Marketing Professor Susan Myers Wins Award for Paper on Instagram Engagement During Pandemic

Susan Myers, Ph.D., associate professor of marketing

Susan Myers, Ph.D., associate professor of marketing, won Best Paper: Digital & Social Media from the Society for Marketing Advances for her work regarding increased Instagram use during this year’s pandemic.

Myers received the award Nov. 6 during SMA’s virtual 2020 conference.

Her paper looked at how COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing guidelines impacted consumer use of Instagram by looking at engagement rates with the top brands on the platform. The study compared engagement rates in the two months prior to the first regulations put in place for COVID-19 and the two months following it.

“The research indicated the engagement rate per post was higher during the pandemic than before despite the fact there was not a significant difference in the quantity of posts made by the brands,” Myers said.

Myers also found that consumers were generally looking for content unrelated to the pandemic as posts with COVID-related hashtags did not have a higher rate of engagement.

While some of these changes in social media use may be temporary, Myers said corporations will likely continue to invest more as consumers develop new routines in the pandemic.

“It seems doubtful that consumers will return completely to the old ways of operating as customer expectations for digital alternatives have grown,” Myers said. “Customer reliance on digital consumption continues to grow as will their expectations for brands’ digital experiences.”

The Restaurant Recession

Jeremy Horpedahl, Ph.D., assistant professor of economics

One of the most visible signs of the COVID-19 recession has been the massive harm to restaurants and bars. We see it as we drive around town: Restaurants are closed, doing curbside service only, or have radically altered their layout to make their spaces safer.

We can also see the harm to restaurants in the economic data. Back in the depths of the shutdowns and labor market contraction in April, fully one-third of all job losses in Texas were centered on the “food services and drinking places” industry, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls these establishments. Pre-pandemic, this industry accounted for 8.7 percent of all nonfarm jobs in Texas.

In total, over 450,000 restaurant and bar workers were out of work, out of about 1.1 million before the pandemic. Relative to the size of the restaurant and bar industry, workers at these businesses were hit four times as hard as the average worker. While everything is bigger in Texas, these figures are closely comparable to national data, where restaurants and bars accounted for 7.9 percent of employment before the pandemic, and about 28 percent of job losses through April.

Within the restaurant and bar industry, bars and restaurants that depend primarily on dining room service were hit much harder. Fast food restaurants, for example, were already well-equipped to provide drive-thru service.

Read more at Texas CEO Magazine.

Centennial Bank Gives $25,000 to UCA College of Business Enhancement Fund, Names Student Commons Area

Centennial Bank has given $25,000 to the University of Central Arkansas College of Business’ Enhancement Fund.

The enhancement fund supports student programming, enhanced learning opportunities, as well as professional development opportunities for students, faculty, and staff in the College of Business. As part of the gift, Centennial Bank has also named the Student Commons area on the second floor of the College of Business building as the Centennial Bank Student Commons.

“Centennial Bank is one of our college’s most involved partners and supporters,” said Michael Hargis, dean of the UCA College of Business. “Their consistent support and partnership enables our college to provide important learning opportunities for our faculty, staff and students.”

More than 40 UCA alumni and current students are employed by Centennial Bank, making it one of the university’s largest corporate partners.

The bank is the wholly owned subsidiary of Home BancShares, co-founded by Johnny Allison and Robert H. “Bunny” Adcock, member of the University of Central Arkansas Board of Trustees. It has locations in Arkansas, Florida, Alabama and New York.

In 2019, Centennial Bank became the first bank to establish an endowed scholarship in the college.

In 2006, the bank established the Johnny Allison Entrepreneurship Speaker Series, which has brought more than 20 speakers to the college to talk with students. Past speakers include Bunny Adcock, Marshall Stewart, Karen Garrett, Rush Harding, Rick Massey, Steve Strange, and former Govs. Mike Beebe and Mike Huckabee.

Additionally, the bank created the John. W. Allison Entrepreneur Endowed Professorship Fund which supports faculty within the Innovation & Entrepreneurship program. The program began in 2012 with a cohort of 40 students which has nearly doubled since.

The UCA College of Business has more than 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students. It offers 14 baccalaureate degrees, two master’s and one graduate certificate and one technical 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 Center for Insurance & Risk Management Director Cindi Burleson Featured on Arkansas Shrimp Tank Podcast

Center for Insurance & Risk Management Director Cindi Burleson was on a recent episode of the Arkansas Shrimp Tank Podcast.

Burleson spoke with co-hosts Matt Haas and David Sims about the development and growth of the program — the only of its kind in Arkansas — and how 2020 has changed the way we view risk management.

Burleson is a lecturer in the Department of Economics, Finance, and Insurance & Risk Management. Listen to the full episode here and catch a video recap above.

UCA College of Business Professors Present Arguments on Arkansas Issue 1

Issue 1 on Arkansas ballots this November considers an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution that would continue a 0.5% sales tax for highways, roads and bridges.

UCA College of Business professors Jeremy Horpedahl, Ph.D., assistant professor of economics, and Doug Voss, Ph.D., professor of logistics and supply chain management, recently presented both sides of the argument in op-eds published in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

To read the argument in favor of Issue 1, presented by Voss, click here. For the argument against Issue 1, presented by Horpedahl, click here. The views expressed in the op-eds are the authors’ own and not an official position of UCA or the College of Business.

UCA MBA Named One of Most Affordable Online Programs

The University of Central Arkansas Master of Business Administration program was named among the most affordable online programs in the country by Best Value Schools.

UCA was the highest-rated Arkansas school named to the list and the second-highest Southland Conference school.

