UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING COLLEGE OF BUSINESS FALL/WINTER 2019
MAKING AN IMPACT NEW DEAN DAVID SPROTT’S VISION AIMS TO ENSURE THAT STUDENTS SUCCEED IN SCHOOL AND IN LIFE • P.18
PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS? UW economist finds mixed values of ‘thoughts and prayers’ • P.26
THE CHALLENGE OF LEARNING GOALS How savvy goal-setting boosts performance, reduces unethical behavior • P.14
THE INTEREST RATE EFFECT How change in information presentation could reduce student debt • P.30
UW COLLEGE OF BUSINESS
STRATEGIC PLAN (2019-2022)
To be the business college of choice for people who value enriching experiences and the integrity of the handshake.
M ISSIO N
VALU E S
We commit to the success of our students, the impact of our scholarship, and the economic vitality of Wyoming and beyond.
Character of the Individual. We embrace the spirit of hard work, respect and diversity of ideas and all people, ethical behavior, and an entrepreneurial mindset. Service to Our Communities. We commit to serving the educational, scholarly, and industry partners who support us. Stewardship of Resources. We hold ourselves accountable for the human, fiscal, and environmental resources entrusted to us.
In This Issue
Features 14 | THE CHALLENGE OF LEARNING GOALS How savvy goal-setting boosts performance, reduces unethical behavior 18 | MAKING AN IMPACT New vision aims to ensure that students succeed in school and in life
26 | PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS? UW economist finds mixed values of ‘thoughts and prayers’ 30 | THE INTEREST RATE EFFECT How change in information presentation could reduce student debt
Departments 02 | MESSAGE FROM THE DEAN 03 | STUDENT SNAPSHOTS Get to know four current international College of Business students
08 | EXECUTIVE Q&A 10 | ALUMNI VOICES 25 | INSIGHTS The top five business challenges for accounting and financial services firms 29 | NEWS BITES 34 | DONOR SPOTLIGHT Longtime UW supporters help establish the Peter M. and Paula Green Johnson Student Success Center
UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING COLLEGE OF BUSINESS FALL/WINTER 2019
MAKING AN IMPACT NEW DEAN DAVID SPROTT’S VISION AIMS TO ENSURE THAT STUDENTS SUCCEED IN SCHOOL AND IN LIFE • P.18
PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS? UW economist finds mixed values of ‘thoughts and prayers’ • P.26
THE CHALLENGE OF LEARNING GOALS How savvy goal-setting boosts performance, reduces unethical behavior • P.14
THE INTEREST RATE EFFECT How change in information presentation could reduce student debt • P.30
On the Cover Initial design concept envisions the new UW College of Business Peter M. & Paula Green Johnson Student Success Center.
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1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071 (307) 766-4194 | firstname.lastname@example.org Dean David Sprott Associate Dean Chuck Mason Assistant Deans Steve Farkas and Steve Russell Departments: Accounting & Finance Dept. Chair – Nicole Choi (307) 766-3136 | email@example.com Economics Dept. Chair – David Aadland (307) 766-2175 | firstname.lastname@example.org Management & Marketing Interim Dept. Chair – Andrew Arnette (307) 766-3124 | email@example.com MBA Program Director – Benjamin Cook (307) 766-2449 | firstname.lastname@example.org Peter M. & Paula Green Johnson Student Success Center Director – Steve Russell (307) 766-8249 | email@example.com Editor Caitlyn Spradley and Chad Baldwin Graphic Design Michelle Eberle, Emily Edgar and Brittny Wroblewski Photography All photos by Ted Brummond and Kyle Spradley unless otherwise noted FOCUS is published once a year as a collaboration between the College of Business and UW Institutional Marketing. For additional copies, contact us at 307-766-2301. © University of Wyoming College of Business The University is committed to equal opportunity for all persons in all facets of the University’s operations. All qualified applicants for employment and educational programs, benefits, and services will be considered without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability or protected veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law and University policy.
Message From the Dean Welcome to the newly redesigned College of Business FOCUS Magazine. I hope you enjoy the stories of our amazing students, faculty, staff and alumni. The academic year is in full swing and along with it lots of opportunities. This fall was the start of my second year as the dean of the College of Business. We were excited to welcome more than 1,346 undergraduate and graduate students to the college. You may have noticed a few changes on the operational side of the college, which involve curricula, programs, centers, and faculty and staff, as we continue to live our mission as a business school committed to the success of its students, the impact of our scholarship, and the economic vitality of Wyoming and beyond. We have much to look forward to in the months ahead as we continue our work establishing scholarships, remaining steadfast in our commitment to Wyoming through our land-grant mission and working tirelessly to provide students internships, study abroad opportunities and job placements. We have a strong interest in our students’ success, as we prepare our graduates to drive the continued prosperity of our region and state. With our help, students are able to achieve their dreams and become engaged citizens who are able to create economic opportunities for many others besides themselves. A College of Business education focuses not simply on what happens in the classroom, but on providing our students a variety of experiences to discover their paths in life. To further these efforts, our alums and partners have invested in the college as we look to complete the Peter M. & Paula Green Johnson Student Success Center. Our students are feeling the enthusiasm and energy around these efforts as well. There have never been more opportunities for students, from internships to clubs, travel to academic interests, and activities to unique learning experiences. There are some very exciting things happening in the college, and I hope you’re as excited as I am to be a part of it. The excitement generated from alumni, donors, students, faculty, staff and friends of the college and our entire UW family are critical elements of our blueprint for a great business school. Thank you for your continued support and a wonderful beginning to 2020. Go Pokes!
David Sprott, PhD Dean and Professor University of Wyoming College of Business
Anastasia Riabova, Khabarovsk, Russia BS, Management Checking off all the boxes on junior management major Anastasia Riabova’s wish list, the University of Wyoming College of Business was the perfect fit in preparing for the future. “UW was exactly what I was looking for. From the very first point of contact, I felt like I belonged here and that people truly cared about me and my college experience,” says Riabova. “I wanted a degree that could offer a lot of different options for me after college and the exposure to be able to participate in career fairs, listen and meet different industry guest speakers, and how classes incorporated different job skill elements has been invaluable in preparing me for my next steps after college like internships and job placement.”
