Columbia College is known for its personal attention to students. Classes are intentionally small, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1 and no teaching assistants, and many faculty members aren't just teachers, they are practitioners in their field.
Collegiate DECA, SIFE and Mock Trial teams win prestigious awards.
One such teacher-practitioner is Assistant Professor of Business Administration Angie Kinworthy, who also serves as Collegiate DECA advisor. Before coming to Columbia College, Kinworthy held leadership roles with the Missouri Department of Economic Development, including director of international marketing.
It wasn't just Kinworthy's experience that propelled her Collegiate DECA students to competition at the international level, held in Orlando, Fla., April 13-16, of course. Kinworthy is quick to point out her students' international backgrounds, savvy and passion.
In February, Columbia College Collegiate DECA sent 11 students originally from Vietnam, Kyrgyzstan and other nations to the statewide competition held at the Lake of the Ozarks, and all the students received some form of recognition, including first place in International Business. Six students qualified to compete at DECA's international conference against more than 1,000 students from all over the country who excelled in their local regions.
The Columbia College International Business first place team was comprised of Aigul Kubatbekova, originally from Bishkek, the capital and largest city of Kyrgyzstan, and Matias Costas, from Bolivia. In rapid, precise English, Kubatbekova, who will graduate this May with a degree in international business, describes a competition requiring lightning business reflexes and a deep understanding of global business. She and Costas were asked how they could increase a theoretical, slumping book publishing company's sales in an increasingly electronic world.
Go international, she and Costas declared, sending the more daring works to Latin and South America, the more conservative ones to China. Books and literacy are still prized south of the U.S. border and aside from Cuba and Venezuela, all these nations are open democracies, said Costas. And while China may be a rigidly controlled society, dictating more conservative books, China's huge growth potential can’t be ignored, Kubatbekova said.
Collegiate DECA is a professional business organization that provides students opportunities in numerous business professions, including entrepreneurship, financial management, marketing management, international marketing and management and other business-oriented careers. The organization also provides leadership seminars and workshops, introducing students to key business organizations and their leadership.
Another dedicated, passionate business professor is Dr. Sean Siebert, Students in Free Enterprise advisor. The SIFE team also did extraordinarily well this spring in their first year of competition, named First Runner-Up and Rookie of the Year in regional competition for their presentation of a multi-pronged business plan to revive economically-depressed Cuba, Mo.
Siebert calls this real-small-town, research-intensive style of teaching service learning, and says it's a win-win-win for communities, students — and the professors who learn, too. Before coming to Columbia College, Siebert had his William Woods University students similarly approach, analyze and craft economic plans for other struggling Midwestern communities.
For Siebert, it's personal. He's from Cuba and hates what's happened as industry pulled out and blight settled into the Ozarks town on I-44.
And Columbia College's Mock Trial Team, which helps students acquire a working knowledge of our judicial system, develop analytical and communication skills and gain an understanding of their obligations and responsibilities as members of society, recently qualified for the national contest for the first time in the college's history. The Columbia College Mock Trial Team is advised by Barry Langford, assistant professor and chair of Criminal Justice Administration.
The team defeated very good teams from Culver Stockton, Canton, Mo.; two separate teams from Washington University, St. Louis; and from Rhodes College, Memphis, Tenn. in the regional competition in St. Louis.
The team then traveled to Hamilton, Ohio, in March. Says Langford, "We went two for six but won two individual awards. I was very pleased with it on the whole."
Langford is another outstanding teacher, having won the Donald K. Anderson Award for Teaching Excellence and being listed in "Who's Who Among America's Teachers" not once but twice.
Congratulations to all the students who worked so hard and the dedicated professors who advise them.