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Taking Flight – July 2015 Edition

amasoncMessage from the Dean

I recently read a column in The Wall Street Journal that was critical of annual performance reviews. The author argued that the practice created cynicism and hurt productivity. While some studies have shown that performance reviews can sap energy and morale, others have shown that annual reviews improve personal development and performance. To me, these mixed results raise questions about the quality of the review process, more than of the process itself.

The article got me thinking about how we measure performance in the College of Business. As a unit of a public university, we are required to have a formal, annual review system, of course. But merely having such a system means very little. The real question is what do we measure and incentivize, and how consistently do we reinforce that message?

Well, we encourage and incentivize quality and expertise. Faculty members are respected and sought after because of the intellectual capital they represent. So, we measure intellectual contributions. But we must be careful; we are not a “publish or perish” shop, and we should never allow intellectual distinctiveness to devolve into simple counts of publications. Rather, we want to encourage impact, and we want that impact to be felt broadly in the classroom, in the academy, and in the economy. We also encourage quality instruction. We are an educational institution, not a think tank. Therefore, we have to track, measure, and reward quality teaching. Of course, quality teaching is complex and multi-faceted, and, so, we track and assess a wide range of measures in an effort to identify and reward truly exceptional teachers. We want to encourage engagement with the business and professional communities. Our faculty, staff, and students should make a positive difference by adding ideas, energy, and impetus to both the academy and the economy. We encourage and support engagement in any form that yields positive results. Finally, we want to encourage a culture of professionalism and high quality service. In everything we do, we want to represent Georgia Southern and its great legacy in the best way possible.

So, if good outcomes result from good practices, then our practice of regularly reviewing the things that matter will continue. We will track and measure the things that make us distinctive, and we will invest in our people, consistently encouraging them to push ahead, to innovate, to develop, to take risks, and to keep our college on the cutting edge.


Alumni Spotlight: Kelley Chester

Kelley Chester (FINC, 1993; MPH, 2005; and DrPH, 2010) is an adjunct faculty member in the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University and in the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health at Georgia Southern University. She also owns her own consulting business, C3 Informatics, LLC, which consults in the areas of business process analysis and information systems requirements development, strategic planning, complex project management, and data analytics in the public health and population health fields. Currently, Kelley is working on a project with the State of Idaho and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Although her degree was in finance, her business classes provided Kelley with the foundational skills she needed to be successful regardless of which field she entered. When Kelley started her career in healthcare information technology, confidence in her abilities and herself were the main factors in her success, and she thanks her, then, School of Business professors for that. While pursuing her business degree, Kelley says that the information systems class taught by Charlie Turner was her favorite course. She finds it wonderful to come on campus now and see how far the College of Business has come.

Kelley loves working with public health professionals to improve the work they are doing by utilizing informatics and information management. Presenting her work at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, was the proudest moment of Kelley’s career. The report that came out of that project has been translated into several languages for use by the Ministries of Health in many other countries.

Kelley currently serves as the president of the Georgia Southern Alumni Association and as an advisory board member for Southern Women. In her spare time, Kelley enjoys live music and often attends concerts. She also enjoys teaching the next generation of professionals and, eventually, hopes to join the academic community as a full-time professor.

College of Business Logistics Program and Ogeechee Technical College Partner

On Tuesday, June 23, President Brooks Keel and Provost Jean Bartels, PhD, signed an agreement with Dawn Cartee, president and Charlene Lamar, executive vice president for academic affairs, both of Ogeechee Technical College (OTC), that will allow students earning a two-year degree in logistics from OTC to more easily transfer to the University’s bachelor’s degree in the same major. During the signing ceremony in the president’s conference room, leadership from OTC and Georgia Southern gathered to celebrate this momentous occasion.

Nashville Eagle Executive Exchange

The College of Business held its first out-of-state Eagle Executive Exchange in Nashville, on Thursday, July 16, 2015. Gary Baker (MKTG, 1971) hosted the event at his home. The turnout was small, but everyone enjoyed getting to know each other and were surprised and excited to hear that more than 400 alums live within a 50-mile radius of Nashville. Ken Van Landingham (Health Sciences, 1994) informed everyone that a Facebook group has been started to connect the Nashville alums (Georgia Southern Alumni Nashville Network). Everyone was encouraged to join the group. Dean Allen Amason gave an update on the College of Business and responded to questions about the college and university. Most of the attendees had not been back to campus in many years. As always, Georgia Southern merchandise was given out and raffled, and each person seemed excited to receive memorabilia from some of the “best years of their lives.”