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Theodor Aam Olsen, Narvik, Norway SR, Economics & Finance Moving to Wyoming to attend the College of Business has been one of the best decisions economics and finance senior Theodor Aam Olsen has made in establishing a solid educational foundation to build on for future aspirations. “I found that when I was first introduced to economics, it gave me a way to see society in a broader context – seeing connections between major political, economic and cultural events – allowing me to expand my world view,” Aam Olsen said. “In terms of my finance major, I think it gives me a strong foundation to succeed within whatever career path I choose. For example, this past summer I was an investment intern at the Wyoming Retirement System. The support and advice I’ve received along the way at the College of Business have been invaluable.” 4 | FOCUS
Monika Burckhardt, Berlin, Germany MS, Finance Driven by a passion for research and analysis, Monika Burckhardt chose the College of Business for her BS in Finance (2018) and has now returned for her master’s because of the exemplary academic atmosphere in offering hands-on opportunities to students. “The College of Business has opened many doors for me. I have gained a competitive advantage in advancing my Bloomberg Terminal skills; I have explored different financial sectors and firms through the Financial Management Association’s trips to NYC and San Francisco; and I was prepared for the CFA Level 1 exam,” says Burckhardt. “I would encourage everyone to come to UW for the high-quality education, the new friends you will meet, the kind people of UW and the community, and all the new experiences that are awaiting here. Laramie is called Laradise for a reason.” FOCUS | 5
Johannes Reuter, Stuttgart, Germany MBA, International Management
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Realizing the importance of intercultural competencies within the workforce and the growing demand to focus on global markets, international MBA student Johannes Reuter is taking advantage of the collaborative international experience between the University of Wyoming College of Business and Germanyâ€™s University of Pforzheim in order to experience a greater integration of academics and the real world of business. â€œThe College of Business has challenged me to get out of my comfort zone, and experience new places and people that offer great opportunities to gain firsthand knowledge that will help me communicate and negotiate with global partners, suppliers and customers from all over the world,â€? Reuter says.
CON NE C
US ON SO H IT CI W A
Walking the Talk
PHOTO BY BLACK HILLS CORP.
As former president and chief executive officer and now executive chairman of the board of directors for Black Hills Corp. (NYSE: BKH) headquartered in Rapid City, South Dakota, third-generation employee David Emery is part of something special. A 1985 University of Wyoming petroleum engineering graduate, he serves on the leadership team of a national utility provider with operations in eight states and nearly 3,000 employees. Emery’s hard work over the last three decades has earned him a position with a nationally respected corporation. Forbes included Black Hills Corp. in its “America’s Best Mid-Size Employers 2018” list, while Market Strategies International listed Black Hills as a 2018 “Most Trusted Utility Brand,” and Achievers recently named the company to its 2019 list of “50 Most Engaged Workplaces.” He has an indelible entrepreneurial spirit, as evidenced by Black Hills Corp.’s growth from a diversified energy company with 61,000 electric customers and $0.9 billion market capitalization to an electric and natural gas utility with 1.27 million customers in 823 communities in eight states. Black Hills Corp. now has $7.1 billion in assets and a $4.8 billion market capitalization. In addition, under Emery’s direction, Black Hills Corp. completed construction in late 2017 of its new $70 million corporate headquarters, Horizon Point. 8 | FOCUS
Q: Since you took over as CEO in 2004, Black Hills Corp. has undergone massive growth as a company. What challenges come with that amount of growth, and how can leaders help overcome those challenges? There are lots of challenges that come with growing a business rapidly. One of the most important things we focus on at Black Hills, to help with those challenges, is to maintain a smaller company culture. For example, we have senior officers visit every location annually to speak with employees regarding business strategy and key goals. It’s much easier for employees to be passionate about the business when they see firsthand that their leaders are too.
Q: How have you approached change at your job? I truly enjoy change in my job — I get bored with too much of the same thing. I learned a ton from each job and industry segment I worked at over the years. I truly believe that there is always a better way to do things, and as employees and leaders, it is our responsibility to constantly improve the way we do our job. I do not believe in changing things just to change, but if there is a better way, and it makes sense to do so, then we should feel obligated to make the needed changes. Q: How would you raise the bar during your time as CEO? I focused on improving numerous aspects of the business over time, but I think two are most notable. First, when I became CEO, we had one female officer and one female board member. Now, more than a third of our officers and 30 percent of our board members are female. We did this not by setting quotas, but by focusing on how to create opportunities for the best employees to succeed. We also made good progress on racial and ethnic diversity, although we still have a ways to go. Second, I firmly believe employee engagement correlates directly to leadership quality, so we developed our own Leading People Program for managers and supervisors, which has provided us an excellent talent pipeline for future leaders. Q: How do you believe your education at the University of Wyoming prepared you for what you do today? I received an excellent education at UW, which has served me well throughout my career. I received a strong technical education, but it was very well grounded in practical
application. I learned to be resourceful, which has served me well in all the job changes I’ve had over the years. UW is a great university with a lot to offer with exceptional facilities, small class sizes, excellent faculty, Division I athletics, access to outdoor recreation and other activities that help make the college experience special. Q: How did you define success during your time as CEO? Black Hills has been serving utility customers since 1883. The only way you can continue to survive and thrive in the utility industry for that long is to take a long-term strategic view. I’ve always taken that view of success for the company, although it has been much easier said than done, particularly considering the increasingly shortterm focus of the stock market. It is, however, the best way to ensure long-term success for the company, its shareholders, employees, and the communities it serves. Q: What do you value most about Black Hills Corp.’s culture and vision? During my tenure as CEO, we placed a lot of emphasis on “walking the talk.” Our vision (Be the Energy Partner of Choice) and mission (Improving Life with Energy) and nine corporate values are well known to all of our employees and are part of everything we do. They are even part of how we evaluate individual and group employee performance. We know our success as a company is dependent upon the success of the communities we serve — that is rewarding and exciting. Q: Describe the most influential people in your life and their impact. In addition to my greatest teachers,
my parents and grandparents, I had two bosses in my career, who each had an impact on me as a leader. The first at Union Pacific Resources, was straightforward, honest, empathetic, but yet firm. I respect him more than anyone else I’ve ever worked for. Second, was a supervisor at Black Hills, who had a laid-back “management by coffee cup” style. He would regularly come to my floor, fill his coffee cup and sit in my office, visiting and asking questions. Usually, after he left, I would reflect back on the conversation and there was substantial guidance and direction in those discussions, which at the time usually felt like “BS-ing”! He made subtle suggestions and asked good questions, and then left me to figure out what to do, rather than tell me what to do — a great mentor. Q: How do you see Black Hills Corp. in the future? In what direction is the industry moving? The energy industry, including utilities, are in a period of unprecedented change. As an energy provider, we need to embrace the changes and make as much progress as we can, while mitigating the increased costs to our customers, and also educating our customers and the public with the facts about their energy supply. Q: What do you hope your legacy is at Black Hills Corp.? I’m not big on the concept of a legacy, but my hope is that the growth accomplished by the employee team over the past 15 years has set the company up well for many decades of future success as an investor-owned utility company that takes pride in continuing to serve its communities.
