All posts by mclemore

Yell Retires After 40 Years of Service

In the summer of 1976, Gerald Ford was president, Apple Computer Company was just getting started, a gallon of gas cost 59 cents, and Susan Imes Yell was a rising senior at Fayetteville High School. She was also a new part time staff member at the School of Law’s Admissions Office. She worked half a day and, in the fall, went to school half a day.

Little did Yell know that this part time job would lead to a 40-year journey at the University of Arkansas. She worked for the School of Law for five years, then joined the Department of Economics and the International Business Studies program, eventually becoming the administrative support supervisor for the economics department at the College of Business Administration, as it was known at the time.

From 1976 to 2016, Yell has seen many changes at the university, especially with technology and its influence on student engagement.

“Probably the biggest change was the introduction of computers. Our department had the first one in the college,” said Yell. “It required the use of floppy disks. The program was on one disk, spell check was on another disk, etc. That first computer was stolen, along with the printer and everything that went with it, when several people propped doors open from the second floor and went through the ceiling tiles into the main office. It took a while to get a replacement, since it was not covered by insurance. And, no one ever said you need to back up your work. Everything was lost and to my knowledge, the culprits were never apprehended.”

“Always do the right thing, no matter what.  And, if you see an injustice, do something about it.”

Per Yell, technology has also changed the way staff members interact with students. With more centralized registration and other electronic processes, students spend less time engaging staff and faculty.

“When I first started, we would sit in the halls and hand out printed cards for registration.  When you ran out of cards, the class was full.  The students would then take their packets to the Union, to stand in a huge, long line to register,” said Yell.  “Later, the U of A used the Hog Call system and students would register on the phone.  We had to process overrides using this system.  It would literally take weeks.  We were very busy with students then.  Now, with centralized advising and everything online, we don’t have much student interaction, except with our graduate students.”

Susan Yell
Susan’s office features hundreds of postcards from around the world sent by students and faculty.

Yet Yell does interact with students as evidenced by the hundreds of post cards adorning her office walls. Each day she works surrounded by post cards sent to her from around the world from students and faculty who have studied and/or traveled abroad. She has collected them since the ’80s.

She values the economics faculty and is impressed with their research and how much they care about their students. While she thinks they are one of the best things about the college, she has learned to say no when it comes to dissertations.

“Right after I first started working in business administration, one of my new faculty asked me to type his dissertation. Now, if you have ever seen an economics dissertation, you might know that it is FULL of equations. He showed me the first chapter, which was mostly text, so I agreed to type it for him,” said Yell. “Over the duration of my first pregnancy, I worked on it using a manual typewriter.  It required using three different elements. So, when you would type text that took one element, an equation, one or two other elements. Every time there were any changes from his advisor, the entire chapter would have to be retyped, since there were strict rules about margins, etc.  We joked whether I would finish the dissertation first, or would have my daughter first.  I don’t even remember who ‘won.’ I can laugh about it now, but it wasn’t very funny then!”

“I also cherish my WOW friends…a group of ladies…Women of Walton…with whom I have remained friends for years and years…and we still have lunch at least once a week.”

While the faculty and students are one of the best things about work, Yell has experienced significant obstacles as well.

“My biggest challenge occurred when my department chair suffered a catastrophic accident,” said Yell. “It completely changed the face of the department and my position.  For a short time, I was in charge of the department.  It was a very difficult time.”

Throughout the years, Yell has served on numerous committees for the college and has raised funds for local nonprofits. She is the departmental representative for United Way and has helped raise money for the American Diabetes Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters, University of Arkansas Staff Senate Scholarship fund, Northwest Arkansas Food Bank and Full Circle Campus Food Pantry among others. She was a member of the Walton College team on the Habitat for Humanity the House That Jane Built project.

Yell has represented Walton College at the university level as a staff senator, staff senate secretary, staff senate scholarship committee, by-laws committee, elections committee, internal affairs committee, Employee of the Year for the university and Employee of the Quarter for Walton College.

Yell was nominated for the Arkansas State Employees Association Outstanding State Employee Award in 2005 and 2010 and was chosen as a finalist in 2010. In 2006, the Department of Economics faculty established the Susan Imes Yell Staff Senate Scholarship in her honor. This scholarship was created to help promote and encourage staff development through higher education.

After 40 years of service, Yell retired from her job in December 2016. She is married to Garlen and has two daughters, Erin, who teaches French at Springdale High School, and Sara, who is the manager of special programs in the Walton College Career Center. In retirement, she plans to spend more time with her family and her young grandchildren, Nora and Silas.

