Two decades ago, Temple University founded a new department at the Fox School: Management Information Systems (MIS). The timing was prescient; the following two decades would bring seismic technological changes that put IT front and center in the business world.
For 20 years, the program’s innovative curriculum, research, and thought leadership have empowered graduates to thrive in the modern digital economy.
To mark the twentieth anniversary of MIS, an invitation-only Digitization 20 conference took place on November 7. Experts from academia and industry alike spoke about how digitization will change business, education, and society in the next 20 years.
“Prediction is hard. Still, the thought-provoking format of the Digitization 20 conference provided useful ideas on how to drive business forward to a better future,” says Sunil Misra, president of Emtec, Inc. and a member of the IT advisory board.
“It was great to have such illustrious colleagues and friends in academia and industry participate in the celebration,” says David Schuff, professor and department chair. “Breaking from tradition, we successfully tried a new format to bring the different voices together.”
Richard Watson, Regents Professor and J. Rex Fuqua Distinguished Chair for Internet Strategy at the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia, spoke at Digitization 20. “I talked about the most important digital transformation, the transformation to a digital electricity grid system,” he says.
He was most excited about the abbreviated talks. “We heard so many different perspectives in a single day,” he says. “Quite a few people talked about AI and the potential impact on the job market, and I’m still thinking a lot about that.”
Jason Thatcher, professor and MIS endowed faculty fellow at the Culverhouse College of Business at the University of Alabama, says he’s never seen industry and academia mix like this in his career. “Normally, with a high-profile person from industry, they come in with a handler, give their talk, and then they leave. But we all sat together and had conversations throughout the day,” says Thatcher, who presented on the dangers of big data.
Bruce Fadem, chair of the IT advisory board and retired VP and CIO of Wyeth, also noted the unusual blend of industry and academia. “The speakers, participants, and ideas at the Digitization 20 conference were excellent. The conference further demonstrates the expertise of the MIS department in integrating academic and industry perspectives,” says Fadem.
John Shain, president of Automated Financial Systems and the chair of the Fox School’s board of visitors, echoes that sentiment. “It was wonderful to participate and speak at the 20th anniversary celebration conference of the MIS department. It is inspiring what the department has achieved in 20 years,” he says.