Week of July 9, 2001


Study examines unemployment rate in Southeast Missouri

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., July 6, 2001 - A quarterly economic outlook report for the U.S. economy and Southeast Missouri indicates a recession is unlikely but possible if energy prices rise more than expected.

These are the results of a study conducted by the Southeast Missouri State University Center for Economic and Business Research, headed by Dr. Bruce Domazlicky, Southeast professor of economics. The Center is based in the Donald L. Harrison College of Business at Southeast Missouri State University.

According to the report, the economy is not in a recession, but the growth rate of the GDP has slowed considerably. But overall, the economy should pick up some steam in the last half of the year, the report says.

Today’s report also includes unemployment rates for Southeast Missouri counties. Wayne County’s unemployment was the worst with a rate over 10 percent. Reynolds, Washington, Mississippi, Pemiscot, Dent, Iron, Madison and New Madrid all had rates of 7.5 percent or higher. The forecast is for unemployment to fall in these counties. Cape Girardeau County’s unemployment rate remains very low at 3.3 percent.

Overall, the report indicates that Southeast Missouri had a 1.1 percentage point rise in the region’s unemployment rate. Employment is expected to decline slightly in the second quarter before recovering in the last half of 2001, the report says.

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., June 22, 2001 - Enrollment in Southeast Missouri State University’s Donald L. Harrison College of Business Master of Business Administration (MBA) program continues to rise.

The MBA degree program has grown nearly 32 percent annually for the past five years. From 1996-2000, the number of enrolled students increased from 32 to 96, a growth of 300 percent. Since 1996, a total of 178 graduate students have enrolled in the University’s MBA program.

The MBA program achieved initial accreditation by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB-International) in December. The AACSB-International is the premier accrediting agency and service organization for business schools worldwide.

The University’s MBA program develops the knowledge base, management skills, and personal attributes that allow professional advancement and executive leadership within organizations. The program is designed to expose students to contemporary management thought and practice, contributing to continued effectiveness and professional advancement.

Dr. Gerald McDougall, dean of the Donald L. Harrison College of Business, says the MBA program must be of high quality to retain and grow existing businesses, as well as attract new businesses to the region.

“The high qualities of the MBA program are evidenced in the enrollment growth and AACSB accreditation,” McDougall says. “The latter is a designation that places the Harrison College of Business among the most respected business programs worldwide. The enrollment history for the MBA program shows that it is aligned with regional needs.”

The AACSB-International commended Southeast for its student body diversity. Of the 178 students enrolled in the MBA program since 1996, females represent 45 percent, minorities represent 21 percent and international students represent 30 percent. Currently, 39 International students from 18 foreign countries are enrolled in the program.

Further, the percentage of enrolled MBA students having an undergraduate business degree from Southeast is 50 percent. Overall, 59 percent of enrolled MBA students have an undergraduate degree from Southeast.

According to Dr. Kenneth Heischmidt, director of graduate programs in business, the diversity of students in the program speaks of the program’s excellence. “Students in the MBA program come from a number of different educational backgrounds, different states, even different countries,” says Heischmidt. “That exemplifies the quality of the MBA program and expounds on workplace diversity, whether educational or cultural.”

Forty-five MBA degrees have been awarded since 1998, with 26 degrees being awarded in 2000.

Dwain Hahs, senior vice president and president of Global Vision Care, Bausch and Lomb, says the MBA “is essential in order to get hired and advance to upper-managerial position with many multinational corporations.”

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., July 6, 2001 -The Management Information Systems (MIS) program in the Donald L. Harrison College of Business at Southeast Missouri State University surpassed expectations by enrolling 100 students last year, nearly tripling the program’s first-year enrollment projection.

The Donald L. Harrison College of Business’ Department of Management projected that enrollment in the program’s first year would be 35 students, with an increase to 75 students during its second year. Although officially beginning fall 2001, the MIS program began enrolling students during the spring 2000 semester.

MIS is the application of information technology to organizational and managerial needs. The MIS major provides students with a foundation in all functional areas of business and a foundation in computing technologies that enable graduates to pursue both technical and managerial careers. Students develop hands-on skills and experience by creating effective business applications of information technology to support business organizations.

MIS professionals utilize their business-based backgrounds in working with managers and users to specify technology needs that benefit an organization. MIS professionals write programs to codify technology and later manage those programs. In addition, MIS professionals design and administer databases and data warehouses, analyze and implement enterprise-wide solutions to information problems, manage telecommunications efforts and provide project management skills and technical writing, if needed.

Dr. Ike Ehie, chair of the Department of Management and MIS program, contends that one reason for the remarkable enrollment is industry factors. “Right now, market demand for MIS majors is very strong,” Ehie said. “Industry-wide, companies lack qualified MIS professionals. Because of that, the average salary for entry-level positions is between $43,000-$45,000.”

Dr. Gerald McDougall, dean of the Donald L. Harrison College of Business, says that in today’s technology-driven world, it is especially important that students have access to the technical business degrees that determine long-term competitiveness.