Enactus Partners with the American Legion to Support Community Programs

Enactus, a student-led entrepreneurial organization at the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, is partnering with the Shelton Tucker Craft American Legion Post #27 in Fayetteville to remodel the facility, revitalize its business operations and increase its membership.

The Enactus team will develop a sustainable business model to allow American Legion members to refocus on community outreach and education. The post operates a volunteer-staffed bar and restaurant to fund outreach and social programs that educate young people about democracy and military service and provide veterans and their families with social opportunities, career skills and other support.

The Enactus team is also developing a membership and marketing campaign to recruit members from the Gulf War, Iraqi Freedom, Desert Storm and Afghanistan conflicts to increase membership at the post. The student team created a Go Fund Me site  to support these initiatives. Enactus plans to host an official grand reopening of the post in July 2019 to coincide with the Post’s centennial celebration.

“I was inspired by the members of this American Legion Post,” said Pamela Styles, associate director of outreach for the Center for Retailing Excellence and Walton Fellow for the University of Arkansas Enactus team. “The Enactus students and I were privileged to attend their November membership meeting. I was in awe of their tremendous sense of duty to this country and to their brothers in arms. Being a witness to the reverence with which they conducted the MIA ceremony dedicated to those still missing but not forgotten, the pledge of allegiance, a prayer, and the reading of the preamble to the Constitution touched me deeply. These men and women have given the ultimate in service and continue to serve the community in which they live.”

About the Shelton Tucker Craft American Legion Post #27: The Shelton Tucker Craft American Legion Post 27 was chartered July 31, 1919. Its name honors three local servicemen, Martin Lynn Shelton, William Marion Tucker and Clarence B. Craft. The post conducts numerous programs that serve the community and fellow veterans and their families. It supports more youth attendance to American Legion Boys State and American Legion Auxiliary Girls State, which highlight government and leadership skills, each year than any other post in Arkansas.

About the Center for Retailing Excellence: The Center for Retailing Excellence was established in the Walton College in 1998 with a portion of the $50 million endowment from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation. The center focuses on developing future leaders and serves as a bridge between academics and the retail industry.

Walton College Institute Hosts IT Showcase

What is IT?

The Information Technology Research Institute in the Sam M. Walton College of Business will help answer this question by hosting an Information Technology Showcase where current University of Arkansas students can learn about the field, meet information technology leaders and be entered to win lunch with executives. The event is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 31, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Willard J. Walker Hall atrium. All students are welcome.

Tables will feature professionals by job type. Representatives from Arvest, Teradata, Walmart and others will be on hand to answer questions about information technology careers such as business analyst, IT manager, database administrator, data analyst, programmer, developer or information security analyst. Professionals will answer questions regarding which degrees are needed for various careers.

Students are encouraged to visit all the tables, get an IT Showcase card stamped and be entered for a chance to win lunch with executives. Winners will be announced on the institute’s Facebook page and contacted via email.

No RSVP is required. IT Showcase cards must be complete to be entered for the drawing. For more information, contact Elizabeth McCorcle at 479-575-4261 or at emccorcle@walton.uark.edu.

Institute Accepting Applications for Computing Award

The Information Technology Research Institute at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, an Academic Alliance member of the National Center for Women & Information Technology, is accepting applications from female high school students for the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing.

2015-2016 Aspiration in Computing Award winners.
Eric Bradford, managing director of the ITRI, stands with the 2015-2016 Arkansas and Northeastern Oklahoma Affiliate Aspiration in Computing Award winners.

The National Center for Women & Information Technology is a non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging women’s participation in the field of technology. The award honors high school women who are active and interested in computing and technology and encourages them to pursue their passions.

Applicants are entered into both the affiliate and national competitions. Affiliate award winners receive an plaque for themselves and their school, scholarship funds if they attend the University of Arkansas and major in information systems or computer science computer engineering, and internship and networking opportunities.

To be eligible, applicants must be female students in grades 9 through 12, must attend a high school in the United States, its territories or military bases, hold a U.S. tax identification or Social Security number, and have no familial relationships with employees, contractors or board members of the National Center for Women & Information Technology.

The application deadline is Nov. 7. To learn more and apply, visit http://itri.uark.edu/ncwit_aspiration_in_computing.php

Awardeees will be recognized Tuesday, April 11, as part of the 2017 Women in Information Technology Conference.

