JACKSON, Miss.- The Jackson State University (JSU) College of Business is proud to announce a new supply chain management program will be offered in the 2022 Fall semester. The global supply chain has been a major topic of discussion since the beginning of the pandemic. Business Dean Fidelis Ikem, Ph.D., says the new undergraduate program aligns with the strategic plan to elevate the institution’s academic prominence through degree offerings that will meet today’s workforce needs.
“Business students in the new supply chain management program will learn about inventory, transportation, purchasing and the different challenges of distribution,” explains Ikem. “At the beginning of the pandemic, the ports of Los Angeles were overcrowded because there weren’t enough truckers to move goods to warehouses where they were needed. That’s a supply chain issue and a product demand issue. This will prepare our students to work in that industry that is growing by leaps and bounds.”
Jackson State’s location in the central part of Mississippi and close proximity to the gulf coast will give students a major advantage when it comes to studying distribution. Ikem says with a close proximity to Interstates 20 and 55, a bounty of distribution centers, and large producers moving into the area (such as Continental Tires, Nissan, Amazon, etc.), the demand for this particular skill set is growing here. Ikem has wanted to bring the supply chain management degree program to the college of business since his appointment as dean. It was no easy task, however, through years of collaborative efforts and research, his goal was accomplished with the help of JSU alumnus David Malone, CPSM, who currently works as the director of procurement and supply management for the city of St. Petersburg, Florida. With decades of experience working in the field of supply chain management, Malone noticed a lack of diversity and decided his alma mater could be the resolution. He gladly provided his expertise to help develop the program and recruit leadership for the advisory board.
“I am in my 41st year of my supply chain career and one thing that I was always bothered by for years was the lack of African Americans in this field. I was fortunate to get in back in 1981 with a major technology company out of Boston, and it was my only job offer. So, even though my undergraduate degree was in finance, I wanted an opportunity and luckily, I landed in one of the fastest growing and world changing professions there were. It’s a career path that gave me an opportunity to travel and do business globally, and I want HBCU students to have access to such a great profession,” says Malone.
The board consists of supply chain executives from Black & Decker, Microsoft, and The Institute for Supply Management. Malone also garnered participation from the Michigan State University Department of Supply Chain Management, which is rated No. 1 nationally for its program. Dean Ikem recruited an executive from Ingalls Shipbuilding and the JSU School of business leaders to complete the advisory board and begin the work of curriculum development.
“Supply chain management provides another avenue for students to develop insight into an industry laden with opportunity,” says Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Alisa Mosley, Ph.D. “I appreciate the input from all internal and external stakeholders who created this innovative academic program. The new major aligns with our mission and university strategic plan.”
Through the JSU supply chain management program, students will learn how the core studies that are normal parts of the business program intersect with the myriad of opportunities and experiences offered in the supply chain profession. They will also learn to understand the underpinnings of the global supply chain and how the linkage of multiple supply chain functions leads to the delivery of goods and services from around the world. The College of Business plans to provide internship opportunities and, through the right corporate partnerships, give students real time exposure to the inner workings of the many aspects of supply chain management.
Ikem says he foresees the supply chain management program will be offered as a graduate program in the near future. The Jackson State University College of Business is among the six percent of business schools worldwide that is accredited by the Association for Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). AACSB accreditation differentiates business and accounting programs from those at other institutions in terms of quality, rigor, and relevance.