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Dr. Yao Featured in WalletHub “Ask the Expert” Series

Dr. Yao

Dr. Haibo (Stephen) Yao

Dr. Haibo (Stephen) Yao was recently featured as an expert contributor in articles by WalletHub. While the articles are geared toward college students, these are questions many people may have.

In his first article about the best credit cards for college students, he addresses what college students should look for when choosing a credit card, the biggest mistakes college students can make with credit cards, and best practices for students who use credit cards.

In this second article, he answers questions about zero percent (0%) credit cards, including why and how they are used.

Dr. Yao is an Assistant Professor of Insurance & Risk Management in the Department of Economics, Finance, Insurance & Risk Management for the UCA College of Business.

How Can You Stay Safe From a Ransomware Attack?

Ransomware has dominated the news recently. Headline after headline reads:

Many of us may scroll past these news stories because we think ransomware attacks only affect large corporations, but cyber-attackers count on catching you unprepared.

According to the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), “ransomware is an ever-evolving form of malware designed to encrypt files on a device, rendering any files and the systems that rely on them unusable. Malicious actors then demand ransom in exchange for decryption.” 1

CISA continues to say that anyone with a computer or device connected to the internet or anyone with data stored on their computer, device, or network – including individuals, small businesses, large businesses, government agencies, and healthcare systems – all of these people or groups are at risk from a ransomware attack. 1

Since essentially everyone is at risk and very few of us have millions (or even hundreds) of dollars to pay to get ransomed information released, what can we do?

Dr. Geoffrey Hill, Department Chair of Computer Information Systems and Analytics in the UCA College of Business, has some simple advice: back up your data.

“There are many file synchronization services that are easily available to individuals or small businesses,” said Hill. The automatic synching feature makes it easy to use and guarantees that recent changes are automatically synched to the service’s cloud-based storage.” 2

Hill recognized that the synched files could include the ransomware’s encrypted files but also says that major services, such as Google Drive, Dropbox, or Microsoft OneDrive, provide file recovery and roll-back features that help you to restore individual files or even your entire file library when necessary. He cautions users to be careful when choosing a service because some of them are free while others are only available through tiered levels of paid protection plans. 2

If you don’t have one of these services, make yourself a note to try one, and if you are ever a victim of a ransomware attack, U.S. CISA recommends, “victims of ransomware should report it immediately to CISA at www.us-cert.gov/report, a local FBI Field Office, or Secret Service Field Office.” 1

If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a cybersecurity professional, check out UCA’s Bachelor of Science degree in Cybersecurity Management. With headlines like these, demand for individuals educated and trained in Computer Information Systems and Analytics will likely only increase.


Sources:

1 Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency. (2021, July 7). Ransomware Guidance and Resources. Retrieved from www.cisa.gov/ransomware.

2 Hill, G. (2021, July 6). University of Central Arkansas College of Business. [Personal Interview].

COB Advisory Board Member Featured in AY Magazine, Gives Advice to Women in Business

Donna Townsell, award-winning businesswoman and member of the College of Business Advisory Board, was recently featured in AY Magazine. In the interview Townsell gave advice that no aspiring woman in business should miss.

“Sometimes I’m the only female in the room. My approach has always been to listen and learn as much as possible. When the time is right, speak with confidence and add your voice to the conversation,” said Townsell.

After 28 years in business, Townsell has used this philosophy to attain senior leadership positions and gain many accolades, including the Women in Business Diamond Achievement Award.

Read more of Townsell’s “Woman Wednesday” feature in AY Magazine.

UCA College of Business Names 2020-2021 Outstanding Students

On April 8, 2021, the UCA College of Business held its annual Student Honors Banquet to celebrate the academic achievements of the College’s students and recognize the outstanding students for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Outstanding students are those who take advantage of educational opportunities and show exemplary academic performance through internships, professional development and experiential education, volunteerism, and participation in clubs and activities.

The following students were awarded an outstanding status, chosen from over 1600 undergraduate and graduate students: [Read more…]

UCA MBA Program Named to Princeton Review’s Best Business Schools List

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

The list recognized the top 244 on-campus MBA programs around the country and was based on survey data from more than 17,800 students and school administrators.

“What makes our Best Business Schools list unique is that we factor in data from our surveys of students attending the schools about their campus and classroom experiences,” said Rob Franek, editor-in-chief of ­The Princeton Review.

Student respondents identified cost, diversity, high academic standards, job prospects upon graduation and accessible, knowledgeable faculty as attributes that separated the UCA MBA program from others.

“It has been our goal over the last few years to grow our program and provide a high-quality, affordable and flexible graduate program that our students could use to advance their careers,” said Mark McMurtrey, Ph.D., director of the UCA MBA program. “Our continued inclusion in this ranking of top MBA programs in the country shows our students find value in our program and the concentrations we now offer.”

The UCA MBA program has more than 150 students — up from 89 in 2016 — and offers concentrations in finance, health care administration and information management, as well as an option to embed a graduate certificate in data analytics. It is accredited through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

How to Engage College Students in Online Learning

The switch to online learning has left professors at universities and colleges across the country scrambling for ways to effectively bring traditional, classroom teaching models to students who now attend classes from their homes, apartments and dorms by way of a computer screen.