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IT ALL ADDS UP FOR THESE
Accounting Alumna Christy Bessert
connections she made through UW, she would not be where she is today. Before she transferred to UW for her sophomore year, Rick Reimann, a family friend, wanted to ensure Bessert had a familiar face her first day. Reimann is the managing partner of Lenhart, Mason & Associates LLC, a Casper CPA firm, and also UW College of Business alumnus. He introduced her to Libby Stetson, a UW College of Business graduate assistant who happened to be interning at Lenhart, Mason & Associates LLC that summer. “After meeting and talking with Libby, I felt confident that I had made the right decision to transfer,” says Bessert. “A few years later during Meet the Firms in fall 2016, I was a graduate student myself, preparing to go out on the job market, when I saw Libby, and she recommended the firm she had previously worked for in Fort Worth, Texas, called Rylander, Clay &
Christy Bessert ’15, ’16, is a double University of Wyoming College of Business alumna who, while advancing in her career, has in many ways remained close to the lessons she learned while dual majoring in accounting and agricultural business — and then as a Master of Accounting student — at UW years ago. A native of Natrona County, Bessert says UW was not her first choice. “I wanted to go out of state, so I actually started at the University of Denver because I had the misconception that everybody I went to high school with would end up at UW,” says Bessert. “However, after a year I realized DU wasn’t the fit for me, so I transferred to the University of Wyoming. Once I was at UW, I had no desire to go elsewhere. All of the professors were awesome and willing to go above and beyond, helping with connections and getting you to where you want to be with your career aspirations.” Bessert recalls that she chose the UW College of Business because of the small class sizes, the valuable career preparation from her professors, and the affordability. “The small class sizes are a huge benefit,” says Bessert. “I know my professors; even to this day if I saw them I would recognize them and they would recognize me. My professors were able to provide me with one-on-one attention that really contributed to my academic and career success. Also, UW is very affordable. I have a lot of colleagues and friends who are still paying off student loans, and I was fortunate enough that I didn’t have to take on any loans, and that’s been awesome.” COURTESY PHOTO Bessert can confidently say that without the 10 | FOCUS
Opitz, LLP (RCO). I immediately emailed the partner in charge of the tax department, Kelly Hein, mentioned I knew Libby, and the next thing I knew, I was down in Texas for an interview. Less than 30 minutes after leaving my interview, Kelly called and offered me a full-time position!” One year after she joined the firm, RCO merged with BKD CPAs & Advisors and became part of the 12th largest accounting firm in the nation, where Bessert works on tax compliance and consulting. A little over a year and a half after earning her Master of Accounting at UW, Bessert became a senior tax associate at BKD at age 25. “I focus a lot in the energy and natural resources space, but I also do some work in real estate and then I fill in as needed; my firm does a great job of exposing staff to every type of client,” says Bessert. “I get to do a little bit of everything. No two days are alike, I am provided with a structure for each day, but there is enough variety that I don’t get bored, and I can without a doubt say that I learn something new every day.” Bessert’s advice to today’s young accounting majors: 1. Ask questions. It’s crucial to ask lots and lots of questions those first years at your job, so you can hit the ground running. Asking questions definitely helps with your career development. As an employer, we don’t expect you to know very much, so if you’re not asking questions, we’re wondering why. 2. Get involved. Don’t just listen; be interactive and give your education 110% effort. Whether it’s on campus or as you are starting out in your career, it makes you a better-rounded person to be involved in activities that teach you how to balance and begin learning prioritization. That spirit of participation extends to Bessert’s community involvement as well, giving back through her service as current president of a nonprofit board, Tarrant Agricultural Scholarship Corp. Bessert enjoys spending time outside of work relaxing with friends and reading.
Jennifer McGuire-Haste University of Wyoming Cowboys don’t back down from a challenge, and Jennifer McGuire-Haste, ’94, a College of Business accounting with honors major, is no exception. “I was a nontraditional student in my late 20s who came back to the University of Wyoming as a single parent with my five year-old son. It was one of the most difficult and best decisions I have ever made,” McGuire-Haste recalled. A native of Gillette, McGuire-Haste had always been a numbers person and knew a career in accounting would be challenging, but also understood it would be a degree that
could open new doors and provide new opportunities. “Wyoming is a fabulous place to get an education,” says McGuire-Haste. “It’s the best value in education out there. I received a quality education without incurring a large amount of debt. The College of Business prepared me to enter and successfully compete in the job market. I have wonderful memories of my time in Laramie.” Understanding that coursework and grades were one set of keys to success, McGuire-Haste applied herself to her academics. She also knew that she needed to be involved outside the classroom to make a difference and help set herself apart in the marketplace. This led McGuire-Haste to join Beta Alpha Psi, SPURS, Iron Skull and Mortar Board, along with participating in her son’s activities. “Having great grades, being involved on campus and having internship experience were instrumental in my resume standing out when I interviewed,” says McGuire-Haste. “One month after graduation, I went to work in Denver for one of the Big 6 accounting firms as an auditor. I then transitioned into IT in the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software industry at JD Edwards (now an Oracle product), where I then moved into consulting and managing financial software implementation projects.” Today, as a senior engagement manager at Workday, McGuire-Haste is responsible for all aspects of delivery and management of financial implementation projects for the organization. “My accounting degree has served me very well,” says McGuire-Haste. “I engage daily with our clients and the project team regarding implementation requirements and FOCUS | 11
deliverables. My education prepared me to understand the business processes, and my experience has allowed to serve as the liaison between the technical side of IT and finance.” A degree in accounting has exposed McGuire-Haste to multiple projects that vary in size and complexity at any given time and to a wide variety of industries and organizations. “Each project brings unique challenges, solutions, a different project team and new clients to serve,” says McGuireHaste. “I’ve traveled the globe and value every experience that I’ve had, including a 10 month international assignment in Amsterdam. It has really given me a perspective and appreciation of different cultures.” During McGuire-Haste’s time at UW, and particularly in the College of Business, McGuire-Haste was provided an opportunity to start over and get the wind back in her sail. She credits highlights such as overcoming obstacles, having success in the classroom, building confidence, learning and working with excellent and available professors who cared about the success of their students, and making lifelong friends as just a handful of reasons for the success of her college experience. In 2016, McGuire-Haste and her husband established an endowed scholarship for the College of Business called the Overcomers Scholarship, which annually aids a nontraditional College of Business student who is returning to school after overcoming a hardship. “As the fortunate recipient of a scholarship myself, giving back to the University of Wyoming and the College of Business has always been my desire since my time at UW was such a pivotal turning point in my life,” says McGuireHaste. “Life doesn’t always go as planned, and nothing gives me greater joy than to help someone turn the page on a challenging time and help them get a step closer to finishing their education.” McGuire-Haste and her husband, Oklahoma state Sen. John Haste, enjoy traveling, playing golf, college football, spending time on the lake, entertaining family and friends at home and being involved in serving in their local church and community of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.
