OGDEN, Utah – As Jeff Steagall marks his first anniversary as dean of the John B. Goddard School of Business & Economics at Weber State University, the school now has a strategic plan to build five programs capable of attracting national attention.
To identify these programs, Steagall turned to Goddard School faculty and asked them where they thought the Goddard School had a competitive advantage, and where they wanted to focus to better prepare students for careers in business. Faculty identified five areas or programs of emphasis: supply chain management, entrepreneurism, the Master of Taxation, international business and sustainability.
The goal of the Goddard School’s strategic plan is to garner national attention within the next five years.
Supply Chain Management
First established in the early 1970s, WSU’s supply chain management degree is the second oldest in the nation.
“Eighty-five percent of our faculty felt our supply chain management program was noteworthy, and after meeting our students and seeing our graduates in action, I had to agree,” Steagall said.
Graduates from the supply chain management program have gone on to work for Harris Corporation in Florida, Hill Air Force Base and Northrop Grumman.
“We have approximately two-and-a-half job offers for each of our graduates,” Steagall said. “We owe it to our students to grow this program so that they are career-ready the minute they receive their diploma.”
The Goddard School is working with serial entrepreneur Alex Lawrence to establish a new entrepreneurship program. Steagall thinks the entrepreneurial program will prove quite popular, given the large number of entrepreneurs in Utah.
“This area of emphasis will appeal to both business majors and non-majors alike,” said Steagall, who estimates 400-500 students across campus will be interested in the program. “Many of our students in English, science or the arts will choose to go into business for themselves. Physical therapists are probably going to think about starting their own clinic at some point in time. This program will give them the tools to succeed.”
Ultimately the Goddard School hopes the program will develop 75 or more start-ups each year by 2015.
Master of Taxation
The Master of Taxation degree, offered through the School of Accountancy, is a direct result of the large IRS base in Ogden and the increasing complexity of the US tax code for companies. The degree is the only one of its kind in the state of Utah, and one of only a handful in the Intermountain West. Since it was first offered in 2010, the program has attracted 84 students. 58 students have graduated.
Having an extensive background in international business, Steagall is excited to see the Goddard School looking to expand its connections overseas. The school has attracted a large cohort of Chinese and Korean students in international economics. WSU faculty also teach regularly at Shanghai Normal University in China. Students enrolled in the program can earn two degrees in International Economics. One degree comes from Shanghai Normal University, and the second comes from WSU. Students who receive these diplomas are uniquely prepared for today’s global economy.
“We live in an increasingly interconnected global economy and it is essential that our students become familiar with business practices of companies from around the world,” Steagall said. “China is one of the fastest growing markets. Goddard students can benefit greatly from learning about international business practices while they are at Weber State.”
Finally, the sustainability emphasis responds to a growing trend in industry. “Businesses used to view going green solely from a public relations and marketing perspective,” Steagall said. “Today they understand there are some serious savings they could realize if they go green.”
Four faculty members within the Goddard School have been recognized for their work on sustainable approaches in business. Steagall thinks the new emphasis aligns well with faculty scholarship and research.
“We believe these five areas provide a vision and strategic direction for the Goddard School. At the same time, these are programs that will prepare our students for careers in the 21st Century,” Steagall said. “We have a long history of meeting the needs of business and industry, and I believe these initiatives will help the Goddard School continue to help employers find a qualified workforce.”