Posts Tagged Analytical Rigor

Huntsman School to Become Home for Business Education Journal

This article was originally published in the Spring 2012 edition of the Huntsman Alumni Magazine.

A journal on innovation in business education is coming to the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business.

Vijay Kannan, professor of operations management and executive director of international programs, was selected in January as the editor of the Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education. The journal is published quarterly, and features articles on teaching innovation, and research on contemporary issues in business education with an emphasis on the decision sciences, quantitative and behavioral approaches to decision-making. The journal is sponsored by the Decision Sciences Institute (DSI), a global organization of academics and business professionals in a variety of business disciplines.

Professor Kannan said he was selected based on his prior involvement in DSI, his research record, and his experience as an associate editor for another DSI journal, Decision Sciences, and for the Institute for Supply Management’s Journal of Supply Chain Management.

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Huntsman Professor shares $600,000 grant, stresses out computer characters

This article was originally posted November 2011 by The Huntsman Post.

Three Utah State University Colleges Share $600,000 Grant

By Paul Lewis Siddoway

Dozens of computer characters are about to become very stressed out thanks to the research of a professor at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business.

The characters will be reacting to emergency situations such as explosions and fires as researchers try to find out ways to better help disabled people during emergency situations and building evacuations.

Yong Seog Kim, an associate professor in the management information systems (MIS) department at the Huntsman School, is one of four principal lead researchers from three Utah State University colleges and three university research centers which have been awarded a $600,000 grant to conduct the study.

USU’s colleges of agriculture and engineering, as well as the Center for Persons with Disabilities, Center for Self-Organizing and Intelligent Systems, and the Utah Transportation Center are also involved in the project.

Dr. Kim is developing the software used to program the agents or individuals in the computer simulations. The agents will be able to respond to emergency situations based on information gathered from real simulations and human behavior, which he said are anything but straightforward.

“It’s not just simple evacuation of people without disability,” Dr. Kim said. “We would like to see how people without disabilities would react to the people with disabilities. So we are looking at the psychological impact.”

John D. Johnson, department head of MIS at the Huntsman School, said Dr. Kim is an integral part of the simulation portion of the research.

“He develops software that can mimic human characteristics and demonstrate what people would do in a real emergency,” Dr. Johnson said. “Computer agents in a simulation can react to an emergency just as real people would, giving researchers vital information they need in order to draw informed conclusions and make valid recommendations.”

Agent-based simulation has been Dr. Kim’s research specialty since his MIS Ph.D. program at the University of Iowa in 2001, and he said one challenge is predicting human behavior when programming the agents.

Another worry is the sheer amount of experiments, Dr. Kim said, due to all the architectural and human variables.

“Since we need to have very complete data, we are looking at many different experiments,” he said. “When you look at all the different combinations, we found out we need about 100 experiments.”

Dr. Kim said he is very excited for this opportunity and ties this project into the Huntsman School’s “analytical rigor” pillar of education. Graduate students will help extract information from the raw data, analyze it, and build the models, Dr. Kim said, adding that the first phase of the project, which is primarily data collection, is planned to conclude in 2013.

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2,000+ Students Participate in Business Week

This article was originally posted October 2011 by The Huntsman Post.

Business Week Raised Money and Gets Dean in Chef’s Hat
Students Raised $16,000 for Huntsman Cancer Institute

By Paul Lewis Siddoway

As Business Council members look back at Business Week, they say they are grateful for the many student volunteers who helped make the events successful.

Participants in the Last Dash Relay head off on their run. Business Week fundraisers generated $16,000 for the Huntsman Cancer Institute. Photo by: Paul Lewis Siddoway

Business Week, held every autumn, features events and service activities for students, alumni, and friends of the school aimed at giving them the opportunity to network and participate in fundraisers for a worthy cause. The events are sponsored by the Business Council, which is made up of 20 students selected by Utah State University’s business senator, who listen to their classmates and take leadership roles as they contribute to the School’s progress.