accounting classes challenging and knew the job market was favorable,” says Clark. “The UW College of Business was a better value in terms of cost of attendance and quality of education compared to other business schools I toured.” Born and raised in Gillette, Clark received both her bachelor’s and master’s in accounting at UW. Over the course of her career, Clark has risen through the ranks at PwC (A Professional Services Firm) in Denver, where she now serves as an assurance senior manager in the energy sector, primarily focused on the midstream oil and gas industry. “I work on a multi-location team staffed in Colorado, Ohio, and Texas. My role primarily consists of evaluating complex accounting issues and driving audit quality. I am also a PwC Denver coordinator for volunteer projects designed to promote financial literacy in local schools,” says Clark. If not for the small class sizes in her major, Clark would never have been able to form lasting relationships with classmates and professors, leading to career networking opportunities that provided her with valuable internship experiences for her future. “I met a PwC audit team through an internship I had gained from attending College of Business Beta Alpha Psi events,” says Clark. “I ultimately wanted to start my career with the Big 4, and the PwC team recruited me for an internship the following summer, which led to a full-time offer.” With technology changing the traditional accounting
Danielle Clark University of Wyoming College of Business alumna Danielle Clark, ’10, ’11, pivoted from her original dual major in business administration and biology with the intention of applying to optometry school to accounting and has never looked back. “While working toward optometry school, I found my 12 | FOCUS
environment, both from an industry and professional services perspective, Clark emphasizes the importance for today’s accounting students to stay up to date on technologies that companies and firms are using to transform existing processes, as well as possess strong project management skills, a desire to learn and a team player mentality. “My advice to students is to take advantage of the opportunities to get involved both in the College of Business and in the broader campus community,” says Clark. “Participate in a study abroad. Take any professional accreditation exams before you start working full time.” When not working, Clark enjoys playing volleyball, skiing, traveling, hiking, and spending time with friends and family.
Connie Brezik Its nearly limitless array of career possibilities is what initially drew University of Wyoming College of Business alumna Connie Brezik, ’79, to pursue a degree in accounting. “It has been almost 40 years, and still the best part was the faculty and other students in the business classes,” says Brezik. “My classmates became my study partners, and we spent many hours in the Coe Library studying for the CPA exam my senior year.” A native of Rapid City, South Dakota, Brezik recommends that when trying to decide what degree to pursue, students should get out and tour campus, especially the College of Business, and spend time talking to faculty and other students. Also, research and understand the job and/or career opportunities available for the degree you want to earn. “An accounting degree opens up many doors for you,” says Brezik. “There are lots of opportunities in public and private accounting. The knowledge you gain can also help you with your own business down the road if that is your goal.” Brezik currently is a wealth advisor with Buckingham Strategic Wealth, a national wealth management firm with
35 offices across the country that provide comprehensive financial planning and investment management services to help clients achieve their most important goals. Before joining Buckingham in 2015, she spent more than a decade serving as president of the Casper-based financial planning firm she founded. Brezik first moved into financial planning at the national CPA firm she worked for after graduating from UW, following many years of practicing traditional tax and audit services there. “This is a very personal business, and it is very rewarding knowing you are helping clients be successful,” says Brezik. “Accounting degree students were in demand when I graduated and still are in demand today.” In her free time, Brezik loves to travel and stay active with hiking, biking and Pilates.
"An accounting degree opens up many doors for you. There are lots of opportunities in public and private accounting." – Connie Brezik
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The Challenge of
LEARNING GOALS How Savvy Goal-Setting Boosts Performance, Reduces Unethical Behavior
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Setting goals in the workplace has been shown to be an important practice for increasing employee and organization performance, but the wrong type of goal-setting can result in unethical behavior. Consider these examples: • In 2016, it was disclosed that Wells Fargo Bank employees had issued over 500,000 unauthorized credit cards and created as many as 3.5 million unapproved customer accounts in attempts to meet lofty sales goals. The scandal resulted in fines totaling $185 million for the banking giant. • In 2015, German automaker Volkswagen admitted to cheating emissions tests in the United States and Europe, as about 11 million cars were fitted with a device that detected when they were being tested and changed the performance to improve results. This was a result of VW’s major push to sell diesel vehicles. • In 2015, teachers and principals in the Atlanta Public Schools were convicted of cheating on state-administered standardized tests, as a result of inordinate pressure to meet targets set by the school district. These scandals and others have stimulated considerable research at universities across the country, with many concluding that high performance goals increase unethical behavior, compared with lower “do your best” goals. The problem is that years of previous research demonstrate that high, specific goals are essential to increase performance, while lower goals actually lead to performance decreases. In a new wrinkle, University of Wyoming Department of Management and Marketing Associate Professor Chase Thiel and several colleagues have shown that it’s possible to set high performance goals for employees that motivate higher performance without simultaneously encouraging them to cheat. The researchers say the key is how those goals are framed and the subsequent focus of employees’ goal-directed efforts. Their research revealed that when high performance goals had a learning orientation — rather than an outcome focus — performance improved without ethical corner-cutting. “We found that high learning goals could be effectively used to motivate individuals without increasing cheating,” Thiel says. “A change from outcome goals to learning goals can decrease unethical behavior without lowering performance, even when goals are difficult.” The research by Thiel and his colleagues at Arizona State University and Utah State University appeared recently in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. They conducted four studies involving hundreds of employees and supervisors, as well as students at public universities. 16 | FOCUS
Based on their findings, Thiel and his colleagues argue that the tension between previous findings about high, specific goals stimulating both increased performance and unethical behavior can be resolved by shifting the focus from goal difficulty and specificity to the types of goals established for employees. Learning goals — or goals for the sake of learning and self-improvement — are effective for achieving eventual performance without unethical shortcuts because they’re intrinsically motivating, focusing primarily on the process of goal attainment rather than an ultimate outcome. “Learning goals don’t create the fear of failure that can lead a person to doing whatever it takes to meet a target, such as cheating or other shortcuts,” Thiel says. “At the same time, learning goals have been shown to increase planning, deep
Chase Thiel, a Department of Management and Marketing associate professor, talks with students (L-R) Amanda Smith, Kamber Lucas and Makayla Bishop during his talent acquisition course.
