Planting Practical Seeds

Lesa Moore Faith, Spring 2015

When Dr. Sevints Nuriyeva met Dr. Jane Finley, dean of UMobile’s School of Business, while representing her college at a conference last year, she knew it was “definitely an answer to prayer.”

Originally from Kazakhstan, Nuriyeva has experience teaching college students there as well as in South Korea and the United States. She was interested in moving back to the United States when she and Finley began discussing a position at the University of Mobile.

Nuriyeva is now the assistant professor of global business and management for UMobile’s School of Business. She has joined an interesting and diverse faculty who are teaching life-changing business concepts to UMobile students both on campus, and now online.

Nuriyeva is excited to be a part of this Christian university.

“One of the biggest advantages that students have at UMobile is the opportunity to share their faith openly in the classroom,” said Nuriyeva. “My experience in other countries has been that it is not always possible. It is good to be able to have discussions about how faith affects business.”

Teaching global business and ethics classes in both the traditional and adult programs, Nuriyeva says “it is fun to watch the students’ faces – the ‘ah ha moments’ – when it now makes sense.” She also says the personal experiences that adults bring to the classroom allow different perspectives and provide a good basis for discussions.

“I want my students to think from a practical standpoint,” she said. “To think, ‘how would you apply this concept to real life?’ I encourage them to find a practical seed in everything they learn.”

Taking It Online
For over 20 years, the University of Mobile has offered a variety of adult degree programs on campus, including the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA). Beginning Fall 2015, this program will also have a completely online option.

Dr. Randall Dupont ‘94, associate professor of business in the University of Mobile’s Adult and Professional Studies, believes the online BBA program will give adult students a broader opportunity to finish their degree while providing the same support given to those on campus.

“Online BBA students will have the same professors, the same course material, and the same opportunity to interact with others,” he said. “Furthermore, the online option will allow adults to better balance the demands of work, family and school.”

Brenda Lyndall is a current student in the on-campus BBA program. She said she chose UMobile because of its size, program offerings and Christian worldview.

“My favorite thing about UM is that the students are not just a number,” she says. “The staff truly cares about your education and helps you be the best that you can possibly be. The staff also challenges you to go above and beyond to prepare you for employers’ expectations in a job and beyond the job for life in general.”

“The emphasis of the BBA program is on equipping students with a broad understanding of all of the business functional areas, and bringing that understanding into an integrative experience at the end of the courses of study,” says Finley. “Students improve their skills in communication, critical thinking and analysis, with a common thread of ethical decision-making and ability to apply appropriate technology to aid business decision making.”

Nuriyeva believes the online option will give adults greater flexibility with time management.

“Students should realize that the online program is not an easier degree,” she explains. “You have to invest time, be self-disciplined and learn to work with online teams as well as independently. I encourage students to be intentional about their studies. Ask where do you see yourself after completing the program?”

Making the Big Bucks
A million dollars. That’s the difference in career-earning potential for individuals who have a bachelor’s degree, according to Dupont.

“In Alabama, high school graduates earn $25,851 a year while those with a bachelor’s degree earn $46,556,” he explains. “That’s a difference of $20,705 annually or nearly a million dollars over one’s working career.” These potential career benefits are why he strongly encourages working professionals and adults to finish their business degree.

“According to the latest census data from the American Community Survey, 30 percent of Alabamians 25 years and over have attended college but did not finish their bachelor’s degree,” Dupont continues. “Not only does a degree provide more earnings potential, but it also provides greater employment security. Last year the unemployment rate for those with some college but no degree was 6 percent, compared to 3.2 percent for those with a bachelor’s degree.”

Statistics show that more adults are now continuing their education. According to a New York Times article referencing data from the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of full-time adult learners has increased to over 2.5 million nationwide in 2011 (the last year for which statistics were available).

“The most compelling reason that led me to finish my business degree was to lead by example for my son and step-daughter,” says Lyndall. “I decided after high school to get married and start a family right away instead of going to college. Both my son and step-daughter did, also. So I want them to know that it is never too late to get a college education.”

The UMobile Advantage
Like the on-campus programs, the online BBA program has specialized accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. This accreditation provides accountability with a focus on learning outcomes and continuous improvement in curriculum and how it is taught. UMobile’s BBA program is designed to uniquely meet the needs of working adults.

“We understand that adults learn differently,” Dupont says. “They are looking for real-world application of what they are learning and to share work experiences.”

Learning to solve complex issues in the workplace in practical ways is a large part of the academic program.

“We are teaching basic skills everyone should know,” explains Nuriyeva. “How to manage your life, career, company and finances; how to market yourself and your company; and how to approach life and business ethically.

“I am encouraging my students to be open-minded and be prepared to succeed in the age of globalization. Also, never make assumptions about the world around us but do the homework.”

“They (adults) are in the prime of their career,” says Dupont. “My advice to them would be to just get started. The rewards are enormous, and the online BBA program at UMobile can make it a reality.”

To learn more about online programs at UMobile, visit learnonline.umobile.edu.

About the Author
Lesa Moore

Lesa Moore

Lesa has over 25 years experience in marketing and public relations including the high-tech industry, retail marketing and higher education. Numerous local and national advertising, PR and design awards have been achieved under her direction. Lesa received her Bachelor of Science in Marketing from the University of South Alabama and her Master of Business Administration from the University of Mobile. She enjoyed a successful career as Director of Marketing Communication at Xante Corporation before joining the UMobile staff in 2002. She serves as Executive Director of Marketing and Public Relations as well as an adjunct instructor in marketing at UMobile, and is a member of the American Marketing Association, Public Relations Council of Alabama and Baptist Communicators Association. Lesa lives in Mobile with her husband and high school sweetheart, Jay, and their two children, current UMobile student Logan and high schooler Olivia. She is an active member and life group leader at Cottage Hill Baptist Church.