“Because of fast-changing computer technology and applications, regional businesses increasingly demand technically trained individuals who understand business processes,” McDougall says. “The immediate demand for the MIS program reflects the fruits of the faculty’s effort and the benefits the regional business community can expect when these first 100 students and those that follow complete their MIS degree.”

According to Ehie, the U.S. Department of Education estimates that by 2006, there will be an industry-wide shortage of 936,000 MIS graduates. Currently, MIS is the second fastest growing major among college students nationwide.

Equally influential in the program’s enrollment success, Ehie says, is the MIS curriculum. “The MIS program has a very strong curriculum. We asked various Fortune 500 companies to help us develop a curriculum that enables MIS majors to gain specific skills and knowledge and to enter the marketplace immediately,” Ehie said. “These companies identified the most important skills, knowledge and aspects of information technology that a MIS major must learn. That information was instrumental in designing the program’s curriculum.”

The MIS program began as a research project studying the demand for a MIS program. The first phase of the project was to survey high school students, community college students and Southeast students to determine interest in such a program. Those students surveyed had an overwhelming interest in such a program, Ehie said.

Next, the College of Business surveyed Fortune 500 companies about MIS graduates and what a MIS program needed. These companies responded with feedback illustrating what was expected and delineating what was needed from a MIS program and MIS graduate.

Once interest was established and expectations and needs outlined, the College of Business examined the nation’s top MIS programs to construct the most appropriate curriculum for regional businesses. Outside consultants and previously surveyed companies were asked to review the curriculum and provide feedback to insure the college was responsive to industry needs. The result is an MIS program tailored to students who wish to pursue careers in either a large corporate setting or in small-to-medium sized firms.

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., July 6, 2001 - On Aug. 3, Southeast Missouri State University will welcome a group of 21 students from Aichi University in Japan to participate in its Intensive English Program.

Each student will be housed with an area host family Aug. 3-31. Host families converse with their students in English and share family time. Six Japanese students are still in need of a host family.

Hosting a Japanese student has been very rewarding for many families in the area. The Zeilinger family from Cape Girardeau has hosted students from Aichi University for three years now. Starting out as a “Friendship Family” in 1996, the Zeilingers became a “Host Family” in 1999. Hosting has strengthened their family. You get to learn about the student’s culture as well as learn more about this area because you show them all of the sights, the Zeilingers have said.

“It is like getting another daughter or son,” said Rhonda Zeilinger. “You include them in everything you do.”

The students are willing to try anything according to Mrs. Zeilinger. She said it is amazing to see them try and learn new things, as well as, to witness your family seeing and trying new things. For instance, she said, many of the students want to cook you meals from their country.

Currently, the Zeilingers have Ikumi Tsunomiya, an 18-year-old student from Aichi University living with them. Mrs. Zeilinger says, “You don’t know what you are missing. These students give so much.”

Bobby and Cori McGee of Cape Girardeau are new to the host program. They housed their first student, Kasumi Tamura, beginning May 10 of this year. Kasumi, age 22, lived with the McGees for about a month and then decided to stay at Southeast to work on her studies and live in the residence halls.

The McGees have one child, Christina, who is two years old. Hosting a student was like giving their daughter a big brother or sister, they said.

“It changes the way you run your household,” Mrs. McGee says. “You want to cater to them, so you take better care of your family by setting meals, activities and family time.”

“You become the hub for many of the Japanese students,” said Bobby McGee. “We planned barbeques and spaghetti dinners and let them invite friends over.”

The McGees said the biggest reward is the feeling that they now have an extended family. Kasumi’s family came to visit and stayed at their home, and they have been invited to visit Japan.

The McGee family just welcomed their second student, Namiko Yoshimura, into their home and look forward to being a host family for many students in the future.

Becoming a host family is a wonderful way to meet bright young students and open your family up to another culture, said Jill Venezian in International Community Programs at Southeast. Host families will converse with the students in English and share family time while providing them with meals and transportation to their University classes. All students arrive with spending money and full medical insurance. Host families are compensated with a modest stipend for the time the students are here, however, the real benefit of this program is not monetary, but the lasting friendships that can be made, Venezian said.

For more information on becoming a host family, contact Jill Venezian or Dwayne Crites at the International Community Programs Office at Southeast Missouri State University at (573) 986-6872.

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., July 6, 2001 - The Southeast Missouri State University/Cape West Rotary Club Golf Tournament to benefit student scholarships at Southeast raised $23,000 this year.

The tournament was held June 15 at Bent Creek Golf Course in Jackson, Mo. Main sponsors of the event were Chartwells; Dexter B-B-Q; Drury Southwest; Friends of Rotary; Limbaugh, Russell, Payne & Howard; GMAC; Mid-America Hotels; St. Francis Medical Center; and Southeast Missouri Hospital.

“We are happy to see that the proceeds almost doubled from last year,” said Loren Rullman of the Cape West Rotary Club.

Net proceeds from last year’s golf tournament exceeded $13,000, all of which benefited need-based scholarships for students enrolled during the past academic year at Southeast.

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