This year the Business Council, Sigma Chi Fraternity, and the Armenian Association raised money for the Huntsman Cancer Institute and presented a giant check for $16,000 to Jon M. Huntsman at the Annual Awards Banquet. Scot Marsden, the 2011-2012 Business Senator for the student government and Business Council president, said the money came from events such as the Huntsman Alumni Charity Golf Tournament and donations from sponsors such as ICON Health & Fitness and Cache Valley Electric.

“The tournament raised a significant amount of money for us,” he said, “and we raised a record-breaking amount of money through sponsorships this year.”

Reed Page, a sophomore in economics and international studies, as well as the senior vice president of the Business Council, said all the volunteers who helped out with any one of the 20 events surprised him most from Business Week.

“I was surprised by the volunteers, who weren’t a part of the Business Council or a part of Sigma Chi,” he said. “Just regular business students who came out of the woodwork to fill some needed spots.”

Kailey Larsen, a human resources senior and the service VP on the Business Council, said she was impressed by the number of passersby who took time on their way to class to help put together kits for patients at the Huntsman Cancer Institute and their families who come from out-of-town, each of which consisted of basic home-maintenance tools, first aid supplies and essential hygiene products.

“We had to end the service project early because there were so many people lined up to help, we ran out of things for them to do,” she said. “We had tons of students who wanted to help.”

Mr. Marsden said nearly 2,100 students planned, volunteered at or took part in the activities in Business Week 2011.

Dean Douglas Dean Anderson and Associate Dean Jeffrey Doyle serve hot dogs to Liz Arellano (left) and Sloan Bailey. Photo by: Steve Eaton

Along with the help provided by students, Mr. Reed said he was also pleasantly surprised by some of the events themselves, which he hopes will continue as Huntsman School and Business Week traditions. One such event was “Dog’s with the Deans.” Executive Dean Ken Snyder said the event, held for the first time this year, gave the deans an opportunity to interact with the students in a unique way.

“We always talk about our desire to serve our students,” he said, “but rarely do we get to do so in such a tangible way. We had great fun interacting as we cooked hot dogs and handed them out to hungry students.”

Mr. Reed said he was glad they hosted on-campus fundraising activities that got students and the community to participate, like the Last Dash Relay. Mr. Marsden said he hopes activities like the race and the golf tournament continue as a school tradition, with each year garnering more support from students, alumni, and friends of the Huntsman School.

The Business Council also invited all the Aggies who did not trek to Provo for the BYU game to gather at the Nelson Fieldhouse where they watched the contest on a big screen. Mr. Reed said he would like it to become a tradition which would bring students together for all away games.

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Professor Wins Fulbright Scholar Grant

This article was originally posted October 2011 by The Huntsman Post.

Fulbright Scholarship Funds Hungary Academic Experience

By Paul Lewis Siddoway

An associate professor in the management information systems department of the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to teach in Budapest.

Zsolt Ugray is one of only 1,100 faculty and professionals in government, science, the arts, business, philanthropy, education, and athletics from the United States who is traveling abroad through the Fulbright Program this school year. He is teaching classes in Corvinus University’s MIS program and is continuing his international research on the use and development of information systems and business intelligence tools while in his native Hungary.

Dr. Ugray received his doctorate from the University of Texas in 2011. He was selected based on academic and professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership, according to the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

The Fulbright Program is an international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government, operating in more than 155 countries around the world, designed to increase international understanding by studying, teaching, conducting research, exchanging ideas, and contributing to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

Corvinus University reported 17,879 students enrolled last school year, compared to Utah State’s 25,767. Dr. Ugray said the university, which is noted for its programs in economics and business management, was looking for a scholar with teaching and research experience in MIS in a global context, which goes hand in hand with his interests and the Huntsman School’s vision.

