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Undergraduate IT Minors Collaborate Outside of University Community

This semester, Monmouth students from different academic disciplines came together for their Information Systems Project Management class (IT-450) to develop a website for a local business, the Children’s Center of Monmouth County. Jamie Kretsch, MS, Senior Specialist Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Software, teaches the course.

“IT-450 is the Capstone course in the IT Minor program, a 15-credit minor that provides students from all majors with strong skills in the technology field,” said Kretsch. “IT-450 also satisfies students’ Experiential Education requirement since teams of interdisciplinary students come together to build websites and database systems for local businesses, organizations, and individuals.”

Kretsch noted that one of the indicators for the IT Minor Program’s success is when alumni of the program reach out to her, believing their place of employment could likewise benefit from a website. “The Children’s Center of Monmouth County is an example of this; their Quality, Compliance, and Event Management Specialist contacted me last semester, reminding me that she worked on a Daycare website while she was in the Minor, and wondered if we could develop one for their Adult Day Habilitation Program. The site was such a success that they asked us to also build a site for their K-12 school,” said Kretsch.

Zareen Shueib, MBA, Monmouth alum and Quality, Compliance, and Event Management Specialist for the Children’s Center, said, “As a Monmouth alum, it feels really nice working with the other community members. While I cherished my time as an undergrad and graduate student, I have enjoyed this new role as a professional collaborating with current students. It keeps me connected to the University.”

Shueib praised the character of their team’s group of IT students. “All the students were driven, passionate, and overall great to work with. I appreciate the initiative taken on their part,” said Shueib.

Sheuib credited the University in effectively preparing its students for the real world, “From facilitating teamwork to professors simulating real-life, organizational setups in their classrooms, Monmouth takes all the initiatives in preparing students to be capable contributors of society.”

Alan Fazzari, Ed.D., MBA, MA, Adjunct Professor of Management and Leadership and Chief Quality Strategy Officer of the Children’s Center, agreed with Shueib, taking on the perspective of an educator as a business adjunct professor here at Monmouth. “I strongly feel the Monmouth University Management Department is on the right path by paving relationships with community partners. Not only with the large companies, but also the small and mid-size ones where shirt sleeves are rolled up and hands get dirty doing the hard work necessary to succeed,” he explained. “If professors, like Professor Kretsch, continue to allocate time in their classes to show more of the practice in conjunction with the theory, the result for graduates speak for itself.”

Oliver Jervis and Burke Gray are two senior, IT minors who were in a group involved on the Children’s Center website build. Jervis said, “My group and I were assigned to the Children’s Center, and we worked closely with Alan, Zareen and Phylice who were all amazing— they had a great vision of what they wanted their website to look like and gave us a solid blueprint to achieve a successful outcome.”

Gray added, “It was a pleasure to work alongside the Children’s Center in bringing their new and improved web page to life. We had the honor of touring the facility and meeting some of the staff and students to ensure that both myself and my team could build something that met the needs of their business.”

Jervis described this project in three words: exciting, rewarding, and challenging. He explained, “Exciting because it was at least my first time in college I felt that my ‘classwork’ was making an impact and contributing to something bigger. Rewarding because the teachers and students at the Children’s Center deserve the best, and I felt that the final product should catch the eye of anyone interested in their unique services/programs. Finally, challenging because it was a commitment beyond a normal class.”

Jervis summarized, “The entire project pushed me and my teammates to really get our priorities straight. We got an entire semester’s worth of work done in just eight weeks.”

Kretsch, who will be retiring after this semester, is excited to see how the IT Minor Program will grow in the coming years. “Although I will be retiring after teaching Information Technology and Computer Science here at Monmouth for 34 years, I hope that my IT graduates will still remain in touch with me so that I can direct them to whomever takes over responsibility for the IT-450 course,” said Kretsch. “So many students contact me, even years after graduation, explaining how the IT Minor helped shape the direction that would take in their career,” she concluded. “As a professor, that is the greatest compliment I can receive.”