processing and concentration on job tasks — resulting in improved performance.” For example, the researchers say that a goal such as selling 10 cars in a month could be a learning goal if it is clear that the goal is not about achieving a specific outcome, but rather improving one’s performance over time, learning new skills and developing new strategies to master the task. Many workplace goals can be transformed from outcome goals into learning goals when the underlying motivation is shifted from external outcomes to only personal comparisons and development, they say. “Learning goals can be highly motivating, as they draw on intrinsic motivation related to one’s own mastery of the task,” Thiel says. “This task mastery motivation has been shown
to increase effort and persistence, with a greater focus on planning, monitoring and personal progression.” The researchers recommend that managers use challenging learning goals instead of outcome goals as a way to both motivate performance and avoid unethical behavior. The intrinsic motivation of learning goals drives employees to work toward achievement for the sake of self-improvement and growth, and that motivation persists even when the difficulty of the goals increases. “Our research not only provides insight into the dark side of goal setting, but it also offers potential solutions to these serious issues,” Thiel says. “Framing goals as learning goals rather than outcome goals can decrease unethical behavior without a corresponding drop in performance.” FOCUS | 17
New vision aims to ensure that students succeed in school and in life When David Sprott learned of the opportunity to lead UW’s College of Business, it was like a magnet pulling him home. From the moment of the first phone call, Sprott knew it was clear that amazing opportunities could come from working here. “Dean Sprott is a highly regarded instructor, researcher and leader, who prioritizes both faculty scholarship and student success,” recalled search committee chair and College of Law Dean Klint Alexander. “He possesses all of the qualities we were looking for in a dean during the search process, and there is no doubt that he will take the College of Business to the next level.” Hitting the ground running, Sprott has taken the opportunity to plan, organize and build since the announcement he got the job. He
traveled to Wyoming a couple of times a month to meet with faculty, staff, alumni, students, donors and friends of the college until he officially took the reins of the business school in August. And he has been nonstop ever since. “I felt as though the first year of my being dean was really important, and I wanted to do as much as I could during that time,” says Sprott, “not just to give me a bigger and better picture of the College of Business, but also to give me an accurate assessment of all facets of our business school.” The past year saw Sprott involved with faculty and staff concerns and successes; visit with both undergraduate and graduate students; meet with alumni and donors to discuss the needs of the business school; formulate a plan for even more College
of Business engagement with the corporate community; and dive into the operations and services provided by the various centers at the college. And the list goes on. The common theme in everything Sprott has done thus far is “student centric”—a message that has resonated with every important constituency— through examples of a dedication to experiential learning and “learning by doing.” This is a mindset that higher education is a vital combination of academic advances in the classroom and invaluable experience and learning outside the classroom, leading the college to build a lifelong community of learners. We embrace the spirit of hard work, respect and diversity of ideas and all people, ethical behavior, and an entrepreneurial mindset.
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“We are excited to have a scholar and administrator of Dr. Sprott’s caliber agree to lead this very important academic college at the University of Wyoming,” UW Provost Kate Miller says. “He has a proven track record at Washington State that fits very well with what we aim to accomplish in the UW College of Business.” For over 20 years, Sprott was on the faculty at Washington State, where he rose from untenured assistant professor in the Department of Marketing to associate professor and full professor while holding two endowed professorships. He was part of the leadership team at the Carson College of Business since 2007. Before becoming senior associate dean for faculty and international affairs in 2014, he served in various associate dean roles leading graduate, international and professional programs, and served as acting dean of the WSU College of Business in 2007. As a researcher, Sprott has focused on various aspects of consumer decision making related to retailing, branding, social influence and marketing public policy. Cited over 5,000 times, his research has been published in the field’s top journals and has been conducted in partnership with national and international universities, firms and collaborators. Sprott holds a Ph.D. in business administration from the University of South Carolina, and he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Kent State University. Sprott is grateful for the positive course established by former interim dean David Chicoine. But Sprott intends to build upon that trajectory, looking ahead. “By breaking down the barriers that separate the college from area businesses
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and organizations, we want to create a culture of collaboration, with the ultimate goal of designing a business program that leverages our strengths, delivers relevant and current content, and prepares graduates to hit the ground running,” Sprott says. “From the start, I made it a priority to discover what we could be doing better.” During fall 2018, the college launched a strategic planning process that touched all key stakeholders. Dynamic dialogue and transparent processes engaged faculty, staff, students, alumni and other college
stakeholders in deep and critical discussions of envisioning the future for the college. As a result, the new strategic plan provides a clear path to create a college distinctive among its peers. Recognizing that the new mission should present new opportunities, the college aimed to develop a plan that represents a shared and aspirational vision of their future. The result is a guiding vision, mission, values and goals that will carry the college forward into the exciting new possibilities for many years to come, components of which include delivering a highly valued
Sprott looks to ensure cross-campus communication and partnership building through interactions such as the UW deans and directors meeting.
student experience; advancing worldclass research; serving the state through outreach and engagement; expanding global connections; and growing the quality and reach of online offerings. “The College of Business at the University of Wyoming is poised to significantly expand its impact within the state, across the region and around the globe,” Sprott says. “I am honored to join a great team at UW to advance business education and scholarship for the benefit of the students, faculty, staff, alums and the entire Wyoming business community.”
Experiential Learning Also known as learning by doing, experiential learning encompasses a wide array of possibilities. From assignments outside of the classroom to internships, and from experiences through places like the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship to the Peter M. & Paula Green Johnson Student Success Center, students have more resources than ever before. That, Sprott said, is what will help differentiate UW’s business school from others. “College of Business students are difference makers, and the education
and experiential learning opportunities they receive at the college are going to set them apart on the marketplace,” Sprott said. “By putting their knowledge and skills to work in real-life situations with real-life expectations, our students will have relevant experience on their resumes, which is an advantage provided to them by our business program that focuses on learning inside and outside of the classroom.” There is a college-wide concentrated effort on the preparation of students, and Sprott is a firm believer that the college’s teamwork approach provides
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Since his arrival on campus, Sprott has made it a priority to be accessible to the student community, attending such events as speaking at the College of Business MBA student orientation.
“As a land-grant university, the UW College of Business has a history of graduating students who make an impact, and we are excited to take this to the next level,” says Sprott.
Students attend College of Business Finance Lecturer Philip Treick’s Portfolio Management class in the Trading Room. The special classroom is equipped with several computers loaded with Bloomberg software that allow them to analyze the stock market and learn how to properly balance a client’s portfolio.
students with abundant opportunities to ready themselves for employers and the global marketplace. Take, for example, the supply chain management concentration, which was unveiled in the fall 2015 semester. A team composed of supply chain students from the College of Business won the Washington State University Supply Chain Skills Challenge in February. Their outstanding effort resulted in an overall first-place finish over a stacked field of 12 universities, including Ohio State University, the University of Utah and Brigham Young University, to name a few. Experiential learning has helped supply chain students make decisions on the go and in critical situations. The competition has provided real-world problems to be solved, and mirrors situations students could find themselves facing days after graduation. College of Business finance students are also gaining invaluable investment experience with exposure based upon real-time market conditions and investment decisions they make in courses FIN 4340 and 4350 Portfolio Management I & II. Students learn
how to construct investment portfolios from scratch, to learn the signals from which to obtain sell and buy data and the ability to act on this information by managing, monitoring and investing real money provided by the state of Wyoming and the University of Wyoming Foundation. This experience highlights a clear connection from knowledge and skills through practice, and allows the college to showcase the extraordinary quality of the students in the business program. “It is these types of differentiating experiential learning experiences— that also include study abroad opportunities, case competitions, working with companies and internship opportunities—that will help move the College of Business forward and upward,” says Sprott. All of these experiences are invaluable parts in delivering a highly valued student experience in creating better students, better careers and better alumni. A College of Business degree is just the beginning for our graduates as they embark on making a difference in their communities.
