Photo caption: UW-Eau Claire's College of Business will offer three new majors after the UW System Board of Regents approved the changes this week.
Business students at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire soon will have new opportunities to pursue degrees in three specialty areas that are expected to grow significantly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The UW System Board of Regents this week approved three new majors in entrepreneurship, human resource management, and operations and supply chain management.
The programs had been classified as areas of emphasis for management majors. All three now have been elevated to academic degree programs and will be available in the fall of 2022.
Elevating a program’s status from an emphasis to a major gives it more visibility and allows the College of Business to streamline courses that are more relevant to students’ specialties, says Dr. Brewer Doran, dean of the College of Business.
“Even though the programs will use existing courses, elevating to an independent major gives us more flexibility to really focus on that now,” Doran says.
With the new program designation, UW-Eau Claire can promote the already strong programs to incoming students in a “clearer, stronger manner so that students are able to find these majors as a career path sooner,” says Dr. Kristy Lauver, professor and chair of the management and marketing department.
“Having the programs as majors also may open up additional opportunities for students, and hopefully provide more recognition to the strength of the programs that already exist,” Lauver says. “Hopefully, the majors also will provide clearer communication to recruiters of the programs’ strengths so our students receive additional job opportunities. We hope that with additional opportunities, we are also able to continually strengthen the programs, putting them in a more competitive position.”
Doran sees growth potential for all three majors, especially as the region, country and world starts to put the COVID-19 pandemic behind them.
“Everyone in America now has a better understanding of just how critical the supply chain is to our ability to consume products and services when and where we want to,” Doran says. “We expect this will be a draw to students and that this area will be an area of robust growth.
“We also believe that more people will be interested in entrepreneurship as a way to have more control over their lives and as a way to learn how to develop all the ideas they came up with during the pandemic.”
Human resources professionals are in high demand as businesses work to manage the changing workplace, which includes balancing the remote work that became prevalent after COVID-19 with the more traditional in-person operations.
“Much of this design will fall on HR professionals as we navigate our collective way forward,” Doran says.
Bachelor of business administration in entrepreneurship
Students in the entrepreneurship program develop real-world entrepreneurial expertise and the business understanding necessary to one day start their own business or work in a growth-oriented industry. The new program comprises 60 credits of the 120-credit degree.
The program is expected to enroll about 65 students by 2025.
Two other UW System schools have entrepreneurship majors, but UW-Eau Claire will be the only program that offers students options for a major, minor or certificate.
Bachelor of business administration in human resource management
Graduates in the human resource management program will be prepared to launch careers in staffing, training and development, labor relations, compensation and benefits, employee relations, and organizational change and diversity. The new program comprises 60 credits of the 120-credit degree.
Projections indicate enrollment will be about 116 students by 2025.
Six UW System schools have human resource management majors. The UW-Eau Claire human resource management program already has distinguished itself on external certification exams. Since 2013, UW-Eau Claire students have had a group pass rate of 80%, higher than the national average of 67%.
Bachelor of business administration in operations and supply chain management
Graduates in the program will be prepared to launch careers in production and supply chain management across a variety of industries. Demand for the graduates has increased significantly with recent attention to the importance of production, distribution and logistics. The program comprises 60 of the 120-credit degree.
Projections indicate the program will have 82 students enrolled by 2025.
UW-Eau Claire’s Career Services First Destinations Survey reports that graduates who were in the existing operations and supply chain management emphasis experienced 100% job placement in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 surveys.
Seven UW System schools offer majors in operations and supply chain management. Of those, four majors are housed in Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business-accredited colleges of business. Based on current knowledge, only UW-Eau Claire requires the highly regarded American Production and Inventory Control Society/Certified in Planning and Inventory Management exam as a program requirement.