2017 MSI Business of the University Conference

November 13, 2017

Prairie View A&M University recently hosted the second annual Minority Serving Institution Business of the University Conference. For three days, business professionals from MSIs across the country were able to receive insightful information that empowered them to facilitate an institutional commitment to service and excellence. This year’s theme, “Revitalizing Your Business Model for Student Success” focused on Student Success: Increasing Return on Investment, Face Time: Facilitating a Commitment to Excellence, diversification of University revenue streams and economics of educational equality. “The intent of the conference is to share best practices amongst Minority Serving Institutions,” said Cory Bradford, senior vice president for business affairs at PVAMU, “Overall I think the conference was a success.”

He said it is important that the business side of the University sees students’ academic success as a shared responsibility. Business Affairs plays an important role in allocating resources for students and faculty to enhance student success. “We brought in exceptional speakers to the conference from around the country that presented on a variety of topics,” said Bradford. His goal was to get participants to understand the importance of their role and bring about innovation to solve solutions. “We are typically problems solvers so we have to step out of our box and provide that innovation expertise,” said Bradford.

The BOUC committee wanted to keep the conference intimate capping the attendance at 50 participants, including facilitators, so they could develop a networking working capacity to encourage sharing amongst each other. Rebecca Faison, director of continuing education, assisted in organizing the conference. She noticed that when attending other larger conferences, some topics of interest did not apply to minority-serving institutions, “If our mission is different, the methods that we need to go about to meet the expectations of that mission have to be different, especially from a financial standpoint,” said Faison. She talked about how the BOUC focused on breaking down silos and the disconnect between business affairs and academics. “How do you break down the silos of the business office to serve the students?” said Faison, “Let’s bring the students to the CFOs; How do the decisions that you make impact the students?”

Students were able to participate in the conference. Members of Student Government Association and the Royal Court shared their experience with some of the different organizations on campus during the Face Time: Facilitating A Commitment to Excellence session. “If we can break down university silos and speak to each other about best practices that we have amid MSIs then I think we would be a force to be reckoned with,” said Faison. The conference has received a great deal of positive feedback from participants via the BOUC phone application. “People came and it turned out well,” said Faison.