Venky VenkatachalamGreetings! This winter has been frigid in Vermillion, with plenty of sub-zero temperatures. Despite the cold winter, the energy level at the Beacom School of Business continues to be high with our enthusiastic faculty and staff keeping our students engaged and energized in the learning process that prepares them for a “world-class career,” which starts at USD!

Preparation for our AACSB re-accreditation is in full swing. Dr. Dan Tracy, Dr. Rand Wergin, Dr. Tyler Custis, and Dr. Marcie Sariol are leading our assessment activities that are required to demonstrate “Assurance of Learning” and a culture of continuing improvement in our academic programs. The peer-review team of three sitting deans from three external accredited business schools will visit our campus in February 2019, with a full-report due to AACSB in December 2018.

This semester we welcome two new practitioner faculty members—Emily Paulson joins our marketing faculty. Emily has great passion for the students and it shows in every class she teaches. She has extensive real-world experience in digital marketing. We also welcomed Dr. Aron Spencer to our innovation & entrepreneurship faculty in January. Dr. Spencer has academic background and experience, followed by real-world experience in the startup industry in the New York/New Jersey region, before going to Russia to launch several entrepreneurship initiatives and programs.

Our continued venture into Executive Education has been a great success. Dr. Jason Porter just completed a cohort-based program for MetaBank executives in accounting, and is about to finish the second cohort. Professors Custis, Martin, and completed programs on negotiation and project management. We just completed a program for Raven Industries and are ready to start a new program for POET. Such successful engagement highlights the caliber of our faculty and demonstrates our commitment for economic development through recruiting and retention of professionals in a wide range of industries in South Dakota.

In order to enhance global experiences for Beacom students, we are launching a new global immersion program in Hong Kong to give our students a transformative experience in how the global economy operates and also give a taste of global culture. Dr. Mark Yockey and some of our staff will be accompanying our students this May.

This spring we inaugurated a new Academic Excellence Center, which focuses on providing our students academic learning support in all our business courses. The peer-advising program we launched last fall, along with student-tutoring programs are all now part of the new academic excellence center, which is now housed on the first floor of Beacom Hall, in a welcoming atmosphere to provide help to our students. Dr. Allgrunn has been championing the student tutoring program for several years, and Carly Heard, Director of Student Services, is managing the peer-advising program, which pairs experienced students with small groups of freshman students to help them achieve academic success. Our faculty are deeply committed to student success and the academic excellence center is another demonstration of this commitment.

As I conclude this spring update, I also reflect on how fortunate we are in having an outstanding team of faculty and staff, who work diligently to create student success, and prepare them to face the challenges and opportunities in the global economy. They deserve our fullest support and recognition for their noble work.

As we are starting to experience pockets of warm weather, let’s “think spring,” and get ready to celebrate another graduating class of business students in our undergraduate and graduate business programs.

Venky Venkatachalam, Ph.D.
Dean, Beacom School of Business