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Why STEM is Important for MIS

Friday, May 29, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Brook Pritchett

Why is STEM important for MIS?

By Munir Mandviwalla
Associate Professor and Chair of MIS
Executive Director
Institute for Business and Information Technology Fox School of Business
Temple University

Media, politicians, policy makers, cutting edge tech leaders, high school educators, and academics are increasingly focused on the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).  MIS has a unique opportunity to take a leadership role in the discourse on STEM. We are the natural STEM leaders.

First, at the most basic level, STEM is Science OR Technology OR Engineering OR Math, not the integration of the four areas. MIS has long participated in Technology. However, we need to make sure the contribution of our educational programs is acknowledged.

Second, in industry the so-called distinction between STEM and business skills is no longer very useful. According to Atish Banerjea, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer, NBCUniversal “We need people with very strong technology skills and very strong business skills and very strong communication skills. For us, hiring someone with skills in just STEM fields or just business has become largely irrelevant.” It is this mix that MIS is the best at producing.

Third, MIS can bring to the STEM table engagement and understanding of industry. We can take a leadership role in integrating with STEM programs across the university to package educational and research solutions for industry. This is especially important and feasible in areas such as digital innovation and analytics.

Fourth, STEM brings access to resources such as grants, scholarships, and visas that are critical for the future growth of the MIS discipline.

Fifth, and perhaps most importantly, MIS can gain prestige and visibility by taking a leadership role in STEM. A leadership role in STEM can bring attention locally as well as in the national discourse. The field has long desired a ‘seat at the table.’ STEM can provide the means.

To get started, here are three practical steps:

  1. Ensure your program is ‘STEM designated.’

  2. Communicate the STEM designation to prospective and current students and alumni. Tell them about the scholarships and visas as a first step.

  3. Start a conversation about the role of MIS in STEM with your industry advisory board and invite your dean.

To learn more, see my article with Michael Goul, Larry Dignan, and Brad Jensen in BizEd below. If you are pushing the STEM frontier in MIS, please drop me a note.

References

“STEM @ Work: Plotting a Course for STEM.” Munir Mandviwalla, Michael Goul, Larry Dignan, and Brad Jensen, BizEd, March | April, volume xiv, issue 2, pp. 28-31, 2015. Available online at: http://www.bizedmagazine.com/Archives/2015/2/Features/stem-at-work-plotting-a-course

“Best & Brightest: The executive perspective on business and STEM.” BizEd, March | April, volume xiv, issue 2, pp. 32-33, 2015.


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