Acxiom Corporation announced with the University of Central Arkansas College of Business Tuesday a pledge of $150,000 from the company to supplement teacher salaries.
Five faculty members in the Department of Management Information Systems will receive up to $37,500 per year for four years with the gift.
The five teachers work closely with Acxiom to provide camps for students, to update the program’s curriculum and on joint research projects, said Dr. Mike Casey, interim dean of the college.
The professors are: Dr. Ron McGaughey, Dr. Summer Bartczak, Dr. Ken Griffin, Dr. Jim Downey and Dr. Kaye McKinzie.
The five are said to be the faculty members who have worked to align the MIS curriculum with the skills set required to meet the technology jobs market need, including the traits Acxiom desires in workers.
Tom Courtway, UCA president, said the college is the “No. 1 supplier” of talent for Acxiom.
The pledge announced at a press conference in the lobby of the college of business is an important step, Courtway said, in retaining high quality staff members.
According to UCA, McGaughey founded the Acxiom/IT Careers Camp that encourages bright Arkansas high school students to select a path of study in IT or MIS fields.
Dr. Bartczak and Dr. Downey currently oversee the program.
Dr. McKinzie has partnered with Acxiom in working on a project management course and business analytics.
Dr. Griffin has been involved in the administrative aspects of all of these initiatives, according to the school.
Dr. Griffin, chair of the MIS department, said the gift has energized the faculty.
“Acxiom’s generosity will allow for professional development of the faculty in areas that will benefit our stakeholders,” he said. “The gift cements a continuing relationship with Acxiom that will improve the quality of our MIS curriculum and will benefit both their company and our graduates.”
There are just over 100 students in the MIS program this semester, Casey said.
About one year ago, Acxiom gave $200,000 to UCA’s Department of Computer Science to underwrite the hiring of a new tenure-track faculty member in that department.
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