Dakota State’s College of Business and Information Systems offers unique approach to business world

June 17, 2019

This is a paid piece sponsored by Dakota State University

The tech-minded, real-world approach that helps define a Dakota State University education also is helping prepare business leaders of the future in the university’s College of Business and Information Systems.

The college includes three main areas: Business, Health Information Management and Computer Information Systems.

“Within these fields, students can focus on their area of interest and obtain certificates all the way up to doctoral degrees,” said Dr. Dorine Bennett, dean of the College of Business and Information Systems.

Technology is integrated throughout the student experience, with state-of-the-art labs embedded into the curriculum and learning taking place across laptops, workbooks and iPads.

“The technical skills our students have are noteworthy to employers,” Bennett said. “They’re able to tell their employers, ‘I’ve done that before.’ They also have strong problem-solving skills, which employers love. Our current students and graduates are willing to try anything. They’re fearless.”

Two DSU alumna agree.

Jessilyn Healy, a physician recruiter at Sanford Health, earned her business degree from DSU in 1993. She chose the college for its intimate and friendly campus and class sizes.

“The environment was incredibly welcoming, and the students were always friendly and respectful,” Healy said. “I appreciated the smaller class sizes because they resulted in more individual attention, increased participation and better communication between the instructor and students.”

She now uses her education in a role that includes marketing local physician practice, the Sioux Falls community and the Sanford Health organization to the physicians she is recruiting.

“My business degree provided me with a broad scope of business knowledge like human resources, finance, marketing, accounting, customer service and management. My education through DSU granted me skills that I’ve carried and continue to carry throughout my career.”

Ipsita Salim is much newer to the health care field but finds her degree equally helpful. The 2019 DSU graduate earned her degree in Health Information Administration and is now a coding education specialist with The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, or ACOG, a nonprofit physician membership organization in Washington, D.C. She works within the practice management and health economics department in the advocacy division.

“DSU taught me to be confident in my professional abilities and gave me the knowledge base to support those abilities,” Salim said.

“I know I can tackle any challenges I face because of the strong foundation DSU gave me. I truly feel like I’m utilizing my knowledge of health information management/administration to make positive impacts in the medical coding world, as well as in the realm of physician advocacy.”

Salim started working with ACOG before graduation, which is common at DSU, and said the university prepared her well for her current position.

“The HIA program focused on projects, practice cases and real-world scenarios. We were kept up to date with changes happening within the HIA industry, and the information was always relevant to the field. We practiced how to analyze data in Microsoft Excel, R and Tableau,” she said.

“It was great to have exposure to these applications, to see the different ways they could be used and how to use them within the industry.”

In addition to technology, the faculty distributes real-life advice to their students, from personal experience or guest speakers. Chris Olson, associate professor and coordinator for the Information Systems program, consistently uses this mechanism in his classroom.

“We use real-world scenarios that businesses have gone through or are currently experiencing,” he said. “It shows how technology can be utilized to solve business problems and/or create a competitive advantage.”

Many DSU business faculty have worked in their field before becoming professors, and the school consistently reaches out to professionals in the broader business community.

“We also invite guest speakers who are employed by businesses or involved with professional associations into our classes to speak with students,” said Dr. Jack Walters, professor of management and coordinator for the MBA program.

“Our programs have advisory boards as well, so once a month we meet with field professionals to discuss what they’re looking for in our students. We then incorporate their feedback into our curriculum.”

Students also are encouraged to pursue internships, connect with professionals in their field, enroll in competitions or conferences, conduct research and take note of any accreditations their programs offer.

“Our HIM students complete supervised professional practices and are encouraged to participate in the Health Information Management Systems Society, which will help them gain insight into health informatics and current topics of importance,” said Renae Spohn, director of HIM programs and coordinator for DSU’s Master of Science in Health Informatics and Information Management program.

“They are also required to join the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).”

Because DSU’s HIA program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management, or CAHIIM, there are benefits post-graduation, Salim added.

“This ensures that students (like me) can take the necessary AHIMA certification exams once they graduate from the program. Other colleges offer degrees in HIA, but they aren’t CAHIIM accredited.”

In addition to the CAHIIM accreditation, the College of Business and Information Systems also is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. Dakota State also received universitywide accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission.

“Our accreditations show that our programs have met standards that have been established by the profession for education in that area,” Bennett said. “They look at the curriculum of our business programs to ensure that it is current and relevant, but that it meets the needs of students and employers.”

DSU graduates of the College of Business and Information Systems land a broad range of jobs after graduation, including roles as a marketing director, accountant, application developer, project manager, business analyst and health care privacy officer. Others go on to start their own business.

And hiring DSU students before they even graduate is possible, too. The College of Business and Information Systems offers multiple online programs, which gives students the ability to finish their education while jump-starting their career.

“Our graduates are well trained,” Walters said.

“They know their academic disciplines and possess useful knowledge about how their disciplines relate to information technology within the business world. They are ambitious, success-oriented and committed to making a real contribution.”

For information, please visit the College of Business and Information Systems web page.

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Dakota State’s College of Business and Information Systems offers unique approach to business world

The tech-minded, real-world approach that helps define a Dakota State University education also is helping prepare business leaders of the future in the university’s College of Business and Information Systems.

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