Upon completion of his first year as dean of the Goddard School of Business & Economics, Jeff Steagall is making the effort to gain national attention for the school by emphasizing specific areas of education it most represents.
The five areas being emphasized are supply chain management, entrepreneurship, international business, sustainability and the Master of Taxation. Steagall said he and other professors met at a retreat to decide on these areas and which were niche areas. They also discussed it with a student leadership group, and they agreed these areas should be focused on.
Steagall said supply chain management is the one with the most strength and demand.
“We have more than two and a half jobs for students that graduate,” Steagall said. The goal is to be nationally recognized for the supply chain management programs offered at WSU.
Entrepreneurship is one focus that reaches to any major on campus at WSU.
“We really want to have businesses starting up here on campus,” Steagall said.
He said the classes in the entrepreneurship program helps students in other majors who want to start businesses.
“Our niche really is to help students start up businesses,” Steagall said.
The business school was recently given a $25,000 check from Jack Goddard to facilitate student start-ups. Steagall said it’s something they haven’t had before.
Supply chain management and the Master of Taxation were two areas Steagall said he wants to be more nationally ranked, because the job opportunities offered in both programs were at a higher demand.
Ryan Pace, director of accounting and the Master of Taxation, said the goal was to establish a niche in the area of tax.
“Students can come in and be experts at tax, and things have gone well so far,” Pace said.
Pace said tax is a special part of accounting, and no other university in Utah has a Master of Tax degree.
“We hope we can build our reputation regionally first, and soon nationally,” Pace said.
Many students are coming to WSU because they heard about the Master of Tax program. Pace said a professor at Utah Valley University referred students who wanted to go into tax to WSU.
“We’ve graduated over 50 students in two years, and we have around 30-35 students in the program,” Pace said. He said the job outlook is good for graduates, with good placement and a high demand for students who want to work in tax law.
Pace said he put together a strategic plan and wants to expand service to the community to gain more attention to taxation. An example would be a tax assistance program called the Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic, where students can gain experience by helping people and their controversies with the IRS.
“I believe that a Master of Taxation is very viable in our world now,” said Justin Easley, a student at WSU. Easley was in accounting for most of his college career until he recently switched majors. “I may go back to finishing accounting after I finish my zoology degree.”
Easley said he liked the dean’s motivation to go into entrepreneurship.
“What’s made America who we are is because of entrepreneurship,” Easley said. He said the reason Utah was so unaffected by the economic downturn was because of all the entrepreneurship going on in the state.
Easley said the Goddard School of Business was very professional.
“In my experience, I have just been floored by the sheer value that we get through the Goddard School of Business at WSU, and I think they definitely deserve more attention.”