Kristen Craig Discusses UAB’s Collat School of Business

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UAB Collat School of Business. Knowledge that will change your world.

Kristen Craig:

UAB is a really dynamic place to work not only because of the students, but who also works here. We’ve been blessed in the Collat School of Business with the most amazing colleagues, yes most definitely, but also industry partners have been really the life blood of our school.

Honestly, Charles Collat of course the founder of the ID program and of course our namesake for the Collat School of Business is inspiration every day. He really saw the future of this industry. He understood the need to match professionals who were specifically trained to enter this field and an academic program to instill that skill set.

Charles felt that it was very important from the beginning to involve industry in our program not only in terms of developing the curriculum, but in terms of hiring students as interns, providing financial support so that student programs could be further developed and enhanced, and also hiring our graduates upon graduation.

The number of donors that participate in our program that have provided scholarships, and hire our graduates has grown dramatically over the years. Faculty that teach in the program has grown and the classes have certainly evolved over the years to match industry trends and growth. So a curriculum in any major is never static and ours certainly has not remained static.

In this day there is I think more importance than ever for colleges to have a demonstrable history of successful outcomes. By that we mean jobs. By that we mean what do our students do after they graduate? What was the payoff if you will for earning the degree? When you have that direct connection between career and major, it’s important to be very flexible so that you’re sure you’re hitting dead on the career interests of your students.

The Collat School of Business I think they have sort of laid the groundwork if you will for online education at UAB. There has been an enormous success with many of the academic programs. Accounting has led the charge and really sets the template for other majors to follow in terms of how to roll out a very successful delivery of an online program.

In our minds there’s really little distinction between the two. It’s almost as though those students are here, but yet away. Our curriculum is developed with both modalities in mind. The services that we offer our students are no different between the two. Our online students fell as much a part of the Collat School of Business as our students who are in our classrooms every day.

We have to sometimes remind ourselves that there are two different student groups because at the end of the day we consider them Collat School of Business students period. Twenty-three years ago it was really something to serve the returning adult student population and so you had to offer a vast array of scheduling options to serve returning students.

The great thing about that though is UAB has been doing this for forty-seven years. We have been developing programs and catering to students that are of that demographic for forty-seven years. We’re pretty good at it. That’s who we are so it’s very easy for us to be responsive to students in that way and that is why I think our online program has been such a success because it really reflects our mission from day one. It’s not really a change for us. It is just an extension of what we’ve always done.

One of UAB’s greatest strengths is its adaptability and its forward thinking and I think we’ve been able to redefine what it means to be on a college campus. What does a tradition college campus mean? Well it means a great number of different things and I think UAB is really on the cutting edge of being at the forefront of that definition and setting the definition instead of responding or conforming to it.