Management Information Systems - Westminster College - Fulton, Missouri
Why Study Management Information Systems (MIS) at Westminster?
- Our MIS program builds on the strengths of our Business and Computer Sciences offerings as well as our liberal arts education. Classes blend theory and practice in “hot” areas—issues and technologies that researchers and practitioners are currently interested in.
- Each class is uniquely designed for Westminster, in response to recent scholarly findings and rising trends in the field.
- Courses are not technology driven, though technology is adequately integrated into the major. Therefore, students never have to play catch-up with technology that is imposed externally. Instead, all discussions are driven by business strategy and user needs.
- Majors become user and data advocates who understand that the most critical elements of an information system are not hardware and software, but the people and information.
- Dr. Phelps, who designed and implemented the major, has degrees and research, and consulting experience in all of the relevant fields of MIS: business, decision science, computer science, and information technology. So, “knowing a little about a lot” allows her to see the best benefits of these synergies and bring those synergies into the classroom.
In your formal MIS studies, you will learn organized approaches to gathering, processing, and presenting information, in order to improve systems and support decisions. You will tackle a spectrum of issues: the human thought process behind decision making; methods of organizing, analyzing, presenting and securing information; different ways IT can be used to gain competitive advantage; profitability of e-commerce; and investments strategies for new technologies on the market. Through all of these areas of study, MIS fosters critical thinking and life long learning in regards to information systems.
Decision makers today from CEO’s to managers are faced with challenges such as global competition, the need to manage organizational learning, or the accessibility of relevant information quickly and at the right time. Many of these challenges can be solved in part by information technology (IT) applications. In MIS you will distinguish which solutions are pure hype and which could live up to their promises to qualitatively improve the lives of users and facilitate decision processing organizations. MIS seeks to bridge the gap between the worlds of business and IT in order to seek answers to these complicated problems.
- Intro to Information Systems challenges students to think like managers making information technology decisions for their companies and to ponder how much privacy companies should give to their employees and customers. They also learn about database design, tricks to “professionalize” reports and presentations, and how this knowledge can help them attain a successful career.
- Electronic Commerce students develop business plans to sell goods and services online and critique each other’s business plans to make sure they attract and satisfy customers. They also evaluate Web sites and create simple sites of their own. The class focuses on investigating technological and legal infrastructures yet to be developed for e-commerce.
- People and Information teaches students about information overload and methods to reduce it. They conduct and present professional research on trends, companies, and industries and use graphical software to visually organize their concepts and ideas.
- Spreadsheet Applications in Business allows students to learn at their own pace, discovering features of MS Excel as they solve problems and complete various tasks assigned to them throughout the year. Here, too, peer review and aid is emphasized so that students can catch each other’s mistakes before the instructor can.
- Ethics and IT explores the ethical problems generated by progress in IT such as privacy, intellectual property rights, free speech and censorship, credibility, artificial intelligence, and the digital divide. Students deconstruct and build arguments and engage in debates about policy and individual choices.
One goal of the MIS major is to familiarize students with many different information systems tools and give them the confidence to learn new programs and technologies. At the very least, as a MIS major, you will become a whiz with spreadsheets and comfortable with databases. The rest will depend on which classes you take. From day one, you will be given opportunities and challenges to explore different software applications, gain valuable computer skills, and even evaluate new hardware. Each class typically requires either research/analysis of a real-world application or the development of at least one project. In some cases, “toy” projects will be created for the class. In other cases, applications will be developed that you can use in other classes, jobs, and outside of the classroom. As the major grows, some classes will collaborate with real-life IT professionals as well as take part in research for potential publication.
MIS classes also have a chance to present in the annual Symposium on Democracy.
MIS graduates have gone on to many different professions such as: Systems Engineer for Avanade, Inc., Application Programmer at Champion Air, President of Eclipse Data Systems Inc., Analyst Broker for Lehman Brothers, Trainer in IT Dept. for Panera LLC, Computer Programmer for Shelter Insurance, and a Web Developer right here at Westminster College. Other graduates have left Westminster to seek many different graduate programs such as bioengineering at Oklahoma University Graduate School, an MBA degree in MIS at Park University, an MBA degree at University of Missouri-St. Louis, and a Ph.D. in physics at the University of Missouri-Rolla.
“By getting an MIS major at Westminster College, I am now able to make better management decisions when it comes to a broader range of areas in a business. I am extremely grateful to the professors who have worked so hard to make this major a reality and who are more than willing to answer any question when it comes to course work.” Shannon Brinkman, ’10
For more information on the Accounting, Business Administration, Economics, and Management Information Systems John E. Simon Department at Westminster College please contact:
Dr. F. Selcen Phelps, Associate Professor Management Information Systems
Office: (573) 592 5303
Fax: (573) 592-5206