Dean Venky Venkatachalam, dean of Beacom School of BusinessI hope your new year is off to a great start! The extreme cold that is impacting most of the country has also descended upon Vermillion, but we are keeping spirits high with many terrific events at the Beacom School of Business for our students, faculty, staff and alumni.

We recently welcomed more than 20 top employers to campus for a Speed Networking event. This was a tremendous opportunity for employers to meet with the high-caliber students that we have at the Beacom School of Business. It was also great experience for our students to learn more about various industries, gain experience networking with business professionals, and make lifelong connections that can lead to internship and career opportunities in the future.

This month we look forward to the Inauguration of President Sheila Gestring as well as USD’s first online Giving Day. These big events will bring several distinguished guests and alumni to campus. We also look forward to the excitement and buzz that is sure to come with the online Giving Day. Both are an opportunity for everyone connected to USD to celebrate the accomplishments and future of our great institution.

One of our ongoing commitments to students, faculty and alumni is to host top-tier speakers for them to learn from and engage with. I am very excited to welcome several prominent leaders this semester including Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken, who will be speaking with our freshman business students about his success and future outlook for the high tech economy in Sioux Falls. In March we will host our Distinguished Speaker Series and welcome USD Alumna Andrea Thompson, U.S. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. In addition, we are thrilled to welcome financial journalist and author Sheelah Kolhatkar to campus for the Arthur A. Volk Symposium in April.

In January we received great news that our online MBA and MPA (Master of Professional Accountancy) were ranked among the top in the nation by the esteemed U.S. News & World Report. The MBA program ranked 20 spots higher than the previous year and was in the top 25% of all programs ranked. The MPA continues to be well recognized in a category that ranks the program among all non-MBA graduate business programs. We continue to invest in these programs and the hard-work and dedication of our faculty is being recognized for that investment.

The Beacom Executive Education program continues to flourish. We recently announced our spring line-up of courses that will be taught in Sioux Falls to business professionals throughout the region. The programs will focus on core business concepts to help professionals make strategic decisions that deliver results. For the first time, we are introducing a non-credit certificate, which will allow professionals to demonstrate a focused study and commitment to professional development by bundling the courses to receive the Essential Business Acumen Certificate.

Our AACSB re-accreditation has been a top priority for the last several months. In December we submitted our full-report to AACSB International. The report provides highlights as well as details of all our individual and collective accomplishments on several fronts—student success, curriculum innovations, faculty teaching, research, and service contributions, professional staff contribution, faculty and student engagement, Assurance of Learning (AoL), executive education, and economic development. At the end of February we will welcome the peer-review team of three sitting deans from external accredited business schools to our campus.

As I conclude this update, I also reflect on how fortunate we are in having an outstanding team of faculty and staff, they have been instrumental in developing the great story we were able to tell in our AACSB re-accreditation report. They work diligently to create student success, and prepare our students for challenges and opportunities they face in the future. They deserve our fullest support and recognition for their noble work.

I look forward to seeing many of you at the exciting events and celebrations around campus this spring!

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