Skip to Content

### Celebrating 50 Years: U of A’s Master of Science Program in Operations Management

March 12, 2024

Global Campus

Doug Stringfellow of El Dorado was presented with his Master of Science in Operations Management diploma by Gregory Parnell, a professor of practice and the director of the College of Engineering’s programs in engineering management and operations management, during a presentation on June 22 as part of the Razorbug Diploma Tour.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the College of Engineering’s program. The graduate degree initiative, which commenced in 1974, has evolved into the university’s largest graduate degree program. Currently, the program boasts over 600 students and produces approximately 180 graduates annually.

The M.S.O.M. program is tailored to accommodate the schedules of working professionals, a tradition that has persisted over the years, predating the widespread adoption of online learning in higher education. With a student body exceeding 6,000 graduates, the program attracts individuals from various educational and professional backgrounds within Arkansas, the military, and beyond. The curriculum places a strong emphasis on strategy, project management, leadership, and the tenets of operations management, including quality management, process design, location and layout strategy, human resources, and supply chain management, among others.

Greg Parnell, the current program director, expressed his pride in leading the faculty and staff for the past decade.

“Graduates frequently share how the program has positively impacted their career prospects,” he remarked. “We are grateful for the unwavering support from the Global Campus and the Graduate School and International Education.”

The program’s motto, “Learn it Today, Use It Tomorrow,” underscores its practical approach, enabling students to apply their newly acquired knowledge directly in their professional environments. Courses, which run for eight weeks, are available online five times per year, supplemented by a selection of on-campus options. The program is supported by four full-time online faculty members and over 50 adjunct faculty with pertinent industry, business, or government backgrounds.

Kim Needy, the dean of the College of Engineering, commended the M.S.O.M. program on its illustrious 50-year journey.

“I extend my heartfelt congratulations to our outstanding M.S.O.M. program as it commemorates this remarkable milestone,” Needy stated. “This achievement is a testament to the dedication of our forward-thinking faculty, the resilience of our students, and the transformative influence we’ve had on the careers of numerous working professionals worldwide.”

Since fall 2017, supplementary programs have been introduced to enable students to earn credentials concurrently with their graduate studies. Today, students have a variety of options to choose from.

Chase Rainwater, the department head of industrial engineering, reflected on the program’s impact over the past five decades.

“It is truly remarkable to celebrate 50 years of the M.S.O.M. program, which has shaped the careers of countless students,” Rainwater remarked. “The program exemplifies excellence in every aspect, and the Department of Industrial Engineering takes great pride in having M.S.O.M. as an integral part of our department. We are appreciative of the dedicated faculty, staff, and leadership whose efforts have ensured the enduring success of this program.”

The program, established half a century ago, was designed to cater to the needs of military, civilian, and industrial personnel seeking graduate education. It was crafted for students from diverse academic backgrounds, particularly those balancing work commitments. Courses are available in Fayetteville for international students, university employees, local workers, and graduate transfer athletes. Presently, there are office locations in Fayetteville and Hurlburt Field, Florida, in addition to an instructional site at The Collaborative in Bentonville.