“Enrolling in the online MBA program at the University of Central Arkansas is more than just enrolling in an academic program, it is opening the doors to new opportunities,” reads the review of UCA by Best Value Schools. “Students collaborate and with faculty to learn the intricacies of decision making and risk-taking. Students learn how to meet challenges from within the classroom, or in this case the online course and in their personal lives. Students learn from faculty who are experts in their field and dedicated to each student’s success. Students can attend anytime, day or evening and enroll in courses in the fall, spring, or summer terms.”

The UCA MBA program offers four concentrations — Finance, Health Care Administration, Information Management and International Business — to meet a wide variety of needs for our students. Those who do not wish to select a concentration may earn a general MBA. The program also allows students to complete a 12-hour Graduate Certificate in Data Analytics while enrolled in the MBA program.

Learn more about the UCA MBA here.

Three Alumni Make 20 In Their 20s List

Three UCA College of Business alumni were recently named to Arkansas Business’ 20 In Their 20s List. Corey Parks (BBA ’16, MBA ’18), Christopher Diaz (BBA ’14), and William Jones (BBA ’12).

Each year, the list recognizes young, talented leaders in Arkansas’ business and nonprofit community.

Parks earned his bachelor’s in Insurance & Risk Management in 2016, and his master’s in Business Administration in 2018. He serves as vice president of economic development for the Conway Chamber of Commerce & Conway Development Corp.

CLICK HERE: Corey Parks Profile

Christopher Diaz earned his bachelor’s in Business Administration with an emphasis in Innovation & Entrepreneurship in 2014. He serves as a commercial loan officer at First Security Bank in Benton.

William Jones earned his bachelor’s in Finance in 2012. He is vice president of operations at Sissy’s Log Cabin in Pine Bluff.

College of Business Gets $100k Gift from Acxiom

Acxiom Gives $120,000 to UCA

Acxiom’s most recent gift to the College of Business and College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics pushes the company’s total support provided to UCA past $1 million.

The University of Central Arkansas College of Business has received a $100,000 gift from Acxiom to support several initiatives.

The gift is part of a larger $120,000 gift from Acxiom to UCA to support the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and College of Business. The gift takes Acxiom’s support of UCA to $1.1 million across a 30-year partnership.

In the College of Business, Acxiom’s gift will support the Acxiom IT Careers Camp, a yearly, two-day camp held on UCA’s campus for high school students interested in careers in information technology. The camp began in 2007 and has welcomed more than 400 students to UCA.

The gift will also support the Acxiom Scholarship, open to qualifying juniors and seniors majoring in Management Information Systems, and the Acxiom Information Systems Student Award, given each year to the top Information Systems major.

“Acxiom has played a vital role to our college, especially in our Department of Management Information Systems, where IT and analytics education is the primary focus,” said UCA College of Business Dean Michael Hargis. “Acxiom has provided more internships for MIS and other business students than any other company, more full-time positions for our MIS graduates than any other company, and has been crucial to curriculum enhancements we have made to keep our courses relevant and current.”

“Central Arkansas is home for Acxiom, and we’re delighted to continue to support our community,” said Acxiom’s Chief Customer Officer Drew May, who also serves on the UCA College of Business Advisory Board. “Investment in education and in future talent is so important, both in good and in challenging times, as it ultimately benefits everyone.”

For more information on the impact Acxiom’s gift will have on the entire UCA campus, click here.

Accounting Students Discuss Futures at Meet The Firms

Meet The Firms looked a bit different than usual this year. There were masks, social distancing and virtual meet-and-greets, but the meaningful interactions were the same.

Nearly four dozen UCA accounting students met and discussed their futures with 16 firms from across the state and region Sept. 17.

Students shared their stories, talked about what attracted them to accounting, discussed their aspirations were. Firms shared career and internship opportunities, gave insight into their company cultures and quizzed students on what areas of accounting interested them for their careers.

The event is open to all accounting majors and members of Beta Alpha Psi and the Accounting Club. It is a crucial event for students to secure internships and explore career opportunities following graduation.

Participating firms included: Hudson Cisne & Co., Landmark, ArcBest, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Inuvo, Erwin & Co., Dassault Falcon Jet, HoganTaylor, Bell & Co., Onyx Brands, Arkansas Department of Finance & Administration, Acxiom, PwC, Windstream, Frost, EGP and BKD.

Landmark Gives $50,000 to UCA College of Business Enhancement Fund

Landmark PLC, Certified Public Accountants has given $50,000 to the University of Central Arkansas College of Business Enhancement Fund.

The enhancement fund supports student programming, enhanced learning opportunities, as well as professional development opportunities for students, faculty, and staff in the College of Business.

“This gift from Landmark makes our college stronger in a number of important ways,” said Michael B. Hargis, dean of the UCA College of Business. “Our students will have greater access to learning opportunities outside the classroom as well as enhanced professional development opportunities for students. Learning inside the classroom will improve as well, as our faculty will have more funding to attend professional development opportunities and additional training to ensure our curriculum remains current and rigorous.”

Landmark is a full-service public accounting and business advisory firm with four offices throughout Arkansas in Little Rock, Rogers, Fort Smith and Russellville.

In addition to the gift to support the UCA College of Business Enhancement Fund, Landmark supports the Department of Accounting through the Blake Payne Memorial Endowed Scholarship, available to juniors and seniors majoring in accounting. The scholarship honors the memory of Payne, who was a UCA College of Business alumnus and worked at Landmark.

The UCA College of Business has more than 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students. It offers 14 baccalaureate degrees, two master’s, one graduate certificate and one technical 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.