The University of Connecticut Management Information Systems major was officially restructured this semester to give students a competitive advantage in the workforce and stay aligned with changes in technology and business, according to the Operations and Information Management Department.
The original Management Information Systems (MIS) major was renamed to the Analytics and Information Management (AIM) major.
The new academic director, former UConn MIS student, and current UConn Professor Stephen Fitzgerald stepped up to oversee the restructuring.
“The program hadn’t changed in many years,” Fitzgerald said. “It was time for change.”
The new name, AIM, includes the term “Analytics” because of the increasing importance of analytics in the fields of business and technology. The new name allows employers to recognize data analysis as a skill that AIM students possess, providing students with a competitive advantage that the previous name lacked.
AIM symbolizes a balance of data analysis with information management, according to the Operations and Information Management (OPIM) Department.
Four concentrations were added to the major to give students an opportunity to differentiate themselves, making it easier to apply for given positions. Two minors were also added to give opportunities to students outside of the major.
Fitzgerald said that the department had been working towards this transition for a while, implementing coursework changes along the way. He compared it to a ship of Theseus. “We’ve replaced a lot of boards along the way, but now it was time to rebrand it as a new major.”
The transition created challenges and “a lot of advising hours,” Fitzgerald said. Avenues had to be created for students already committed to an MIS plan of study to stay with their original plan or move forward with the new AIM plan. In addition, all of the course catalog numbers and names were changed to create a meaningful numbering scheme.
When asked about what motivates him, Fitzgerald said it’s since he was a former MIS student.
“I’m in the unique position to develop a program I was a part of,” Fitzgerald said. His goal for the new program is to build a stronger sense of community.
Fitzgerald has been working closely with former MIS Academic Director and current UConn Professor Jonathan Moore during the program and role transition. Moore stepped down after running the program for six years.
“I was waiting for someone I could trust enough,” Moore said. “I knew Stephen was the right person for the job.”
Throughout his time as the academic director, Moore watched the program grow from 68 to 208 students.
“I will miss the direct contact with students,” Moore said. “There was a time when I knew every single MIS major’s name.”
Moore is now the executive director of the Connecticut Information Technology Institute.
Amisha Aggarwal, a UConn senior already committed to an MIS plan of study, transitioned to the new AIM plan of study this semester to declare an IT Security concentration.
“A lot of students don’t like their major,” Aggarwal said. “But I can say for certain I love my major.”
The AIM concentrations include Business Intelligence, IT Security, Application Development and Supply Chain Management. The minors include Software Design and Supply Chain.
The AIM major is housed within the OPIM Department of the School of Business. Fitzgerald and Moore are currently co-teaching OPIM 3211, which is the AIM capstone course.