Aspiring businessmen and women are always looking to transform their careers with an MBA Degree from a top and best business school no matter where. The best MBA colleges and universities are dedicated to training students to effectively shape the future and become future leaders in this ever-changing business world along with qualities of interpersonal growth at its core. West Texas A&M University is one such institute that provides academic excellence and overall support to the upcoming generation that wishes to grow in the world of business.
Dr. Amjad Abdullat, Ed.D., the Dean of the Engler College of Business and Professor of Computer Information Systems at West Texas A&M University teaches courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels in the areas of Management Information Systems, Database Design System Analysis and Design, Object-Oriented Analysis and Design, and Telecommunications Management. He is one of the founding principles and a member of the board of directors of edmin.com which is a comprehensive technology enterprise providing learning organizations with the next generation of web-based products, applications, and services.
West Texas A&M University’s journey and its prominence in the business domain
West Texas A&M University has a long 112-year history of serving the Texas Panhandle and its Communities. The university started as West Texas State Normal College which was developed by a grant from the Thirty-First Texas legislature to support the growing West Texas region. The campus has continued a tradition of serving its community throughout its history. The Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business has been a part of the curricular fabric of the University since the 1930s, which was not long after the institution rebranded to be known as the West Texas State Teachers College.
The first Bachelor of Business Administration programs began in 1935. By 1963, the University’s emphasis had extended significantly beyond teacher education and training and resulted in a change in the name of the institution to West Texas State University. By 1990, West Texas State University had joined the Texas A&M System of universities to become West Texas A&M University.
The fortunes of both the University and the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business enjoyed steady growth and impact on the community for most of the 21st century, with growth in enrollments, growth in peer recognition by way of university, college, and program rankings, and insignificant investments in both campus and virtual learning environments and facilities. Both the college and the university were early adopters of a focus on continuous improvement in online learning environments. Perhaps as a testament to the remote and frontier history of the region, with a diversity of local industries ranging from agriculture, energy, finance, logistics, and aviation, the innovative and pioneering spirit has always been alive at WT.
Serendipity favors the prepared – a truism in life and business
In 2007, Dr. Neil Terry became the dean of the College of Business and started on the vital journey towards earning AACSB accreditation for the college, which was achieved in 2012. In what was an undoubtedly transformative process, improvements in faculty credentials and expertise, program improvement, donor relations, and student support enjoyed significant effort to broadly grow the depth and competency of the college. With astute leadership and forward-thinking, the college is particularly focused and oriented towards expanding capacity and competency in online instruction and program availability.
With AACSB accreditation in place, the college was well-positioned to capitalize on prior investments, an expanding economy, high-quality faculty and programs, peer acclaim with rankings, and a competitive price-point to significantly grow participation in online graduate programs. This growth rapidly increased the service breadth and impact of the college to a broad audience, which further served to increase the prestige of the college. Being an earlier adopter in the space provided the edge that witnessed tenfold growth in online graduate enrollments over 10 years.
Culture, integrity, and core values of West Texas A&M University
Hard work and focus produce the results and culture that sustains the college. West Texas A&M University’s mission statement focuses on orientation to a global marketplace and ethical awareness. Further, the college is fundamentally nurtured and supported by a distinct regional culture that focuses on hard work, family values, and interpersonal integrity. Whereas it may be off-putting to some, Texas Panhandle students are raised in households where “yes, sir” and “yes ma’am” are as common as “howdy” is as a greeting. The result is an atmosphere conducive to integrity and, in turn, tends to feed and reinforce integrity.
In 2017, under President Walter Wendler’s leadership, the University developed a long-range strategic plan entitled “WT125.” Among the more compelling principles outlined in the plan are servant leadership, a regional focus, inclusive and participatory decision-making, and human centricity. “These reflect well on the College’s service to the region and create an opportunity to export our values and culture to those who participate in the WT experience via distance learning online. Increasingly, in the face of growing competition in the online space, the ability to convey distinct character and identity becomes important,” Dr. Abdullat explains.
Key to facing the growing competition in the educational field: innovation and creativity
“Innovation and creation often come from investments in people and the ideas they produce,” says Dr. Abdullat. As an example, the College had invested in an in-house, student-run digital agency we call MediaMinds. As these students interact with the community, students, and faculty to capture vignettes and the essence of college, the college increases its awareness of its societal impact.
Their ability to capture and shape their digital footprint enables both learning processes of continuous improvement, as well as an ability to leverage the assets of the college. “A focus on promotion may not seem an obvious contributor to an ability to remain abreast to change, but what it enables for the college is a heightened self-awareness that contributes to a growth mindset; we can see ourselves in the mirror and focus on how others see us,” he states.
The key to being a reputed college in the field of education
Dr. Abdullat believes great leadership is the key to West Texas A&M University becoming a reputed college in the field of education.
He further states that Dr. Neil Terry’s commitment and focus on engaging in the transformative processes that lead to AACSB accreditation produced a bundle of positive effects. This underscores that a focus on fundamentals, while never guaranteed in and of itself, enables the embrace of opportunities when it arrives.
Dr. Abdullat’s responsibilities and achievements as dean of the university
As the dean, Dr. Abdullat’s responsibility is to provide the leadership that focuses on the assets of the college to positively impact the stakeholders of our programs. “In doing so, I must work hard to secure the resources necessary to support the college: quality faculty, innovative and supportive teaching, and a collegial atmosphere that leads to shared governance,” he explains.
In 2017, Paul Engler and the Paul F. and Virginia J. Engler Foundation agreed to donate no less than $1 million per year for no less than 80 years to West Texas A&M University. In response, The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents granted naming rights to the Paul Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences and the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business.
The generous gift represents at least $500,000 a year into the foreseeable future for the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business. Each year the college dean works with the Engler Foundation to distribute contributions for endowments to benefit five different areas – scholarships, professorships, named spaces, community outreach, and strategic planning/improvement. In particular, since 2017, the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business has added close to $2 million to scholarship, professorship, and related student support endowments and assets.
Encouraging the staff of the university to stay motivated
Trust, purpose, appreciation, and responsibility draw the best out of staff. The college recognizes outstanding staff contributions, both from within and broadly across the university, annually. “The staff are student-centered and are encouraged to provide innovative ideas and given the freedom and accountability to implement these ideas,” states Dr. Abdullat.
Plans for the future and growth of West Texas A&M University
The future resides in providing relevance and meaning to all students, here in the region and beyond, with an opportunity to participate in a community of learning that distinctly and uniquely reflects the culture and values of the University and the Texas Panhandle region. Online education has provided greater access for many, many learners are not seeking generic experience, but rather the authentic experiences that come from interacting with faculty who are grounded in context, focus, and place. Dr. Abdullat says, “We are proud to serve the Texas Panhandle community and are confident that a local focus can easily be shared with all who want to participate in our community, regardless of their location. This is a distinct characteristic of how information technologies can bring us closer together and share experiences.”