New Partnership Agreement Signing Ceremony for BIG Pitch Competition

Georgia Southern University and the Ocean Exchange held a signing ceremony to commemorate forming a partnership for the new BIG Pitch Competition. The signing ceremony was held on Tuesday, June 23 at 10:30 a.m. at City Campus located at 58 East Main Street in downtown Statesboro. Georgia Southern University President Brooks A. Keel, PhD, and Ocean Exchange CEO Millicent Pitts signed the partnership agreement for the event. With students from around the world competing for the $10,000 prize, the BIG Pitch Competition is already positioned to be among the largest in the southeastern United States.

“Since its founding, the Ocean Exchange has done a remarkable job in supporting global entrepreneurship and innovation,” said Dominique Halaby, DPA, director of the Business Innovation Group (BIG). “We, at Georgia Southern University, are excited to partner with such a well-respected and wide-reaching organization.”

For more information on the BIG Pitch Competition, the Ocean Exchange, or Georgia Southern University entrepreneurship programs, please contact Millicent Pitts, CEO of Ocean Exchange, at (912) 257-0209 or or Dominique Halaby, DPA, director of the Georgia Southern University Business Innovation Group, at (912) 478-2733 or

WebMAcc Ranked in Top 10

The Georgia Southern University WebMAcc, online Master of Accounting (MAcc) program, has been ranked tenth by OnlineU as a 2015 Top Online Accounting Degree ( This ranking comes on the heels of several other WebMAcc rankings in recent months.

The 2015 Top Online Accounting Degrees have a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) pass rate of 50 percent or higher and are AACSB accredited. The Georgia Southern School of Accountancy holds its own AACSB accreditation for accounting, separate from the College of Business’s AACSB accreditation. In addition to holding its own accreditation, tuition is under $7,000 per year, which is one-half to one-third the rate of other programs in the rankings.

Designed for working professionals, the Georgia Southern WebMAcc uses a team-based, cohort approach to online learning, placing students on teams of four to five students. These teams work together throughout the 30 semester-hour program/six semesters and provide motivation and help while striving to achieve a common goal of graduating from an AACSB accredited accounting program. The online courses are identical in content to the traditional courses, with the benefit of a flexible, online delivery system.

“This is another endorsement of the quality of the relatively new WebMAcc program we launched in 2013,” states Timothy A. Pearson, PhD, director of the School of Accountancy. “This newest ranking broadcasts our quality and highlights that our program costs less than half of the tuition charged by our peers. We are providing an extraordinary return on investment for our students.”

For more information on the Georgia Southern WebMAcc program, visit or email

68th Annual Watermelon Cutting

July 7 marked the 68th anniversary of the Annual Watermelon Cutting started by President Zach Henderson. President Brooks Keel and First Lady Tammy Schalue continued the tradition cutting watermelon for faculty, staff, and students.

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College of Business Celebrates LaunchSAVANNAH Birthday

On Thursday, June 18, the College of Business Graduate Programs sponsored the 2nd birthday of LaunchSAVANNAH, the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce’s emerging professionals group, ages 22-40. Since its inception in 2013, the Georgia Southern College of Business Graduate Programs has sponsored the annual event for LaunchSAVANNAH. Our relationship with the young professionals group has grown and continues to grow each year. Some of our MBA Savannah students attend and participate in Launch’s events on a regular basis. “Savannah is an emerging center of commercial innovation and growth,” states Allen C. Amason, dean of the College of Business. “The College of Business is excited to be a partner with LaunchSAVANNAH in connecting young professionals to one another and to the many opportunities in the region.”

Loss of Business Student

It is with sadness that we announce the loss of Tim Rubnitz, an information systems student completing his last online course this summer in order to graduate. Tim died unexpectedly on Monday, July 13. He had recently started a job with Infosys as a consultant in Atlanta. Please remember Tim’s family and friends in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

Loss of Management Faculty Member

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Mikelle Calhoun, PhD, assistant professor of management in the College of Business. Mikelle was a valued colleague, a respected teacher and a member of our faculty since August 2009. She will be missed.

In the College of Business, Mikelle taught international business courses (undergraduate and graduate), and her research focused on issues facing multinational firms operating across different markets.

In the community, Mikelle was active with the Averitt Stars (performing in community theatre productions), Friends of the Statesboro-Bulloch County Library, Irongate Community Homeowner’s Association, and Humane Society of Statesboro-Bulloch County.

A Celebration of Life ceremony was held on Sunday, July 12 at the Emma Kelly Theater in downtown Statesboro. Please keep Mikelle’s daughters, Terra and Shea, along with her other family and friends, in your thoughts and prayers in this difficult time.

Last updated: 3/11/2022