Annie McGowan has been named the next Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs, effective June 1. She has been a Mays faculty member for 24 years, and has led the Professional Program in Accounting and served as Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion.
Accounting Professor Martha Loudder has served as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs for 13 years. She will continue teaching at Mays, as she has done for 29 years.
Valentine’s spending looks to enjoy a similar boost seen with the 2017 holiday season, the most since the Great Recession of 2009. Strong indicators include a roaring stock market, low unemployment, and high consumer confidence.
Kelli Hollinger, Director of the Center for Retailing Studies, says, “Shoppers opened their wallets more than analysts expected this past Christmas, with many retailers exceeding sales projections. Both retailers and consumers are beginning 2018 with more optimism. For Valentine’s Day romantics looking to spend on their sweethearts, retailers will offer promotions for top-gifting items, like candy, flowers, and jewelry that fit any budget.”
Create something memorable Experiences remain popular, even when the sweetheart in your life is a furry friend. PetSmart is hosting pup playtime 9-5 on Valentine’s Day in select markets. Doggie desserts include a free ice cream treat, plus a free digital keepsake for pet parents.
If day trips are more appealing than diamonds, shoppers seeking experiences can book special romance packages like some of the options from Groupon, Travelzoo, or Renaissance Hotels.
Personalized gifts such as one-of-a-kind socks emblazoned with couple’s names or even faces, like sockprints.com add a little humor to gifting.
For a special night out, online sources like OpenTable are helpful for finding local restaurants with special menu items and promotions for February 14th.
Online and mobile shopping continue trending up More consumers will shop with their thumbs, browsing, and buying more than ever from their mobile devices. Trendsetter Magnolia Market is featuring special selections for Valentine’s Day.
Online purchasing offers added convenience this season. Texas grocer H-E-B offers in-store pickup or delivery with floral orders.
Tech gifts are in
Besides traditional Valentine’s Day surprises, tech, and mobile accessories have become a popular item for both men and women. Online retailing giant Amazon is featuring deals on hundreds of tech selections, from headphones and smart watches to romantic-themed movies.
Don’t forget the favorites! Classic Valentine gifts including cards, candy, dining out, and flowers will still top many lovers’ shopping lists.
World Cancer Day 2018 – observed on Sunday, Feb. 4 – is a global campaign that aims to save millions of preventable deaths each year by raising awareness and education about the disease. The objective is to get as many people as possible to talk about cancer, including on social media with the hashtag #WorldCancerDay, pressing governments and individuals across the world to take action in the fight against cancer.
Leonard L. Berry, a Texas A&M University healthcare expert from Mays Business School, advocates for practical improvements in cancer care services for both the patient and the family based on his ongoing study of how to improve the service journey that cancer patients and their families take from diagnosis through treatment, recovery and in some cases end-of-life care. “Cancer not only impacts the patient but also the family, and it is especially appropriate to take a holistic approach to cancer care in discussions on World Cancer Day,” Berry says.
Drawing on Berry’s research conducted at 10 innovative cancer centers, he and his co-authors provide important guidelines for designing cancer care services that prevent avoidable suffering and improve the care experience. These guidelines focus on integrating humanity into a service that requires sensitivity and compassion.
Design cancer care services to be less stressful
Cancer care is a high-emotion service. The need for the service alone elicits intense emotions. The wonders of high-tech cancer care are best complemented by high-touch care. Guidelines for helping healthcare organizations deliver services to better anticipate and respond to patients’ and family’s emotional needs were developed based on interviews with more than 350 cancer patients, family members, oncologists, surgeons, oncology nurses, non-clinical staffers, and leaders of healthcare organizations: 1) Identify emotional triggers such as the need for cancer care services, 2) Respond early to intense emotions, including preparing patients for what’s next, 3) Enhance the patients’ control, and 4) Hire the right people and prepare them for the role. The complete guidelines are available in the Harvard Business Review.
Manage the clues in cancer care
Patients’ experiences, good and bad, accumulate as a result of clues embedded in these experiences. Clues are the signals patients perceive in using a service. When interacting with a system of care, patients filter clues, organizing them into a set of impressions. Patients may perceive clues rationally or emotionally, and clues may be defined by their presence or absence. Optimizing cancer patients’ service experiences requires sensitive management of the clues that comprise the overall service. Well-managed clues can evoke positive feelings, such as trust and hope. Poorly managed clues can exacerbate negative emotions, such as anxiety, stress, helplessness, anger, and fear.
