UConn Biz School Eyes Hi-Tech Future
School forging cross-disciplinary links to address "big data"
The University of Connecticut has been in the spotlight of late, with a series of high profile announcements about the expansion of bioscience and STEM disciplines at the school. Faculty and students were at the legislature this week, supporting funding for the Next Generation Connecticut initiative. But where, in all of this, is the university’s School of Business? WNPR’s Harriet Jones sat down recently with business school dean, John Elliott.
While all the attention lately might be on boosting UConn’s ability to produce scientists and engineers, John Elliott would like you to know:
“We’re very much part of this.”
He says the business school can provide the bridge between academic achievement in technical disciplines and eventual commercial success, by fostering entrepreneurship.
“The school of business provides the infrastructure for the companies that will be created from all of this knowledge and all of this science.”
This is Elliot’s first year as dean. He arrived at the school last summer, with ambitions to focus on the ways in which new technology is interacting with and changing the business world.
“Our ability to deal with data has exploded. It didn’t used to be possible to think about this size of a database because your computing power wouldn’t support it. Today, the computing power is there, it’s efficient, it’s low cost, and so we can deal with problems that are just immense.”
Big data is now being addressed by faculty in management informations systems and in marketing. It also has implications for the medical field in genomics, the partnership that UConn is forging with Jackson Labs in Farmington. A related focus for Elliott is in digital media - the University has just opened a cross disciplinary digital media center where the business school comes together with fine arts and engineering.
“The cutting edge for digital media right now is partly about visualization. How can we help the human brain interpret information in different ways by how we present that information to them.”
UConn’s business school has had a mixed record in the past in forging links with industry, but Elliott says it’s now reaching out in new ways. The school worked with financial services professionals in Fairfield County to design its new Financial Management major, a course that’s being offered in Stamford. It’s also in the process of redesigning its executive MBA.