To find out information about the national program, visit http://bit.ly/AiCHSAward.

The Information Technology Research Institute is an interdisciplinary unit for research within the Walton College. The mission of the center is to advance the state of research and practice in the development and use of information technology for enhancing the performance of individuals and organizations; provide a forum for multi-disciplinary work on issues related to information technology; promote student interest in the study of information technology; and facilitate the exchange of information between the academic and business communities.

Koru Mindfulness Course to be Offered at Walton College

With increasing student interest in Koru Mindfulness, a second course will be offered this fall at the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. Koru Mindfulness is a four-week course designed for teaching mindfulness, meditation and stress management to college students.

Dan Harris, director, Tyson Center for Faith and Spirituality in the Workplace at the Walton College
Dan Harris, director, Tyson Center for Faith and Spirituality in the Workplace at the Walton College

“As this program continues to spark interest from students, we have decided to offer a second course this fall,” said Dan Harris, Koru instructor and director of the Tyson Center for Faith and Spirituality in the Workplace at the Walton College. “Our hope is this second class is more conveniently located for students who spend most of their time on this side of campus.”

Koru Mindfulness is taught over four weeks in 75-minute classes. Koru is designed for those with all mindfulness experience levels. The four-week course starts Thursday, Oct. 13, at 5 p.m. in WCOB 405, and continues every Thursday until Nov. 3.

Koru Mindfulness
Find less stress through Koru Mindfulness.

This free course, which is open to all students, has shown to have significant benefits on sleep, perceived stress, mindfulness and self-compassion.

“Koru Mindfulness helps put things in perspective so that you can consciously make an effort to think positively and accurately,” said Dr. Ed Mink, director of Wellness and Health Promotion at the Pat Walker Health Center. “This course will help you be aware of the subtleness of life and help you start living a heart-centered life focusing on the NOW.”

Benefits of the Koru Mindfulness course include:

  • feeling less stressed
  • staying calm and worrying less
  • being more mindful
  • sleeping better
  • using less self-judgment

To register for the upcoming Koru Mindfulness class or for more information, email razmind@walton.uark.edu.

For more information about Koru Mindfulness, go to korumindfulness.org.

Information Technology Students Receive Insight from Industry Executives

The Information Technology Research Institute, an outreach center at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, hosted executive forums on Sept. 14-15 for high school and college students interested in the field of information technology.

Information technology executives from Tyson Foods Inc., the state of Arkansas’ Department of Information Systems, Walmart, Arvest Bank Operations, Acxiom, ConocoPhillips, FedEx, J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc., Arkansas BlueCross BlueShield, Teradata and Movista were on hand to answer questions about appropriate academic classes, desired skills and information technology trends and to offer career tips.

Rajiv Sabherwal moderates the Executive Forum.
Rajiv Sabherwal, chair of the information systems department, moderated the technology panel while Eric Bradford, managing director of ITRI, managed the event.

More than 250 high school students from across Arkansas attended the forum on Sept. 15. Their questions addressed issues ranging from Windows 10 deployment, data breaches, hiring tips and developing information technology talent. Panelists provided multiple responses, each from their unique perspective. View this event at http://bit.ly/2dtpGAk. The forum was moderated by Rajiv Sabherwal, chair of the Walton College Department of Information Systems.

Some 80 University of Arkansas students attended the forum on Sept. 14.  Susan Bristow, clinical assistant professor of the information systems department, moderated the question and answer session. Students inquired about academic studies, interview preparation and career options. After responding to questions, members of the panel talked to students individually.

The Information Technology Research Institute is committed to promoting student interest in the study of information technology and facilitating the interaction between potential employees and its board of advisers. The executive forums for high school students and college students are just two events the institute hosts to accomplish this goal.

To learn more about the Information Technology Research Institute, visit itri.uark.edu.

Institute Hosts IT Executive Forum for Students

The Information Technology Research Institute will present an IT Executive Forum for college students Wednesday, Sept. 14, at 3 p.m. in the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Enterprise Development auditorium at the Sam M. Walton College of Business.

During the event, students can ask seasoned information technology professionals questions regarding careers, academic guidance and skills needed in the field of technology. Executives from Walmart, J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc., Tyson Foods, Acxiom, FedEx, Hewlett Packard and more will be on hand to share their experience and advice regarding information technology.

The event is open to all University of Arkansas students.

Seating is limited to 300 students. Register today. For more information, visit the Information Technology Research Institute.