“This kind of program is in strong alignment with the Huntsman School’s efforts into global academic endeavors,” he said. “It complements the School’s existing efforts and supplements it with a focus on faculty’s research into international issues related to their field and gives more opportunities to develop relationships, contacts, future visiting possibilities for students and academics both to and from Hungary.”

Corvinus University is interested in building cooperative research projects in the MIS area, Dr. Ugray said, and specifically in his ability to teach several courses in their English language undergraduate and graduate MIS programs. He said the application process was not easy and took more than a year of planning.

“I started the process in the summer of 2010,” he said. “I wrote a research plan and described the types of courses I can offer to teach. I secured three endorsements, one from my department head, and two more that related to my scholarly and academic skills and achievements.”

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Online books spark millions of hits

This article was originally posted September 2011 by The Huntsman Post.

Huntsman professors post their free books online, generate millions of hits

By Paul Lewis Siddoway

Two professors at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business are providing students around the world with free books for their accounting classes.

Larry Walther

Larry Walther, a professor and head of the School of Accountancy, published Principles of Accounting online and offered it to the world for free in 1998, saying that it seemed like “the obvious thing to do at the time.” The book now receives 10 million hits a month from more than 100 universities and colleges.

Dr. Walther’s Principles of Accounting and seven other free volumes he co-authored with Chris Skousen, an associate professor of accounting at the Huntsman School of Business, provide access to the lesson text, workbook problems, and video supplements for lower division accounting principles classes.

Dr. Skousen said since he began using e-books in 2009, they have had a global reach. Instructors from institutions all over the world have started using the Huntsman professors’ e-book materials, including Jared Burgess, who received his MBA from the Huntsman School in 2010 and is now teaching in Korea.

Chris Skousen

The books are also examples of other pillars of the Huntsman School.

“Innovation, entrepreneurship, and leadership are all part of the Huntsman School’s mission,” Dr. Skousen said. “That’s what we’re doing here; we’re at the front of the new thing. The way things are going, you’re going to see a lot more e-books.”

Dr. Walther said that part of his reasoning for offering his books for free was that he hoped to help students. He also said he wanted to keep the information and examples current, without having to reprint the whole work. Dr. Skousen added that the format seems to be the preferred method of students.

“In one class, only one of forty-six students said they preferred to have a real textbook,” Dr. Skousen said. “So now we made it possible to print the whole book, not just each PDF file.”

In July, a national survey by Kelton Research reported that 62 percent of students surveyed would study more often if they could access their textbooks digitally, and 54 percent would study more efficiently.

The books that Dr. Walther and Dr. Skousen have written are available at www.bookboon.com, a website that offers downloads of textbooks, business books, and travel guides for free. Dr. Walther’s work is available at www.principlesofaccounting.com.

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Huntsman student featured on the cover of a national research journal

This article was originally a Huntsman Brief sent out Sept. 1, 2011.

A student from the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business appeared on the cover of the fall issue of the Council on Undergraduate Research Quarterly, a periodical devoted to undergraduate research.

Lindsey McBride, a junior studying business and English, is working as an undergraduate research fellow on a project about the literature of Irish Jews.

Ms. McBride’s role focuses on the historical background, using microfilm to access primary sources that discuss Irish politics, the IRA, and Irish government activities during the 1930s and 1940s. She says plans
on continuing on to law school.

Ms. McBride is doing the research with Christie Fox, the director of the Honors Program at Utah State University. Dr. Fox, the research mentor for Ms. McBride, said she is delighted to have the opportunity to work with undergraduates, and said Ms. McBride’s contributions to the research have been invaluable.

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Students free volunteers to serve the hungry

This article was originally posted August 2011 by The Huntsman Post.

Huntsman students free volunteers to spend more time serving the hungry

By Paul Lewis Siddoway

Volunteers will have more time to serve the hungry in Tooele thanks to efforts of some Huntsman students who helped a food bank develop a data base to better track its donations.