The Wyoming Impact The College of Business has a longstanding history of providing the state and its residents with unparalleled expertise and is looking to increase that commitment, because the resources at its flagship business school could be a difference maker. “Wyoming is undergoing many changes, and with the resources we have at the College of Business, we are prepared to roll up our sleeves and help,” says Sprott. There are plenty of examples that illustrate this point: Take the Center for Energy Regulation and Policy (CERP), which provides objective information and analysis for energy policies at the state, national and international level that strive to balance economic, environmental, and social considerations; …or the Center for Business and Economic Analysis (CBEA), which supports the economic growth and diversification of Wyoming’s economy through applied economic and business analytics for communities, industries and entrepreneurs who desire a thriving and prosperous Wyoming. …or the Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURE), where graduate students work one on one with faculty on a wide range of ongoing policy analysis research projects. …or the College of Business Student Center for the Public Trust (SCPT) chapter, a student-run ethics club, which for the second year awarded resources to Laramie nonprofit organizations,
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whose research and presentations helped students in the chapter learn that, as ethical business leaders, they have the ability and responsibility to make a difference in their communities. …or College of Business students who worked to develop marketing plans to assist local free K-8 public charter school, Snowy Range Academy, in making strategic marketing recommendations. ... or the Peter M. and Paula Green Johnson Student Success Center, which provides a wide range of experiential opportunities to not only collegiate but high school students as well. “It is important to us to make a difference in our state,” says Sprott. “The College of Business has highly respected faculty and staff, skilled students, and resources that can benefit our state and its people. That’s an important part of our plan for the future.” Entrepreneurial Spirit To be the business college of choice for people who value enriching experiences and the integrity of the handshake, the first order of business for Sprott was to get out and meet the people and businesses of the state in order to understand the entrepreneurial culture and landscape of Wyoming—and to start building relationships. “We are experiencing a wave of entrepreneurship taking root in Wyoming through the spirit of hard work and innovation in our small businesses,” Sprott says. The revamped entrepreneurship curriculum is in full swing for fall 2019. New courses are being offered during the 2019-2020 academic year for both the revamped cross-campus entrepreneurship minor as well as the entrepreneurship concentration in the College of Business. Two new courses, ENTR 2700 (Entrepreneurial 24 | FOCUS
Darrell Bell Sr. came to UW to study business and entrepreneurship with plans to start a construction business that employs Native Americans in the Wind River area.
Mindset) and ENTR 3700 (Innovation, Ideation, and Value Proposition), are being offered during fall 2019. Several new entrepreneurship courses will also be offered in spring 2020. Planning is underway to offer entrepreneurship students more exciting applied experiences and opportunities for experiential learning, including the John P. Ellbogen $50K Entrepreneurship Competition. Going Global It was a love of travel and visiting new places instilled by David Sprott’s parents that led to a lifelong passion and appreciation of other cultures. “In my opinion, internationalization of our curriculum and student experience needs to underlie nearly every aspect of our college,” says Sprott. “We have amazing international research occurring by our faculty. We continue to recruit students to come here from other countries. And if we can ensure that our students have meaningful global experiences, we will produce stronger students who can stay in this great state to grow our economy.” At present, the state of Wyoming exports over $1 billion in goods around the world, supporting approximately 5,000 jobs. As the College of Business evaluates its growing student success
initiatives and their potential impact on the state, the college is also looking beyond the horizon. “We live in a world that operates globally, and I believe it is critical for people to understand, or at a minimum appreciate, other cultures,” says Sprott. “It is critical for our students to have a meaningful international experience while at UW in order to help solidify their understanding of global markets and prepare them for today’s business world. One of the university’s strategic goals is to have an over 50 percent increase in the number of students and faculty who are part of study abroad; I want the College of Business to be a key player in achieving this important goal.” Leading the Way The College of Business will continue its upward trajectory through the exceptional experiences of its students. “We don’t want to be a cookiecutter business school. We want our approach to educating our students to differentiate them in the marketplace,” says Sprott. “When our students graduate from the College of Business, they will be highly skilled and careerready, and they will excel in their areas of expertise because of the unique opportunities afforded to them through our doors.”
THE TOP 5 BUSINESS CHALLENGES ACCOUNTING & FINANCIAL SERVICES ARE FACING TODAY
In this demanding and highly competitive marketplace, accounting and financial service firms are facing dramatic changes from every angle, producing a whole new set of major business challenges. What are these new challenges, and what do they mean for firms seeking to remain competitive in today’s demanding and rapidly evolving industry?
TECHNOLOGY The business challenge has shifted from not only keeping up with new technology, but also about avoiding being replaced by technology. Advancements in services such as financial planning and tax software and blockchain could be a cheaper solution for routine compliance. Be on the lookout to see how the industry experiments with combining technology and professional services packaged together as new offerings.
TAX LAW CHANGES
TRUST The level of trust in accounting and financial service firms by the public has decreased with recent events such as hacking, making attracting clients hard.
Tax law is ever changing, and the level of uncertainty is high, so it is challenging to stay current.
THREAT FROM COMPETITION Clients expect exemplary service, so how can firms set themselves apart from competitors offering similar solutions and services? Firms should find this challenge as an opportunity to differentiate themselves by highlighting their unique value and best practices to potential clients.
TALENT SHORTAGE With many seasoned financial advisors looking to retire, firms should assess how top talent is searching for career opportunities and what they value in future employers in order to better position their company and brand to better attract new talent and create a higher-performing workforce.
As accounting and financial service firms attempt to address all of these challenges — evolving technology, threats from competition, industry changes, and attracting top talent — firms must adapt their marketing strategy. The firms that are best able to build an adept, multi-faceted marketing approach will be able to not only remain competitive, but grow.
