Opportunities Abound: New Programs Support Regional Business Needs

Over the past few years, the Mike Cottrell College of Business has worked extensively on understanding the needs of organizations surrounding UNG’s five regional campuses. As a result of this work, the college has developed areas of focus that bring business and technology together to prepare students to meet the needs of these organizations. There are five programs in particular that will directly impact our region over the next few years.


Payment processing firms in Georgia handle 70 percent of all U.S. credit, debit and gift card transactions. While many of these companies first moved to Atlanta in 1987, the FinTech industry is becoming increasingly focused on disruption with technologies like cryptocurrency and mobile payments. Through a partnership with the Georgia FinTech Academy, UNG will begin offering FinTech-related courses during the spring of 2020, allowing business and technology students to be on the cutting edge of this continually growing industry.

“We are already in discussions about where we want to go with FinTech in the future – to expand our programs and opportunities for our students at the undergraduate and graduate levels,” said Dr. Mary Gowan, dean of the Mike Cottrell College of Business.


When it comes to digital marketing, Mike Cottrell College of Business students currently receive the kind of real-world training that ensures future career success. Students pursuing a concentration in digital marketing earn certification in Google Ads, Google Analytics, Hootsuite and Hubspot as part of the core curriculum. These industry proficiencies across multiple platforms allow students to stand out and gain the attention of prospective employers.

In addition to resume building for students, UNG’s digital marketing program provides benefit to the community. Working hand-in-hand with local non-profit entities, digital marketing students research and develop targeted social media strategies for social channels such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for clients. This past year, students worked with The Community Helping Place, UNG Food Pantry on UNG’s Gainesville Campus, Gainesville Theatre Alliance and UNG Press.


During the fall of 2018, the Mike Cottrell College of Business introduced a new degree concentration in Supply Chain and Logistics to meet local demand. The state of Georgia is the home of the Southeast’s largest railroad network, 10th largest airport in the U.S. for cargo, one of the top 25 shipping ports by volume in North America, and Gainesville, Georgia – home to one of UNG’s five campuses – was just named an inland port for the state.

And while there is certainly demand, there is also consistent change in logistics. To bring current changes to the classroom, supply chain professors have partnered with area logistics companies like Syfan Logistics to help bring current topics to the classroom. “We are constantly reviewing curriculum with industry experts to ensure that our content meets the requirements and needs for their future employers,” said Dr. Cesar Ayala, assistant professor of management.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in accounting and auditing is expected to grow 10% from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average of all other occupations. Fortunately, UNG accounting graduates are well known in the North Georgia region for their business-ready acumen and attention to detail.

However, in an increasingly competitive business environment, additional tools and knowledge are needed. The Master of Accountancy (MAcc) program now offered on the Gainesville campus provides students an important foundation for long-term success and sets graduates apart from their colleagues. The MAcc program is specifically built to assist students in meeting both the education requirements to be a Certified Public Accountant and to prepare them for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam.


The number of cybersecurity jobs continues to outpace the number of trained experts in the field. In mid-May 2018, CyberSeek.org indicated that there were more than 10,500 cybersecurity jobs currently open in Georgia, from among the 285,000 nationwide; the website categorizes Georgia’s supply of cybersecurity workers as “very low.” Also, the impending move of U.S. Army Cyber Command to Georgia’s Fort Gordon, which will be led by UNG alumnus Maj. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, raises Georgia’s national profile in the cybersecurity field. With such high demand, it was only natural that UNG began offering a new degree in cybersecurity in the Fall of 2018.

Since the degree’s inception, UNG has been designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency. UNG has offered a concentration in information assurance and security since 2004. The new cybersecurity degree program is an extension of this concentration and creates a more focused program aligned with the National Incentive for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Cybersecurity Workforce Framework, also referred to as the NICE Framework – containing categories of securely provision, protect and defend, analyze and investigate.