Jane Wayland: Training the Future

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Feb. 25, 2013 12:00 am  

Jane Wayland (Photo by Jason Burt)

As dean, Wayland is in charge of the whole college of business, including its Arkansas Small Business & Technology Development Center and Institute for Economic Advancement divisions. The college has seven undergraduate degrees and four post-baccalaureate certificate programs.

She also maintains the college’s accreditation with the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

“We do a lot of programming. A lot of what we do is development work,” she said, using the academic euphemism for fundraising. “I’m supposed to be outside of the college meeting people. I serve on several boards. It is a lot of work. I have very much a team leadership approach. There are two associate deans and we work together.”

She said UALR’s business school’s strengths included its focus on students and its faculty who maintain skill in external fields. She said the college is good at addressing individual student needs.

One challenge, she said, is keeping that individual focus in an increasingly online environment. “I think it can be done,” she said.

She is also helping faculty integrate online courses with traditional ones. “The online environment is expanding,” she said.

“We have to adapt quality teaching to that. We’re committed to quality teaching online.”

She said another challenge increasing the number of Arkansans with undergraduate degrees.

“The state has a low number of people who have a B.S. degree,” she said. “There’s a lot of work for us to do. We have to determine what the skills are that employers want, and we must educate students for those skills. Not just specific skills like accounting rules, but they have to be able to critically think and communicate and have a broad background in liberal arts.”

Professors also need to change, she said, to be ready to help students at almost any hour.

“We provide tools when students need it,” she said. “Maybe it’s 10 at night, or 5 in the morning; learning is almost 24/7. I think that presents a challenge to faculty.”

Finally, Wayland also has to deal with funding issues.



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