Students from Mays Business School recently participated in the annual YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund (FSF) case study competition. Sixty of the top business, retail, and fashion design programs from universities around the country were represented – including Parsons School of Design, Harvard, Fashion Institute of Technology, Pratt Institute, and Academy of Art University.
As the premier educational fashion non-profit in the U.S, FSF seeks to identify and create career opportunities for students worldwide. FSF grants the largest sum of money and total number of scholarships in the entire fashion community. It also offers hands-on experience via internships with the world’s top fashion companies and most influential leaders – such as Nordstrom, Ulta, and Lululemon.
For the 2018 FSF case study, students were asked to explore a retailer of their choice regarding how the integration of digital technology with offline shopping can improve performance. They spent an entire semester developing a business plan, promotional campaign, and financial analysis.
“My project primarily focused on transforming the fitting room at and allowing customers to ‘virtually immerse’ themselves into an environment of their choice. They can see how they really look beyond the blank-space fitting room when trying on clothes,” explained marketing major Payton Cupstid ’19.
Eight Aggie students were awarded $5,000 each in scholarship funds. Cupstid received an award of $15,000 for a perfect score on her case study paper. Texas A&M was the only university in the competition to have a student that finished with a perfect score.
Students received their awards in New York City on Jan. 9 at a gala featuring special guests such as style icon Martha Stewart and fashion model Coco Rocha.
“It was a challenge, but a fun challenge. The ten-page business plan required a lot of work and many hours of my time, but I enjoyed every minute I devoted to it,” said Cupstid. “I was able to utilize my skills and passions, while also creating something that resembled the abstract thinking and hard work that I am willing to take on to succeed.”
Cheryl Bridges, Executive Professor of Marketing at Mays and mentor to the eight winners, reflected on the trip. “This whole process takes a tremendous amount of work and effort outside the classroom,” she said. “The idea is to get them excited about the industry, and prepare them to hit the ground running when they start their career.”
Students like Payton Cupstid understand the importance of transformational learning opportunities like the FSF case study competition.
“If you’re applying for an internship or full-time job, you’re already ahead of other candidates because you get to showcase your work,” she added. “Mays and the Center for Retailing Studies do a wonderful job of providing students with learning opportunities.”
Mays Dean Eli Jones stepped up to teach his fellow deans from around the United States and Canada on advanced fund-raising techniques. He was one of two deans invited to lead sessions for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education’s Advanced Development for Deans and Academic Leaders conference, held Jan. 10-12 in Philadelphia. More than 100 academic leaders from the U.S. and Canada attended.
Jones drew from his experience as a three-time dean – at Texas A&M University, University of Arkansas, and Louisiana State University – to teach skills such as how to develop targeted strategies for programs and how to enhance relationships with donors.
“Among other subjects, I talked about our Strategic Plan and the grassroots process we used to gain buy-in; the strong support of our incredible donors and how we approach our donor base; and the impact the financial support is having on engaging our faculty, such as the creation of the Mays Innovation Research Center,” he said.
In the two years since Jones began leading Mays, the school has
Mays Business School recognized six undergraduate students as Fall 2017 Martha Loudder Medal of Excellence recipients for their willingness to invest additional effort into their academics. Anaelena Lopez, Diana Lopez, Katherin Sevilla, Brenda Pina, Fatima Solano and Ciara Jasso.
Named for Mays Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs and Accounting Professor Marty Loudder, the medal recognizes students who intentionally engage in their educations in and out of the classroom, and who engage in the reflective portfolio process to maximize their learning.
To be eligible for the medal, students first participate in a minimum of three high-impact experiences such as a peer educator position, an internship, or a learning community. Each student then completes a comprehensive learning portfolio, which includes self-awareness exercises and reflections on key experiences like those above.
The portfolio is showcased on a personal website, and serves as the final selection criterion for the Loudder Medal. Reviewers look for comprehensiveness, depth, and clear connections among stories, lessons learned, and future goals.