student organization met the following requirements:

  • Average member completed at least 32 hours of service and professional development (at least 12 each)
    >265 hours of professional development
    >555 hours of service
  • Chapter completed at least 8 reaching-out activities including attending conferences; competing in best practices and project run-with-it; alumni activities’ multi-chapter events; and promoting careers in accounting, finance, information systems, and/or data analytics.

Congratulations to our Beta Alpha Psi students and to Connie McKnight and Ashley Phillips, our tireless faculty advisors, for another year of superior status!


CAREER DEVELOPMENT & SERVICE LEARNING

More than 65 volunteers and students from UCA’s Biz@Bear Residential College collected over $1650 worth of personal care donations for children in Arkansas foster care.

This event ended an academic year with more than 1800 student engagement hours led by Academic Director, Dr. Louisa Moseley; over 200 of those were service hours. MORE

Accounting Professor Ashley Phillips was awarded the Peter J. Mehl Service-Learning Faculty of the Year Award for her work with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Under her leadership, 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.

Sixteen business professionals connected with COB students at the annual Women in Business Sixteen business professionals connected with COB students at the annual Women in Business luncheon for which a panel and table leaders shared the “Top 5 Things Women in Business Need to Know.”

 Beta Alpha Psi hosted a COB Escape Room of intricate puzzles for students to solve. To “escape,” participants applied tips for create an effective resume. READ MORE

In ’21 & ’22, COB and Acxiom partnered to provide a four-day Information Technology (IT) Careers Camp for high school students.

During the camp, students stayed on UCA’s campus, were mentored by industry experts, and participated in exercises in programming, cybersecurity, robotics, 3D modeling, and 3D laser printing.

Congratulations to all of our graduates in 2021-2022!



If you have a story of success or accomplishment from 2021-2022 to add to this list, please send it to the UCA College of Business.

For year-round news and updates from the UCA College of Business, make sure to visit uca.edu/business/news.

The Forum | October 12, 2021 | 12:30pm | Lunch Served

All business majors and young professionals, but especially IRM majors, are welcome to lunch at The Forum on October 12, 2021, starting at 12:30 p.m. in the Brewer-Hegeman Conference Center on UCA campus. Network with insurance professionals and join a supportive atmosphere of professional development. This event is hosted by UCA’s Insurance and Risk Management program and the Young Insurance Professionals. If you have questions, please contact Cynthia Burleson, Director of the UCA Center for Insurance and Risk Management.

 

BXS Insurance 2022 Commercial Lines Account Associate Training Program

Commercial Lines Account Associate Training Program

The Commercial Lines Account Associate Training Program in Little Rock, Arkansas will begin in June 2022.  This is a 9-month program providing real-world experience in a supportive environment with opportunities to learn from niche specialists in the insurance industry.

Check out these resources: Program Information | Boost Your Career

Commercial Lines Account Associate Training Program – please follow this link to apply.

If you have questions, contact

Michelle Duncan, CIC, CISR | Assistant Vice President 

Manager, Client Services | Resources, Recruitment & Retention (O) 501-614-1564

Terri Hayes-Winstead Memorial Scholarship Awarded to Senior Business IRM Student Richard Casto

Richard Casto Receives Terri Hayes-Winstead Memorial Scholarship

Theresa Hayes, Dylan Dugger, Staci Shearon (PIA), Richard Casto (recipient), Cynthia Burleson (UCA) Hana McCown, Tammi Van Cleave

Conversation centered on hopes for the future on Tuesday, August 17, 2021, as UCA senior Richard Casto was awarded the Terri Hayes-Winstead Memorial Scholarship. Terri’s sister, Tammi Van Cleave, and Tammi’s employer, Scottish American of Arkansas, team up each year to award the scholarship to a College of Business student in the Insurance and Risk Management (IRM) program who demonstrates potential for the industry and financial need to fund continued education. [Read more…]