There may be no better example of a Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business goal being executed on than by the student chapter of the Association of Information Systems that is housed in the Department of Management.
The Clemson Student AIS Chapter is a textbook example of Dean Wendy York’s objective of instilling an interdisciplinary mindset across all College disciplines. The chapter’s blend of business management and computer science students is exposing the two groups to an appreciation for their different skill sets.
That collaboration has also resulted in national recognition from the Association of Information Systems, which bestowed two awards on the Clemson chapter for its efforts in the 2019-20 academic year.
The chapter was cited for Outstanding Membership Activities and for Outstanding Communications by the Association for Information Systems, the global professional organization that caters to individuals and organizations that lead research, teaching, practice and the study of information systems.
The Outstanding Membership Activities award is given to a chapter for its excellence in recruiting members and providing member services. Outstanding Communications recognition goes to a chapter that communicates at a high level with its stakeholders through websites, meetings, email and other media.
“The accomplishments of our chapter are 100 percent driven by the students, whose ambition and drive are responsible for this chapter’s first-ever national recognition,” said John Tripp, assistant professor of Management and chapter advisor. “This was a self-starting group of students who were engaged and on top of everything necessary to achieve these awards. My job has been to help them focus their goals and help with a little project management, but the work is all theirs.”
The Student AIS Chapter is a cross-section of business and computer science majors. In addition to furthering the study, application and advancement of information systems, Clemson’s student chapter provides career enhancement, professional networking opportunities and practical experience in problem solving through AIS team competitions.
Tripp, who is familiar with AIS chapters at other universities, said the interdisciplinary blend of students in the Clemson chapter is not typical and aligns with the College’s goal of creating a learning environment similar to what students will experience in their careers.
“Our student chapter is rather unique in that it brings together technical centric and business centric students, creating an environment that mimics what they will experience in their future workplaces,” Tripp said. “This cross-section of students lends itself to an interesting cross-pollination of ideas that benefit both groups of students.”
Tristan Whaley ’20 and David DeJesus were 2019-20 president and vice president, respectively, of the Clemson chapter. This academic year, DeJesus, a computer science major is joined as co-president by Mark Trotter, a business management major, in directing the 43-member chapter’s efforts. Other officers include, Manu Kolluru, marketing coordinator and Allison VanOsdol, treasurer.
According to Mark, the chapter’s student make-up resembles what they will experience in the workplace and provides them an appreciation for different skill sets.
“The beauty of AIS is that it fosters collaboration between students in business and computer science,” Mark said. “The resulting collaboration allows us to develop a more diverse skillset and knowledge base through working on projects with students who have a wide variety of skills.”
Department of Management chair Craig Wallace said involvement in the AIS chapter also helps create student awareness on the importance of analytics in business decision making.
“There are a lot of great benefits stemming from student involvement in our AIS Chapter – one of which is how it opens students’ eyes to the criticality of business analytics in 21st century business,” Wallace said. “Organizations need employees who know how business is conducted, but those same employees also must be able to understand how to gain and utilize data in making business decisions. Our AIS chapter is exposing business- and technical-centric students to each other’s skillsets and teaching them an understanding of how both of those skills will be important in their career endeavors.”
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