Kathy Chudoba teaches an undergraduate capstone class in the Management Information Systems Department where teams of students were tasked with developing “soup to nuts” applications for businesses and organizations in the community. After working with their clients to identify their problems, the students designed, programmed, tested and implemented a new database system for each organization, she said.

Three years ago a food bank in Tooele, which had been funded by the Salt Lake Community Action Program, was integrated into the Tooele County system. Tooele County had not yet developed its own database, according to the food bank’s director Lori Sandoval.

“Since then, the volunteers have had to record who has been using the bank, how many pounds of food is being donated, how much money is coming in through donations and how that money was spent,” Ms. Sandoval said. “And they’ve been doing it all by hand.”

The food bank receives much of its financial aid through United Way and state, federal and private grants, she said. Filing a different report for each of those entities has proven time-consuming.

Ms. Sandoval said that volunteers, who could be helping people who come to the food bank, end up instead spending hours doing administrative work as they add up numbers on a calculator and fill out forms.

A team of students, including Cindy Gleed, who graduated in the spring of 2011, came together to create a system to help track those who use the food pantry, as well as the money and supplies that are donated.

“When you really get into the processes and defining exactly what it is you need to track and exactly how all the pieces need to go together, it becomes a whole lot bigger than what you really think it’s going to be,” Ms. Gleed said.

There were challenges as the students searched to find a server to host the new system, Ms. Gleed said, and the students had to focus on keeping sensitive information secure.

Facing increasing numbers of people who need help from the food pantry, Ms. Sandoval and her volunteers said they were grateful for the help the Huntsman students offered.

“With this new program, it’ll do all the calculations; we just have to enter them as the people come in,” Ms. Sandoval said. “It’s going to make life so much easier.”

Another program the students assisted was the America Reads initiative, which is aimed at helping school children read at their grade level. The program started in 1999 with five tutors at one school and has since grown to more than 100 tutors at 21 schools. Todd Milovich, the creator of America Reads and the program coordinator for Educational Outreach at Utah State University, said that as the program expanded, so did his database.

“It just kind of grew from easy to manage to really difficult to manage,” he said.

Zac Coleman, who graduated from the MIS Department in the spring of 2011, had been a tutor for the America Reads program and had come to work closely with Mr. Milovich. Even before Mr. Coleman began to work on the project in Dr. Chudoba’s class, he was uniquely prepared to understand the need the America Reads program had and how to resolve it.

“It turned into a bigger project than I think anybody thought it would,” Mr. Milovich said.

“The America Reads project was probably the most technically challenging out of all the projects,” Dr. Chudoba said, “but the students created a huge website for them.”

The America Reads program now has a database for the tutors to track their hours and pay history, and Mr. Milovich can send reports to the school districts, as well as individual schools.

“Depending on what they needed, it could have taken hours, and now it should just take seconds,” he said.

The America Reads program also has the ability to track individual people, Mr. Milovich said, so students do not get lost if their families move or the teachers or tutors change.

“We’ve always wanted to be able to pick out the talented students while they are young so we can keep them in the pipeline headed toward getting a higher education,” he said.

The MIS students also helped the Multicultural Center of Cache Valley at the Whittier Center in Logan by creating an application to collect and track information about those who use the services of the center.

“That application is up and running now, and they’re already using it,” Dr. Chudoba said.

But making reporting numbers easier and saving time was not all the Huntsman students were able to accomplish. The Huntsman students, working with America Reads, researched how and where they could house the server for the program they built, Mr. Milovich said.

“They not only built the database, but they handled the negotiations with the IT department and followed it through,” he said. “They went above and beyond, really. It wasn’t just the class project; they continued to help after the semester ended. They stuck with it until I had a product I can use.”

Ms. Gleed said that all the students were dedicated to the programs they were helping.

“It was an amazing experience; it was painful, but you can not duplicate the learning that came out of that whole project,” she said. “We were really focused on, and invested in, the food bank and what we could give them. In the end, it’s to benefit the client, and I hope we accomplished what we set out to do.”

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