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Faculty share driving factors behind Information Systems graduate program

by South University
November 18, 2015 Just what is the role of information technology (IT) and information systems (IS) in modern organizations? According to two of our faculty members, these areas are integral to every business in every industry.

As part of the team developing the curriculum for South University’s Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS) program, Jason Crittenden and Angelo Thalassinidis focused on answering one question. A question that was not what courses students should take, but instead “What competencies do we want our students to learn?”

After looking closely at the needs of today’s businesses, they arrived at three answers.

1. Data Analysis and Management

With all the talk about the value of big data for businesses, the team identified data analysis and management as an essential skill for information systems professionals.

“Big data is here to stay,” says Dr. Crittenden, Department Chair of Information Systems and Technology at South University, Richmond. “There is an extraordinary amount of unstructured data that resides in our world and companies are begging people to sit down with it and try to find out what they can do with all of this data.”

Both Dr. Crittenden and Dr. Thalassinidis believe this data is being used in fascinating ways--and that the possibilities only get more interesting with evolving technology.

“Once you connect all the data that we have or that we can gain access to with natural language processing and artificial intelligence, we're going to see a number of developments that will have tremendous business applications,” says Dr. Thalassinidis, Director of the Department of Information Systems and Technology at South University, Tampa.

2. IT Governance and Compliance

With the constant influx of new or updated regulations from the federal government, IT governance and compliance is the second area the MSIS team identified as essential.

“From HIPAA to Sarbanes-Oxley, you are hard-pressed to find a regulation that gets released by the Federal Government that does not have some slant where IT needs to be involved, whether that's in the health world, the criminal justice world, or the educational world,” says Dr. Crittenden, who also notes that many job listings today want people skilled in IT auditing.

3. Emerging Technology

With technology changing every day, people who can very quickly research, learn, adopt, and implement new technologies are crucial.

Dr. Thalassinidis expects that much of this new technology will be concentrated in specific areas. “Where we see innovative technologies being used now is to address business ambiguity. We're going to see more of that,” he says. “We're going to also see the connectivity of everything exploding even more. Because of technology, small companies can act big, and big companies can act small and give you that personalized experience.”

However, what exactly new technology will look like, reminds Dr. Crittenden, is hard to predict. “Even the brightest of individuals out there, the Stephen Hawkings of the world, the Elon Musks, the people who sit and think about how these things are going to happen in the future, they really have no idea either.”

Combining These Competencies: Bigger, Faster, Stronger

If students develop competencies in these three areas of data analysis and management, IT governance and compliance, and emerging technologies, says Dr. Crittenden, they will gain valuable skills for their professional future.

He says, “It will make them better managers of technology, it will make them better analysts, and I think students will be, what I always like to say, ‘bigger, faster and stronger.’”

Dr. Thalassinidis adds, “The MSIS program addresses all aspects of information systems, whether that is their development and maintenance or even retirement, in a way that will reduce risk to the business and enable businesses to continue moving forward.”

Plus, what you learn, says Dr. Crittenden, can stand the test of time. “We have brought components into the program—risk management, compliance, data management, the emerging technology pieces—that really prepare students for not just jobs that are happening today, but jobs that will be available a year from now, two years from now, ten years from now.”

To learn more about the MSIS program, explore our related posts or visit our program detail pages.

Programs, credential levels, technology, and scheduling options vary by school and are subject to change. Not all online programs are available to residents of all U.S. states. Administrative office: South University, 709 Mall Boulevard, Savannah, GA 31406-4805 © 2015 South University. All rights reserved. Our email address is

The information and opinions expressed herein represent the independent opinions and ideas of the faculty and/or staff and do not represent the opinions or ideas of South University.

South University, Tampa is licensed by the Commission for Independent Education, Florida Department of Education. Additional information regarding this institution may be obtained by contacting the Commission at 325 West Gaines Street, Suite 1414, Tallahassee, FL 323099-0400, toll-free telephone number (888)224-6684.

South University, Tampa is licensed by the Florida Commission for Independent Education, License No. 3284.

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Tags: IT information technology new programs information systems IS MSIS

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