As a University of Louisiana at Lafayette business graduate, Dr. Dione Davis has a lot in common with the online students she advises.
Although her undergraduate experience may have looked different from those enrolled in the online B.S.B.A. in Management program, Dr. Davis knows the juggling act many online students perform, balancing work, school, and personal responsibilities.
Value of Online Education
After earning her Master of Business Administration from UL Lafayette, Dr. Davis earned her doctoral degree through a hybrid program at the University of Southern Mississippi, dividing her efforts between on-campus courses and online coursework.
“I truly appreciated that format, given the time in my life that I decided to go back to school — engaged, kids, working,” she says. “Essentially, I created a third shift. I’d go to work and then I was a mother in the afternoons and at night. Then after everyone was in bed, I got to work on my degree.”
Having explored economic and workforce development as part of her doctorate, the Opelousas native is especially attuned to the obstacles in earning a degree as a non-traditional student.
“Looking at the demographics of our program right now, the majority of our students are re-entry or transfer students who are working full time, who have kids, who finally have the opportunity to come back to school,” she says. “As someone who’s participated in online programs and education, I understand at some point in our lives, it’s the only way we can afford ourselves with professional development or attaining those goals we sometimes put on the back burner for life and for kids.”
Several years ago, Dr. Davis was among the first in the B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration to teach courses online, so when she saw there was an opportunity to serve as the academic advisor for the college’s first 100% online undergraduate program, she jumped to apply.
“To see that the program had grown to the point of being offered fully online was very exciting and I wanted to be a part of that,” she says. “A lot of these students already in the workforce have worked their way up through the trenches and learned as they’ve gone. But our program is going to give them the opportunity to get the degree and make sure they have the tools in their toolbox to be successful and continue growing in their jobs and fields, which I think is awesome.”
Dr. Davis says she had imagined leaving Acadiana to work for corporate America. But opportunities kept her close to home and close to family.
From 2005 to 2015, Dr. Davis was an instructor within the UL Lafayette Department of Management, teaching business communication.
Since then, Dr. Davis has been raising her three kids while working as a consultant and managing her own business. She was also named one of 20 under 40 by The Daily Advertiser and The705 in 2018. The award honors professionals under 40 who, “help move Lafayette forward through their leadership skills and community service,” according to The Advertiser.
Dr. Davis applies the philosophies she learned in her years of business practice and education to her relationship with UL Lafayette online students and her role within the Moody College of Business.
“I’m still operating in that consultancy role. I always want my clients to have what they ask for and even more,” she says. “It’s more than advising. It’s strategic planning, ensuring we provide good [student support], and ensuring we meet their needs in a timely manner.
“We’re trying to lay a solid foundation so we can see the same growth in this program as we’ve seen in our MBA program online. We’re competitive in this college; we like to win. We want all of our programs to be at the top of the charts. But it requires a strong foundation, a strategic plan for growth and excellent student support.”
In business, part of providing excellent service is filling customers’ needs with a quality product. That, says Dr. Davis, is like what the B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration is doing by providing an exceptional student experience through engaging classes and personal connections.
“We have a lot of things that work well together to produce a [high-quality program],” Dr. Davis says. “Within the College of Business, we have some of the best faculty members. I’d put us up against any other University.
“Our program truly prepares our students for the real-world. We have so many opportunities for research, for them to work with local companies, and to gain the skills necessary to graduate and get into the job market and be successful.
“It makes us a total package for those interested in business.”
And as with many consultant-client relationships, everyone has a role in the outcome.
“Online students need maturity, discipline, time management skills, the ability to work independently, but also to communicate your needs effectively and in a timely manner,” she says. “You have to plan carefully because you have so much else going on in your life.
“We can give you material, we can give you the books, but you have to possess the internal drive and motivation to get it done. That’s something that we can’t give you. You have to come with that.”
Gain the skills to achieve your career goals through the online B.S.B.A. in Management program. Request more information today to learn how soon you could begin courses.