? ts h g ou th r ou y or f y nn e P UW Economist Finds Mixed Values of ‘Thoughts and Prayers’
Groundbreaking research by a University of Wyoming economist has shed new light on the controversial topic of the value of “thoughts and prayers” in response to natural and human-caused disasters. Experiments led by Assistant Professor Linda Thunstrom, of the Department of Economics in UW’s College of Business, have found that people who offer prayers may be less likely to donate to victims of such catastrophes. At the same time, many of the victims themselves place significant value on the thoughts and prayers of others, possibly offsetting any “crowding out” of donations by prayer. “Our research suggests that prayers might be used as a substitute for other types of actions, but such evidence is not enough to conclude that recipients find themselves to be worse off from receiving prayers,” Thunstrom says. “The net effect on recipient welfare from thoughts and prayers depends on how recipients value such intercessory gestures.” The debate over the value of “thoughts and prayers” has come to the forefront as a result of the verbal responses of political and other leaders to mass shootings and natural disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires. Critics argue that expressing sympathy through thoughts and prayers is a meaningless gesture in response to tragedy — and that, in some cases, it’s an excuse to not take action.
Thunstrom has conducted multiple, first-of-theirkind economic experiments on the topic. Three experiments, all part of the same academic article, have focused on whether people, given the opportunity to donate to hurricane victims, would do so after they pray and think about the victims. A separate study — conducted in conjunction with former UW sociology faculty member Shiri Noy, now with Denison University in Ohio — placed actual economic values on thoughts on prayers through an economic experiment involving of victims of hurricane Florence in North Carolina last year. The latter study has received major national and international attention by appearing in the prestigious scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). It’s the first study to shed empirical light on the value of thoughts and prayers. The first bundle of experiments found that people who prayed for hurricane victims before donating gave less than they would have otherwise: Because those who prayed believed that prayers improved the victims’ well-being, they donated less. On the other hand, simply taking a moment to think about victims didn’t have a significant effect on the level of donation. It should be noted that these results are not entirely conclusive, though: In one experiment — in which possible donations were much smaller than in the
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other experiments — prayers had no impact on subsequent donations. “Our results suggest that the act of praying is a substitute for material help — in other words, prayers crowd out donations, at least in some contexts,” Thunstrom says. “We do not find any impact on donations from taking a moment to think of the hurricane victims.” Meanwhile, the study featured in PNAS placed actual economic values on thoughts on prayers through the survey of victims of hurricane Florence. They found that, from the perspective of Christian hurricane victims, the monetary value of prayers by others on their behalf was significant. In contrast, atheists and agnostics were actually “prayer-averse,” placing a negative monetary value on prayers on their behalf by others. Specifically, the study found that, on average, religious Christians value prayers from a Christian stranger at $4.36, and $7.17 from a priest. Meanwhile, non-religious people are willing to pay $3.54 for a Christian stranger and $1.66 for a priest to not pray for them. Likewise, Christians value thoughts from a religious stranger at $3.27, while non-religious people negatively value the same gesture (-$2.02).
“Our results suggest that thoughts and prayers for others should ideally be employed selectively,” Thunstrom and Noy wrote. “While Christians value such gestures from fellow believers, non-religious people negatively value such gestures from Christians and are indifferent to receiving them from other non-religious people.” Suggesting more research on the perceived value of thoughts and prayers in response to catastrophes, Thunstrom says consideration of the findings could temper the public debate over the issue. “The finding that Christians benefit from intercessory prayers, while the welfare of atheists/agnostics is reduced by such gestures, underscores the divide in this popular response to hardships,” Thunstrom says. “Our results might also reflect the political and religious polarization in the United States. We find that it matters who sends the gesture — Christians value gestures from other religious Christians, while nonreligious attach a higher value to supportive gestures from other non-religious. A deeper understanding of the values and beliefs of different groups with respect to thoughts and prayers may, however, reduce some of the animosity surrounding thoughts and prayers in the public debate.”
"Our results suggest that thoughts and prayers for others should ideally be employed selectively." — Linda T hunstrom and Shiri Noy
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B E YO N D T H E PAG E S
Years of Service The College of Business would like to congratulate Department of Economics Professor Owen Phillips and Scarlett Chair of Business and Professor of Decision Science Larry Weatherford on their retirement after many years of dedicated service to the college! Owen Phillips received his Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University in 1980, before becoming an assistant professor of economics from 1985-1987, an associate and then full professor of economics in 1995 with the University of Wyoming Department of Economics. Phillips has more than 34 years of service with the UW College of Business Department of Economics as department chair Owen Phillips (1999-2005 and 1993-1996), associate dean (2010-2016), and director of assessment and faculty development (2016-2017). For more than three decades, Phillips has taught and researched issues focused on industrial organization, antitrust economics, microeconomic theory, and experimental economics. Among his awards are the UW College of Business Outstanding Senior Research Award (1992, 2000, 2003), and the PacifiCorp Award for Entrepreneurial Activity and Economic Development (2003). Lawrence Weatherford, an assistant professor from 1991-1996, before becoming an associate and then full professor in 2002. He has more than 28 years of service with the UW College of Business Department of Management and Marketing as associate dean (2003-2008), department chair (2010-2011), and playing an instrumental role as the College of Business Building Shepherd (2005-2010), which oversaw the creation of the College of Business Larry Weatherford renovation/expansion and LEEDGold certification. Weatherford has taught and researched issues focused on decision modeling, quantitative methods, forecasting, and revenue management for airlines, hotels, rental cars and cruise lines. Among Weatherfordâ€™s awards are the 2017 Hollon Family Award for Teaching Excellence in Off-Campus Programs, the UW College of Business Outstanding Research Award (2018), University of Wyoming George Duke Humphrey Distinguished Faculty Award (2018), University John P. Ellbogen Meritorious Classroom Teaching Award (1996), and many more.
College of Business winners of the 2019 Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Case Competition!
Congratulations to College of Business instructors Joseph Russo, Amber Mercil, and Bill Campbell on their 2019 Promoting Intellectual Engagement (PIE) Awards! PIE Award recipients are nominated by students and exemplify instructors who inspire excitement, inquiry and autonomy in first-year courses.
Take Me Out To The Ball Game! College of Business dean hosts alumni and guests at Colorado Rockies spring training game against Kansas City Royals.
In only its second year as a chapter, the UW College of Business DECA organization received a number of awards at the 2019 Collegiate DECA International Career Development Conference.
