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August 26, 2013

Hilton returns to classroom full-time; Pratt named interim chair

Thomas HiltonDr. Thomas Hilton, professor of information systems and chair of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Department of Information Systems, has stepped down from his administrative position to return to the classroom on a full-time basis. Dr. Jean Pratt, associate professor, will replace Hilton as the interim chair of the Information Systems Department.  

 “I want to thank Tom for his years of service as chair and for the fine leadership he has provided to the department and the profession,” said College of Business Dean Diane Hoadley.

As chair, Hilton oversaw the activities of six faculty and instructional academic staff members. The department, which has more than 250 undergraduate students in its major, minor and certificate programs, is one of the largest undergraduate IS programs in the Midwest.

Under Hilton’s leadership, the department changed its name and revamped its academic programs in 2006 to serve more students and better meet the needs of the growing number of businesses that want to hire its graduates. These changes included a revised major which gave student the option of completing two different tracks in IS: the business analysis emphasis which concentrates on the managerial aspects of IS and prepares students for careers in system design, project management, security policy development, and user relations; and the more technical systems development emphasis, which prepares students for careers in software engineering, system management, database administration, and web development. The IS minor was also revised and a new IS certificate program was added to the department’s program offerings.

Other accomplishments during Hilton’s tenure included the following:

  • Establishing a student chapter of the Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP) on the UW-Eau Claire campus.
  • Increasing the number of department scholarships from two to eight.
  • Expanding the number of members on the department’s Industry Advisory Committee and recasting its role to give the group more influence on campus.
  • Assisting with the implementation of a college-wide laptop requirement which made virtually every classroom in Schneider Hall a lab. Hilton also raised money to create a special fund to purchase laptops for economically disadvantaged IS majors who could not afford to purchase their own laptop.
  • Assessing the quality of the IS program by administrating the Information Systems Analyst Exam to graduating IS seniors. Colleges and universities use this assessment approach to evaluate students, educational program outcomes and benchmark their students against the database of exam takers. The exam is administered jointly by the Center for Computing Education Research, a part of the Institute for the Certification of Computing Professionals.
  • Developing the design for the innovative Cargill Collaboration Center with UW-Eau Claire faculty members Dr. Dawna Drum and Dr. Matt Germonprez.
  • Championing the implementation of SAP content in the IS curriculum.

Hilton received his BA and PhD from Brigham Young University. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Information systems strategic planning, project management  and information assurance and does research and publishes papers on topics related to information systems ethics, information systems security , data networks, and data modeling.  He was the recipient of the Bauman Award for Excellence awarded by the International Association of Computer Information Systems (2003) and the UW-Eau Claire Excellence in Service Learning as Faculty/Academic Staff Member (2005).

Dr. Jean Pratt named interim department chair

Jean A. PrattDean Diane Hoadley has appointed Dr. Jean Pratt, associate professor of information systems, as the interim chair of the Department of Information Systems. In addition to her administrative responsibilities, Pratt will continue to teach the department’s Systems Analysis and Design, and Database Management courses.

Pratt holds a bachelor degree from the University of Idaho and master and Ph.D. degrees from Utah State. She was the recipient of the UW-Eau Claire Excellence in Service Learning as a Faculty/Academic Staff Member award (2011), and the UW-Eau Claire Excellence in Advising award (2012). Pratt has also served as president of the International Association for Computer Information Systems, a professional organization with over 800 members in 23 countries.

Pratt leads the department in terms of scholarly research published in higher-quality journals as well as cross-disciplinary research with other fields. Past and ongoing research streams include bibliometrics, interface design, and pedagogy. Her newest research stream is health care information systems. Based on research and input from the Information Systems Industry Advisory Committee, Pratt continually revises course curricula. Her classes are active-learning classes.

In addition to teaching and research, Pratt also serves the university as chair of the University Senate committee on Academic Policies, which was heavily involved in the development of the new liberal education framework currently being implemented. She has also contributed to the chancellor’s rapid action task force on economic development, served as a co-facilitator on a university initiative to promote high-impact practices, and served on the original committee to promote and vet domestic intercultural immersion experiences. Pratt has also led two study-abroad student groups to China.

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