BILT sets priorities for future academic offerings

Fri Oct 20, 2017 at 03:01 PM

In an effort to bridge the gap between the expectations of business and the realities of education, North Arkansas College’s IT-Networking program recently hosted its second annual BILT meeting.

Members of the BILT (Business & Industry Leadership Team) composed of a cross-section of local business and education leaders, addressed a list of 17 KSAs (Knowledge, Skill, Ability) to determine how prevalent the individual topics and areas of study needed to be in the curriculum studied by Northark’s IT and networking students.

The KSAs covered a large spectrum of technological issues such as operating system maintenance, troubleshooting, network security, cloud services and wireless infrastructure.

According to recent statistics shared at the meeting, 96 percent of college instructors and administrators nation-wide felt they were doing good preparing IT students for the professional world, while only 11 percent of businesses felt the same.

“Business needs to co-lead any work in technology,” said Dr. Laura Berry, North Arkansas College dean of arts, science, business and IT. “We want to listen to businesses because they hire our students. They have their finger on the pulse of the most current technologies and know how to advise us on preparing academic offerings that create a well-trained workforce.”

During the meeting that is exactly what members of the area business community did. Each of the BILT members voted on the individual KSAs, ranking them on a scale from 1-4 to determine how thoroughly each issue should be taught.

“We take the priorities that were identified and try to fit them into the curriculum schedule,” said Craig Cates, Northark network systems administration instructor.

The BILT members ranked the KSAs for the knowledge that they hoped to see in graduates taking on entry-level positions at their businesses.

Members of the Network/Cyber BILT are Adam Archer, Harrison School District; William Bogle, North Arkansas Regional Medical Center; Hal Borland, FedEx; Shannon Brooks, Brooks-Jeffrey Marketing; Clay Burtman, Cox Communications; Mark Chastain, Bear State Bank; Dale Donovan, Cox Communications; Donnie Lee, OUR Co-op; Dwane Malotte, Carroll Electric Co-op; Ryan Pena, FedEx; Bo Phillips, Ritter Communications; Ryan Rose, Thorpe Plant Services; Shannon Snow, Equity Bank; Bruce Upton, Stone Bank; Bill Walker, ConneX; Rick Williams, North Arkansas College; David Wilson, City of Harrison; and Russell Winterberg, JMARK.

North Arkansas College is committed to providing an educational and work environment for its students, faculty, and staff that is free from sexual discrimination including sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual violence. No form of sexual discrimination will be tolerated. See the full North Arkansas College Title IX Policy and Procedures for the specific definitions of sexual harassment and sexual violence, including examples of such conduct.