2020-21 Management Information Systems Newsletter

In This Issue

New Things Going on in the Major 

Kathleen Noce

An MIS Welcome! The fall semester was busy and exciting. The Management Information Systems major and minor continue to grow. There are some new courses available that will make all majors more marketable. 

  • MIS 250 Introduction to Problem Solving with Spreadsheet Analysis and Information Systems Management introduces students to the use of information technologies for business problem solving and decision-making. This course explores the application of spreadsheet engineering concepts and principles of data management, business modeling, and reporting to business problems. It is offered this spring and will be taught by Dr. Ash Deshmukh.
  • MIS 433 Rapid Application Development provides students with a real-world, hands-on introduction to the current industry of Rapid Application Development (RAD) tools and techniques. RAD includes prototyping and end-user development in order to quickly create information system applications. This technique is used by employees within all functional areas of the corporation to provide a quick response to industry changes. 
  • There are proposals under review for an intermediate Python course and Introduction to Cybersecurity. In addition, a course called Healthcare Information Management Systems is under development and will be offered next year while the course proposal is under consideration.
  • The MIS Executive in Residence program partnering with U. S. Steel (USS) is continuing this year and has provided valuable opportunities for our students to interact with executives in the corporate environment. There are ongoing programs and the chance for students to be mentored by MIS alumnus Steve Bugajski '94, CIO of USS, and others within the corporation. Students have had numerous internship prospects as a result as well.
  • There are many interesting Innovation through Collaboration (ITC) projects available to our students who have the occasion to apply their skill set. Teams are working with companies to solve many different and exciting problems for companies providing real-world experiences. So many exciting opportunities! If you are interested in participating in an upcoming project, please complete the ITC interest form. ITC projects are ongoing each semester and may be used toward internship opportunities.

Hope you are well!

Dr. Kathleen Noce, Disciplinary Lead for MIS, and Dr. Ash Deshmukh, Program Chair for Accounting and MIS

Faculty Spotlight

Scott McAuley, Lecturer in MIS

Scott McAuley

Scott McAuley has been working/teaching in MIS since 1981. His career started as an accounts receivable manager using generated reports from a minicomputer. He has witnessed the evolution of MIS from paper records to highly advanced ERP systems.

Why does teaching appeal to you?

I enjoy learning (there are always new things in MIS) and sharing with students. I like helping students build a successful future.

In your opinion, what makes Behrend unique?

Behrend has great resources, faculty, and an up-to-date curriculum that leads to employment.

What is your research focus?

I am currently working on two new courses, including an intermediate programming course using Python for data analysis and a course on Healthcare Information Management Systems.

Alumni Spotlight

Dave Clutter ’00

Dave Clutter

Dave Clutter works as an IT director at Reed Manufacturing in Erie. Along with a great team, Dave implements and maintains diverse systems and infrastructure to aid and improve operations and management. He also works with senior management to plan the company’s technology strategy.

What steps did you take while at Behrend to help you prepare for your current job?

I selected a blend of technical and business elective courses. The balance of business fundamentals and technical skills allowed me to apply what I had learned and make a positive impact quickly.

What do you like best about your job or your employer?

I’ve enjoyed the relaxed, friendly environment. I also enjoy the variety that my role affords. Between collecting, cleansing, and analyzing data to help in decision making or troubleshooting complex systems or working with other departments to improve processes, the work doesn't become routine or stale.

What advice do you have for current students planning to graduate soon?

Hone your soft skills. Specific technologies become obsolete and business needs evolve. However, communication, time management, and collaboration skills are always valuable and excellence in these areas will distinguish you from your peers.

Student Spotlight

Grace Blackford ’21

Grace Blackford

Grace Blackford will be graduating in May 2021 with degrees in Project and Supply Chain Management and MIS. Grace is involved in numerous on-campus clubs and organizations. This past summer Grace interned at Erie Insurance as a business analyst, where she worked on a team that transferred data from a legacy system to a new system.

Why did you choose the MIS Major?

I started as a PSCM major, but by taking introductory courses in other business disciplines, I realized I enjoyed MIS as well. Taking other MIS classes with Scott McAuley, lecturer in MIS, piqued my interest and I took the dive to add MIS as a second major. By adding the MIS major, I now have such a variety of knowledge, which is especially critical as the world becomes more digital and technically based.

How did your classroom experience help you in your job?

By taking introductory courses in all the business fields, I feel like I had a better overall understanding of my work. MIS classes, especially MIS 430 Systems Analysis, were critical to my success at my internship. I have a breadth and depth of knowledge that gave me a head start on many other interns and I was able to apply what I had learned in the past to my work as a business analyst. There were definitely things I did not know but I was able to figure out using the information I had learned in my MIS and other business courses. Lessons in the classroom are a great foundation for success but it is important you continue to build on that foundation as you learn from your work environment as well.

What advice would you give to students just entering college?

Get involved and be proactive! Being involved in different clubs on campus has been one of the highlights of college for me. It gives me the opportunity to meet new people, improve the campus, practice things I have learned, and have fun. I also would recommend being proactive: Get involved early, volunteer for extra responsibility or projects, start your schoolwork early, seek help early, and take every opportunity you can. You only have a limited time in college—why not make the most of it?

Club Updates and More

The MIS Club spent the beginning of the fall semester recalibrating after the events of last semester momentarily disrupted operations. New club officers were elected, including a new position called Events/Outreach Chair. Because club events are limited to virtual activities, the club has determined additional initiatives to expand our digital presence. These include the creation of GroupMe and Instagram accounts for more effective communication to current members. We also plan to leverage these accounts to scale up recruitment efforts.

The MIS Club Speaker Series resumed virtually this semester with a focus on Career Exploration. We have hosted members of Erie Insurance’s Digital Experience team as well as its IT Internal Audit department. Future sessions are being planned, including an in-depth look at the value of rotational internship and apprenticeship programs. The primary goal of this series is to help students better understand the versatility of—and demand for—an MIS degree.

Club members also are aiding in the planning and execution of the inaugural MIS Day Event, set to take place in spring 2021. The event will incorporate industry professionals and recent alumni into discussion panels intended to provide students with a roadmap for pursuing MIS-related careers. Students will hear about various opportunities available in the Business Analysis and Data Analysis career tracks, as well as interviewing and résumé pointers, and tips for getting started in their new job once they do land their career opener. There also will be a networking opportunity to encourage students to start building connections, the importance of which will be emphasized throughout the day. For more information about the MIS Club, contact Kyle Chalupczynski at [email protected].