Interview with Dr. Wayland the Stephen Harrow Smith Dean of Business at the University of Arkansas

 Donald W. Reynolds Center for Business and Economic Development
Donald W. Reynolds Center for Business and Economic Development

Dr. Jane P. Wayland, serves as the Stephen Harrow Smith Dean of Business at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She also served as Interim Dean of the College for two years, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, and Chair of the Marketing and Advertising Department. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and MBA at the University of Southern Mississippi and a Ph.D. in Marketing at the University of North Texas in 1989.

Prior to moving to Little Rock, Dr. Wayland taught for sixteen years at Eastern Illinois University. She attained full professor and served as MBA Coordinator, Associate Chair, and Chair of the School of Business. She was named the 1998 School of Business Distinguished Professor Award, Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences presented in recognition of the professor that demonstrates distinguished teaching, research, and service. Her research has centered on marketing education, the ADA, and teen shopping behavior. Her most recent research has been in women philanthropy and marketing.

Dr. Wayland currently serves on the board of Economics Arkansas, is a founding member of the College of Business AME Giving Circle, serves on the Delta Trust Women’s Advisory Committee, SMEI Board, and is a member of the Arkansas Women’s Leadership Forum.

1.How did you get started in your career as a Business Dean?

I began as a coordinator for the MBA program and determined that I enjoyed being and administrator.  I moved to various positions such as department chair, associate dean, and then dean.

2.What do you think are some of the leadership qualities an effective Business Dean should have?

The ability to work as a team within the organization and partner with others external to the organization.  Business deans need to hire good people and allow them to do their jobs.  Today’s business deans must be in the community building relationships for the benefit of students and faculty.

3.Business is constantly changing, what types of things is your school doing to make sure students are learning the most updated business information?

We use our College Advisory Councils, alumni, and other individuals in the business community to provide information on our curriculum.  These much valued relationships have assisted in developing a new curriculum in data analytics and a major revision of our MBA program.

Dr. Jane Wayland the Stephen Harrow Smith Dean of Business at the University of Arkansas
Dr. Jane Wayland the Stephen Harrow Smith Dean of Business at the University of Arkansas

4.Faculty play a critical role in the development of your student’s learning and in helping build their business competencies. What type of things are your faculty involved in and doing that makes their classroom unique to the student’s learning experience?

At our college, we emphasize applied learning and require a high impact learning experience of all incoming students.  Faculty work with businesses in the community and through the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Center to provide students this unique learning environment.

5.What type of qualifications and experiences do your faculty bring to the class? How do you make sure they stay updated in their area of expertise and field of study?

Many of our faculty worked in industry before becoming a professor. They have an excellent understanding of the workplace. Faculty update their knowledge through research, class preparation, and involvement with their academic discipline associations.

6.Do your students have input on faculty promotion, award and recognition program? If so, can you expand on this and provide examples?

Students have the opportunity to evaluate faculty for every class they are enrolled. These evaluations are part of an annual evaluation culminating with the tenure decision.  Students are not asked to participate outside of the class evaluations.

7.MBA degree are still in high demand, but the competition is larger than ever. How does your degree program differ from other schools?

The MBA was revised based on the input from alumni, current students, and most importantly the business community.  Business leaders thought that the soft skills such as communication, team work, critical thinking, and professional development were very important.  The MBA was revised to create a program that allows for faster time to degree and introduce the strategic business model at the beginning of the program for a more integrated learning experience.  In addition, the soft skills are taught through a “boot camp” where students are measured on each skill. They are coached throughout the program and evaluated again at the end of the program.  Concentrations are available for students that want to specialize in addition to the MBA.

The MBA program is also taught in a weekend format. Students attend one Saturday a month with the rest of the program online.

8. Almost every university is going online or trying to offer online degree programs. What is your business school doing in the online space and how do you set yourself apart?

We have had a business management degree online for over ten years and our faculty continually update their classes as the technology improves.  UALR created a new UALR-online program using a one price model for students that want to study exclusively online. Our management degree is part of that program.  The price is slightly lower than our regular tuition.  Many of our students want to do both online and face-to-face courses.  Hybrid models of going once a week and working online the next week is becoming the most popular format for our students.

9. What do you think are some of the biggest challenges that business schools are facing now and what his your school doing to confront them?

Funding sources, enrollment, and retention are some of the biggest challenges.  Students have many choices and finding the right mix of programs and delivery formats is crucial.  Our college is emphasizing career readiness which appeals to both our students, employers, and donors. All students are now required to complete a co-curricular program that includes resume development, interviewing skills, dress for success, etiquette lunches in addition to service learning, applied learning experiences, and ethics programming.

10. We learned a great deal about you and your school. If I was a potential student or employer that was stuck between choosing two different business programs, what other things would you want me to know about your degree and school to help with my selection?

Our emphasis on applied experiences and career readiness in addition to the classroom learning sets the college apart.  You may major in business anywhere, but at the UALR College of Business you will have many opportunities to work with the business community, be involved in various competitions (we have national winners), and be ready to begin your career.