Anthony McMullen, J.D., assistant professor of business law

Anthony McMullen, J.D., associate professor of business law in the UCA College of Business, was part of a team of seven professors at the Academy of Legal Studies in Business to create a summary of effective strategies for professors to use for online learning in higher education.

The researchers found the best way to have success teaching college courses online was to quickly orient students, humanize the online environment and maintain engaging course material.

“Many professors need guidance on this, so our purpose was to compile these tips in hopes those who are new to online teaching could gain ideas and have time to carefully plan and prepare for their courses,” McMullen said.

Welcome Module

The first step identified was having a welcome module with a host of content that introduces students to the instructor and the course. The goal is to give students “low-stakes opportunities” to get engaged and learn how to find course material and complete assignments throughout the semester.

This can include a welcome email or video, an instructor bio, student introductions, the course syllabus, a how-to video on navigating course content and assignments and introductory assignments such as a syllabus quiz.

“This helps support and guide students through the online environment, especially if they are new to online courses,” the report states.

Humanizing the Course

Professors must also have a strong emphasis on the connection between faculty and students, as well as between students, the researchers found.

“You have to find a way to humanize the course and content,” the report states. “Professors need to facilitate multiple interactions with students without creating a barrier between technology and student engagement with the material. Previous research has found students from at-risk demographic groups had lower performance in online courses.”

One important factor to this is the use of online discussion boards.

“These can help instructors bridge the pedagogical gap between face-to-face and online learning by encouraging active student engagement,” the report said.

While discussion boards are often used, getting students to participate can be challenging, so it is important for professors to layout instructions and expectations from the beginning.

“This will encourage participation and create an environment of accountability and mutual respect,” the researchers said. “One tip is to have students not only post their own threads, but be required to comment on other student posts as well.”

Presenting On-Screen

Professors should use both synchronous and asynchronous material that effectively present the content of the course, complement one another and improve student motivation.

Synchronous instruction can include video conferencing to provide feedback on assignments, techniques and exam review.

“One recent technique that has found student satisfaction is presenting the professor’s screen,” the report states. “This allows professors to show PowerPoint slides normally shown during class. Professors can write and draw on the whiteboard and students can see that happening, just like a normal class.”

Voice-over PowerPoint presentations is an effective way to implement asynchronous learning, as well as assigning students to view short videos — preferably 6 minutes or less — on single topics discussed in the material.

“These ideas and others discussed in our article will be effective for teaching online, even when students return to physical classrooms,” the report said. “These strategies will help instructors reach and educate students wherever they may be.”

UCA Information Management MBA Ranked Among Top Programs

The Information Management MBA at UCA was ranked among the top programs in the country by Best Value Schools.

The program was ranked No. 8 among MBA programs in information technology, management and systems.

“The program is designed to help students prepare for upper management positions in the corporate world,” said Best Value Schools of the UCA program. “It focuses on project-based instruction, case studies, computer technology, research, problem solving, communications and teamwork.”

The Information Management MBA is one of four concentrations offered at UCA, in addition to a general MBA program. The Information Management MBA includes 21 hours of core courses and 9 hours of electives that include courses in quantitative analytical methods, project management, principles of information security and business intelligence.

Learn more about the Information Management MBA here.

In October, Best Value Schools named the UCA MBA program among the most affordable online programs in the country. It was the highest-rated Arkansas school and second-highest Southland Conference school named to the list.

Doug Voss Named to American Transportation Research Institute’s Research Advisory Committee

Doug Voss, Ph.D., professor of logistics and supply chain management

Doug Voss, Ph.D., professor of logistics and supply chain management, has been appointed to the American Transportation Research Institute’s Research Advisory Committee.

As part of the committee, Voss will help the institute identify top research priorities for the trucking industry. The appointment runs through 2022.

“Our members serve a critical role in identifying and prioritizing the trucking industry’s top research needs,” said Rebecca Brewster, president and COO of the American Transportation Research Institute. “We congratulate all those appointed by the ATRI Board to serve in this important role and look forward to working with them.”

The American Transportation Research Institute, founded in 1954, conducts transportation research that focuses on the industry’s role in a safe, efficient and viable transportation system. In the past, this has included research on congestion, economic analysis, safety, security, technology, environment and infrastructure.

Its research committee is composed of professionals from across the trucking industry, including sectors like motor carriers, industry suppliers, drivers, shippers, academia and government.

Voss is the director of the UCA College of Business’ Center for Logistics Education, Advancement and Research, and was named the Scott E. Bennett Arkansas Highway Commission Endowed Chair of Motor Carrier Management in 2015. He has been at UCA since 2007.

Voss is the first person from UCA to serve on the American Transportation Research Institute’s Research Advisory Committee.

“Dr. Voss has been vital to the growth of our logistics program since its inception in 2017,” said Michael Hargis, dean of the College of Business. “This latest recognition shows our program continues to gain respect among industry professionals across the region and nation, thanks to Dr. Voss’ efforts.”

Voss also serves on the Arkansas Trucking Association Board of Directors and has since 2015. He was a member of the inaugural class of the Arkansas Trucking Association’s 40 Under 40 Council in 2010 and served on the council through 2016.

He earned his bachelor’s and master’s in transportation and logistics at the University of Arkansas. He earned his doctorate in logistics at Michigan State University.

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.