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Released February 26, 2004

By Angela Cutrer

HATTIESBURG - Richard Buckley, 22, of Hattiesburg is a senior management student hoping to eventually go into human resources.

As a student in The University of Southern Mississippi's College of Business and Economic Development, Buckley has already got a head start on understanding the business world, thanks to the college's partnership with The Wall Street Journal.

"We read articles out of the "Marketplace" section (of the paper) on why they made the decisions they did," Buckley said of the newspaper, which is delivered daily to the college's lobby. "A lot of professors encourage us to read it because we get to see what we are studying and apply it to the real world."

The WSJ's Academic Partnership Program began in 2000 with two universities that wanted to integrate the use of newspapers into the classroom. There are now 20 schools involved since the WSJ, the only newspaper the Audit Bureau of Circulation recognizes as qualifying as an educational tool at the college level, stepped into the picture.

The College of Business and Economic Development joined the program last fall and now more than 1,500 juniors, seniors and MBA students on the campuses of Hattiesburg and the Gulf Coast have online access to The Wall Street Journal and its Asian, European and Latin editions, and Barron's. The WSJ also delivers hard copies daily to both campuses.

As a result of this partnership, Southern Miss is mentioned in advertisements placed in BizEd, the magazine of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International, through which the college is accredited.

Marie Johnson, an educational representative with the WSJ, said that Southern Miss came on board after Dr. Bill Gunther, former dean of the College of Business at Southern Miss, saw a kiosk in a business school he was visiting. "He said he thought 'now that's what a business school should look like,' and he was interested in doing that with Southern Miss' business school," Johnson said. "And it's proven to be really successful. Students and professors alike have commented on it and students are actually reading the paper. It's a wonderful enhancement for the serious business student in the CBED."

When the college first welcomed the program, Gunther, professor of economics, said, "The partnership program with The Wall Street Journal has allowed us to provide an important business learning tool to our students in a most efficient package. Students have been extremely receptive to this program and the business community wonders why we did not do this earlier."

Professors find using the WSJ invaluable in the classroom - and out. "When (students) go on interviews and someone talks about something going on - like a proposed merger or the Enron situation - I expect students to know what they are talking about. They should know," said Dr. Sharon Topping, professor of management, who uses the WSJ to help her students keep current on important business issues.

Jim Taylor, associate chair and professor in hospitality management, uses the WSJ in his finance class every semester. "It's a valuable tool," he said, "and we're excited about the program. For example, I 'give' my students $10,000 and they have five companies - three in hospitality management in three different markets - and they track for six weeks. Whoever makes most money, wins."

Other professors also find using the WSJ a worthwhile journey. Dr. Trellis Green, associate professor of economics, uses the WSJ in his economics classes: "I have been using the WSJ for many years and the students really seem to like it."

Dr. Charles Sawyer, professor of economics, uses the WSJ in Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory for timely information on the state of the economy. "I also use articles from the international section of the WSJ in Survey of International Economics and International Trade and Finance to supplement classroom instruction," he said.

The college's director of graduate programs, Dr. William "Bill" Smith, discusses articles in the WSJ several times a semester during both his marketing research and professional selling classes. "These stories help keep students up-to-date about what is happening in the business world and how what we are studying in class ties in," he said. "The Marketing Research course also uses the WSJ as a resource in our library project, where students go on a scavenger hunt for information on markets, customers, companies and industries."

Professor of economics Dr. Tom Lindley was, at first, concerned with asking students to pay more fees, "but now I'm enthusiastic about (the program)," he said. "I use it in my international finance class and I'm thinking (this program) is a tribute to Southern Miss and to the college. It is part of a short list of (what makes this) a very fine school and of Dr. Gunther's (vision).

"When you walk in the building and see The Wall Street Journal on the kiosk, it adds a touch of class that is hard to replicate."



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March 4, 2004 12:45 PM