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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.

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.”

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.

UCA College of Business Hires 2 Accounting Faculty

The University of Central Arkansas College of Business has hired two faculty members in its Department of Accounting.

Mengyu Ma, Ph.D., and Qifeng Wu, Ph.D., were both hired as assistant professors of accounting.

Ma was an instructor of accounting at Florida International University. Her research interests include financial reporting quality, information environment, equity markets, debt contracting and financial analysts. She earned a bachelor’s and master’s in accounting from the Max M. Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University and a doctorate in business administration from Florida International University.

Wu was previously an assistant instructor at the University of Texas at El Paso. He conducts research on financial reporting quality, corporate governance and auditing. He earned a bachelor’s in computer information systems from Idaho State University, his master’s in accounting from the University of Idaho and a doctorate in accounting from the University of Texas at El Paso.

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.

Mark McMurtrey Wins SWDSI Outstanding Educator Award

MBA Director Mark McMurtrey, Ph.D.

Mark McMurtrey, Ph.D., professor of management information systems and Master of Business Administration program director, has been awarded the Southwest Decision Sciences Institute Outstanding Educator Award.

The SWDSI is a division of the Decision Sciences Institute, a professional organization made up of those interested in sharing research on the study of decision processes and the application of quantitative and behavioral methods to the problems of society. The Outstanding Educator Award is one of the most prestigious honors presented by the Federation of Business Disciplines and SWDSI.

“Knowing that my name will be forever linked with these other winners is absolutely humbling and quite an honor. I know my family is proud of me, and my late parents as well,” McMurtrey said.

McMurtrey has served as program chair for the SWDSI’s 2017 conference and served as the organization’s president from 2019-20. He is in his 19th year as professor at UCA and fifth year as MBA director.

Read more here.

Putting the GDP Numbers in Context: What You Need to Know

By Jeremy Horpedahl, Ph.D.

Jeremy Horpedahl, Ph.D.

We all know that we are going through one of the worst economic downturns in US history. But how bad exactly is the downturn? The recently released Gross Domestic Product data for the second quarter of 2020 paint a very grim picture, with the headline number suggesting that the economy contracted by -32.9%.

GDP is a measure of all economic activity that takes place in a quarter or a year. Was there really one-third less activity in the second quarter compared with the first quarter? No there was not. The actual number is about a 7% decline. I’ll explain more how I came up with that number, but let me stress this is still a very bad number. It’s the worst we have on record, possibly the worst in US history, probably even worse than any one quarter of the Great Depression (if we had directly comparable data). Still, a number like -32.9% is not a very helpful number in the current context.

Interpreting economic data is challenging during the current economic crisis. My intent is not to downplay the harm, but to give it proper context. For example, I have previously written that the unemployment rate understates how much pain there is in the labor market right now. In contrast, the recently released GDP data overstate the economic pain.

Read more at Texas CEO Magazine.

Horpedahl also recently appeared on The Cato Institute’s Daily Podcast to give a quick rundown of the numbers. Listen here or anywhere you get podcasts.

E-Payment Use and Perceptions in Japan

Japan is one of the world’s most advanced and largest economies, yet lags behind in its use of e-payment and e-commerce.

In 2018, the Bank of Japan found only 18% of its citizens used e-payment systems. A recent study by three UCA College of Business professors and two students found that age and gender play a significant role in e-payment usage in Japan. The results, recently published in the Global Journal of Business Disciplines, showed males were more likely to use e-payment systems, as well as older residents.

Previous research has found several factors played a role in Japan’s slow adoption of e-payment, including the fact many local retailers and stores do not use or accept e-payment systems. Only 17% of Japan retail sales are made up by e-payment systems, compared to 85% in South Korea, 56% in Singapore and 35% in India.

The postponed 2020 Olympic Games, to be held in Tokyo, provide a new incentive for a faster adoption as millions will visit the country next summer and expect to be able to use e-payments to purchase goods and services. In 2017, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government estimated the games would create nearly $284 billion in economic benefits.

Three UCA College of Business professors — Alex Chen, Ph.D., professor of management; Steve Zeltmann, Ph.D., professor of management information systems; and Ken Griffin, Ph.D., former associate dean of the College of Business — and two students — Moe Ota and Risa Ozeki — examined perceptions of benefits, trust, security, ease of use, quality and competency and how they impact the use of e-payment systems in Japan.

When asked how frequently they use e-payment, 21.6% of respondents said they did not. Less than 15% used it more than 3 times a week and the average weekly use was 1.5. Incentives were shown to be most closely associated with increased e-payment use.

“One of our major findings is the relationship between gender and e-payment behavior,” Chen said. “Men were more likely to use e-payment systems than women in Japan.”

The study found older people were more likely to use e-payment than younger people.

“It is reasonable to assume older people in this group are more likely to have a full-time job and, perhaps, a higher income,” Chen said. “Since they probably spend more money and have more money to manage, e-payment is a good platform for them to use.”

Chen said the upcoming Olympics would serve as the most important marketing tool and expects to see Japanese consumers will use e-payment systems more often in its aftermath.

“People from all over the world are expected in Japan and those people will expect the availability of e-payment,” he said. “The Japanese government and banking system understand this, and e-payment systems will be promoted as necessary to attract this business to Japanese vendors.”