WCBA Strengthens Commitment to Students

By Betty Jo Licata
Dean, YSU Williamson College

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Pandemic challenges served as a catalyst for the Williamson College of Business Administration at Youngstown State University to focus more intensely on how students engage in the teaching-learning process and how we can prepare them for a rapidly changing business world.

Despite the changes and challenges, our students remained active in internships, leadership organizations and community service.

Spring semester was a mix of in-person and virtual classes; we were fully back on campus in the fall. However, everyone has found the benefits (and sometimes the challenges) of virtual teams and virtual meetings.  It is likely that these will remain a common means in which we can work together and expand opportunities for new connections and partnerships.

Early in 2021, we began a critical review of our academic programs to ensure they were meeting the needs of employers. This process resulted in the addition of a supply chain management track and an advertising track. Our MBA program is completely online to meet the demand for accessible graduate education.

What hasn’t changed is our commitment to preparing students to be successful professionals and leaders, to producing research with impact, and to contributing to the economic development of our region.

Highlights of 2021 include:

• We were recognized as one of the Top 5 Career Ready Business Schools in the nation based on our interns’ ratings on eight professional competencies.

• Our new partnership with the NASA Glenn T2U program enabled students to identify new markets for NASA technologies.

• The WCBA Entrepreneurship Center sponsored the second annual WCBA Business Plan Competition. Andrew Boyer, a senior, was the winner of the $2,400 John Burgan Entrepreneurship Prize. A $500 honorable mention award was presented to Annabelle Himes, a freshman.

• YSU partnered with the Ohio Department of Development to host the seventh Ohio Export Internship Program.

• The Student Investment Fund, which manages a $2 million portfolio, placed second in the Undergraduate Growth Portfolio Competition sponsored by the Global Asset Management Education Forum. 

• The Jambar won 10 awards in the Ohio Collegiate Journalist Competition and 10 awards from the national Society for Collegiate Journalists.  YO magazine won first place from the Society of Collegiate Journalists.

• The number of paid internships fell to 138 during the pandemic, but we are on track to exceed 200 for 2021-2022.

• Ninety percent of 2020-2021 graduates who completed a paid, credit-bearing internship are employed in full-time jobs or enrolled in graduate school.

• The highest number of BSBA degrees (251) was awarded in more than 10 years.

• The Small Business Development Center received approximately $800,000 to support small and medium-sized businesses through business consulting, export assistance  and procurement assistance.

• Sixty students participated in our WCBA Dare to Care Day completing service projects for Potential Development, Junior Achievement, the YWCA, and United Way. 

As I conclude 26 ½ years as dean of the WCBA, I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to our friends and alumni who contribute to the success of our college, our students  and our faculty and staff.  It has been a privilege to support the important work of preparing tomorrow’s business leaders, and I thank you for partnering with us on this journey.

YSU began offering commerce classes in the 1920s. The business programs are accredited by AACSB International. The success of 1,600 undergraduate students and 500 graduate students is supported by 55 full-time faculty, 45 part-time faculty and 17 full-time staff members.