Interest Rate Effect How change in information presentation could reduce student debt
While strong support from Wyoming leaders has made it possible for more than half of those graduating from the University of Wyoming to incur no student loan debt, the issue of college debt is a major issue across the country. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York estimated total student loan debt at $1.23 trillion in 2016, surpassing both credit card and auto loan debt. College graduates in 2016 were reported to have an average of $37,172 in student loan debt, with 71 percent of them graduating with some amount of indebtedness. New research led by UW College of Business Assistant Professor Mackenzie Festa, in the Department of Accounting and Finance, shows that a small change in the way colleges present information about student loans could help turn the tide on student debt nationwide. His conclusion: Presenting interest rates prominently on financial aid forms next to each loan option, rather than providing the same information elsewhere, influences students to fund more of their education through work and less through high-cost private student loans. â€œIt may seem like a simple change, but when financial aid forms are formatted in a way that makes interest rates more accessible and prominently featured, students tend to accept 30 | FOCUS
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fewer high-cost loans and work more during their college years,” Festa says. “Small changes in the student financial aid process may lead to substantial cost savings for students. Overall, the long-term cost of education would significantly decrease if financial aid forms were presented in a more straightforward manner, including adding interest rates next to each potential funding source.” The research, published in the Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning, was conducted by Festa along with colleagues from West Virginia University. It involved an experimental survey of 204 undergraduate business students, with those students answering questions after viewing financial aid documents giving different levels of prominence to student loan interest rates. “We found that, when college aid forms emphasize the
“Small changes in the student financial aid process may lead to substantial cost savings for students.” — Mackenzie Festa
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interest rates of various financial aid options, students are more cautious about taking on costly loans, and they show a greater inclination to work during college,” Festa says. “When students better understand the true cost of financial aid, they make better decisions that don’t damage their long-term financial well-being.” Interestingly, the researchers found that women are more likely than men to take out student loans, supporting previous research on the topic. That could be because men expect to receive higher salaries after graduation. “Given the long-term costs associated with not attaining a degree, it may be that women are making a decision to succeed in the classroom first and work second in order to ensure career success when compared to their male colleagues,” the researchers note. “Men, by contrast, may accept the short-term imbalance of working and taking classes because the consequences of not attaining a degree are lower for men compared to women.” Overall, Festa and his colleagues say universities, the federal government, policymakers and others should pay more attention to the way financial aid information is presented to students. “Due to the soaring costs of higher education nationwide, administrators and others at educational institutions charged with assisting students with these issues should be cognizant of the factors influencing students’ decisions to fund their educations,” Festa says. “These decisions have a major impact on student retention, student well-being and the future of students’ personal financial plans.”
RESEARCH TO IMPROVE THE ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES ACROSS WYOMING The CBEA supports the economic growth and diversification of Wyoming’s economy through applied economic and business analytics for communities, industries and entrepreneurs who desire a thriving and prosperous Wyoming.
• Provide professional economic insight about Wyoming by tracking and interpreting regional conditions and supplying local and state economic forecasts. • Undertake economic impact assessments. • Conduct specialized analyses, studies and projects, including guidance for investors, policymakers and entrepreneurs. • Study and disseminate population demographic and workforce conditions to support regional development. Tell us about your analytics needs:
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UW RECEIVES $1.5 MILLION GIFT TO SUPPORT STUDENT SUCCESS A $1.5 million gift from longtime University of Wyoming supporters will establish the Peter M. and Paula Green Johnson Student Success Center, a new UW College of Business program that supports students throughout their college experiences and will help launch successful careers. “Among the obligations that every great business school has to its students is to prepare them for employment,” the Johnsons say. “The Peter M. and Paula Green Johnson Student Success Center will help the University of Wyoming College of Business students both succeed in college and be prepared for and achieve professional business
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employment upon graduation.” The new center will be an essential element of the College of Business student experience, with students interacting with the center from the time they consider attending UW through their academics to interviewing for jobs and graduation. The Peter M. and Paula Green Johnson Career Center — now part of the Student Success Center in the College of Business — also has been supported by the Johnsons. In 2007, the couple donated $1 million to support the career center, which was doubled by state matching funds. The Student Success Center also is supported by gifts from Lois Mottonen, Scott and Anne Macdonald, Pat and Nancy Higgins, and Charles Morrison, most of whom are UW College of Business alumni. The McMurry Foundation College of Business Dean’s Excellence Fund, which was established by Mick and Susie McMurry through the McMurry Foundation, also will be used to support the center. The Student Success Center will be
located within the old Commerce and Industry Building on the west end of the College of Business Building. It will open in the 2020-21 academic year. The new center will be restructured and renovated, including a dedicated entrance and an open floor plan, a reception and common area, flexible office space, interview and conference rooms, and technology-rich sales simulation spaces. A director who oversees managers, academic advisers, recruiters and career coordinators will oversee the center. Fundamental student services that will be offered by the center include enrollment management, academic advising, and professional development and engagement: • For enrollment management, services include Wyoming high school recruitment, community college relations, articulation and transfers, recruitment beyond Wyoming’s borders and awarding of scholarships. • For academic advising, services include advising, degree progression and completion tracking, study abroad
and the management of resources balancing student demand, space availability and faculty. • For professional development and engagement, the Peter M. and Paula Green Johnson Career Center offers career, mentorship and professional development, corporate engagement and employer relations, internships, coordination and support of faculty careers, and experiential learning opportunities. The career center will serve up to 800 students each year. “I am inspired by the dedication and generosity of donors like Peter and Paula to our students,” says David Sprott, dean of the College of Business. “Without supporters such as them, it would be impossible for UW’s College of Business to support the success of our students. Our new Peter M. and Paula Green Johnson Student Success Center will leave an immeasurable impact on the college’s efforts to provide quality business education to our students and to impact the economic vitality of Wyoming and beyond. With this center, we stand ready to prepare and advance our students’ academic and professional lives.” The center will aspire to instill students with career confidence, ethical grounding, collaboration, problem-solving, creativity, lifelong
learning, global engagement, resilience, vision, competent communication and core business competencies. The success of the center will be measured by enrollment, scholarship dollars, retention, study-abroad participation, graduation rates, internships, corporate engagement and job placement. “Peter and Paula have been remarkable UW leaders and supporters,” says Ben Blalock, UW Foundation president and CEO. “The University of Wyoming is in their debt for the many valuable contributions they have made to the success of this institution.” The Johnsons are both UW graduates — Peter from the College of Business and Paula in the College of Health Sciences. They are the recipients of the UW Medallion Service Award in 2014 for outstanding support of UW. Peter is president of Sinclair Oil
and served as the UW College of Business’ first executive-in-residence in 2004. He also serves on the College of Business Advisory Board and is a College of Business Distinguished Alumnus. While at UW, he was active in Iron Skull, Alpha Kappa Psi and the Associated Students of UW. Paula serves on many boards and volunteers her time for several worthy causes. She served on the UW Foundation Board of Directors and received an honorary degree from UW. Among her other volunteer work, she served with the American Red Cross in Ghana, earning a Red Cross Lifetime Achievement Hero Award. “We live our lives in line with Winston Churchill’s statement on philanthropy: ‘We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give,’” the Johnsons say.
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