In response to significant growth within the MIS major over the last 4 years, The University of Alabama AIS chapter is maintaining a high-touch, high engagement of individual members through a set of affinity groups (Minority IS, Women in IT, and LGBT societies), the MIS Toastmasters chapter, the MIS Service organization, intramural sports teams, and professional development meetings, seminars and workshops.
The UA-AIS chapter has over 300 members and 9 constituent organizations that provide over 40 leadership positions. This level of involvement has been recognized by AIS with the Chapter being designated as the Distinguished Chapter in 2012 and given the prestigious AIS Student Chapter of the Year Award in 2011. In 2013, the Chapter hosted the International AIS Student Leadership Conference.
The AIS chapter hosts a wide variety of events each semester including:
- Career Prep day during which students are able to have their resumes reviewed by graduate students and MIS faculty, and have mock interviews conducted by alumni to help them prepare for upcoming events such as the Career Fair and company interviews.
- Each week a corporate partner speaks to the AIS chapter as whole, and interacts with the affinity groups through seminars and lunch & learns. Organizations coming in the past year include: Accenture, PwC, EY, GM, Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart, Cardinal Solutions, CTS, Microsoft, International Paper, Regions, AutoZone, Norfolk Southern, FedEx, P&G, and CGI.
- We live by the motto, Work Hard Play Hard. Our chapter is recognized on campus for its competitive intramural sports teams and has fielded championship-contending teams in basketball, softball, volleyball, dodgeball, kickball and flag football. Our most recent event (and most sought after) was Bowling Night where the Chapter members took over 30 bowling lanes. Chapter members came together to take time off from studying and project work to relax and catch up with each other, as well as meet the new members of the chapter while enjoying a night of bowling. These events allow the culture to be passed from class to class.
- Another way that the AIS chapter helps keep its students involved and up-to-date on current technologies is by hosting multiple Professional Development Workshops (PDWs) each week. These workshops can be run by faculty, graduate students, and even undergraduate students. The topics are driven by students and chosen based on what leading trends are in the profession, as well as helpful topics to prepare them for life after college. This semester we have hosted PDWs on Negotiations for Benefits, Preparing for the First 90 Days on the Job, Money Management, a variety of IT development topics, and many others that the members of the chapter have found very beneficial.
The University of Alabama has 35,000 students enrolled, with over 7,500 students in the Culverhouse College of Commerce. The MIS program has 350 undergraduate majors and 40 Master’s students. Bloomberg-Newsweek ranks the UA-MIS program at #8 nationally in 2013.
Over the next year, the UA-AIS chapter will be led by the new President, Josh Douglas, and the faculty sponsor, Dr. David Hale. Chapter leadership has set goals to increase membership to 350, become more involved in community outreach, and, of course, to continue preparing members for success in the IT profession. This goal will be accomplished through the efforts of the Recruitment, Retention, and Chapter Leadership executive committee continuing to extend the value of the AIS chapter and providing additional means for members to contribute back to the community. New activities for 2013-2014 include involving members in Relay for Life and Habitat for Humanity, sponsoring a Career Prep Gauntlet for students (which will be led by corporate partners), and continuing to host weekly events with companies who have a need for IT professionals. We have stretch goals for this year and we cannot wait to see what the results bring!
UA-AIS President, 2013-2014