UTA Magazine
On the Spot
Craig Slinkman

Craig Slinkman UT Arlington affiliation: associate professor of information systems and operations management

Stopped: 11:05 a.m. Aug. 24 at Maverick Cookout and Activities Fair, University Center mall

What brings you here?
Every fall I enjoy helping out and welcoming the new students to the University.

How many years have you served as a volunteer?
This is my fourth year. I have three other T-shirts at home; this will make four.

How do you think the Activities Fair benefits students?
It gives them a chance to see what the different organizations have to offer. I remember going to something like this in 1966 at Kansas State and seeing James Brown before he became a big star. It leaves an impression on the students.

Do you go around yourself and see what the groups are doing?
Usually I do go look around after I do my duty and have lunch.

Are there any organizations that you work closely with in the College of Business?
I work with AITP, the Association of Information Technology Professionals. Itís a national organization, and our students have done well in national contests that AITP has sponsored.

How long have you taught here?
I started in the fall of 1979. I had just gotten my Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota and Dr. Baker, our former chair, was up that way recruiting. He overheard me tell someone at lunch that I was looking for a job. He grabbed me and interviewed me and I ended up in Texas.

What was it like when you started here?
The department was called Systems Analysis and Design, and I started here as a statistician. At the time, there were very few schools that had any information systems at all.

What are some of the major differences between now and then?
I think the University has really matured as an academic institution. I know at one time we were the sixth largest business school in the nation. The graduate programs have really grown during the past several years. Thatís probably the biggest thing that Iíve noticed.

Tell me about some of the courses that you teach.
I teach Java programming courses. I teach business statistics, information systems analysis and design, and recently weíve added a new database administration course. Iím kind of the lead person on that.

Whatís new in information technology?
Itís an important field, but surprisingly enrollments are down nationally because of the recession. IT is always hit very hard during a recession. But itís growing back, and thereís been a change in the mixture of analysis and design because of it. There are a lot of services like network administration and database administration.

What advice would you give a student starting in the IT field?
The basis of all IT is programming. A lot of students think that because they donít want to be programmers, they donít need to learn programming. What theyíre going to find is that the further they go, the more thatís going to serve them well. In the end, itís not the technology that determines the people, itís the management of those people that determines the technology. I guess thatís what differentiates us from computer science. Theyíre pure technology, and weíre application management of the technology.

What about a graduating student?
Itís going to be important to re-educate themselves all the time. When youíre looking for a job, you want to place emphasis on your education. Keep ties with the University because we try to run programs on the latest technology. If you donít like to learn new things, this is not the place to be.

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