College Bolsters Business Class Offerings

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Decisions about money come into play at all stages of life and a degree in business can help you understand the outcome of those decisions.

Gila Community College employed eight business education instructors the Spring 2007 semester. They taught subjects ranging from the basics of accounting to small business management, computers and economics.

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Students and teachers of the Introduction to Media Communications and the Small Business Management course collaborate at Gila Community College to create commercials.

Brandon Riley is at the end of his freshman year, pursuing a degree in business administration.

Marnie Hendrickson brought "real world experience" to the accounting class.

He and his classmates have learned to do spreadsheets by hand, even though everything is on the computer and is automated. By knowing both methods, the theory of the checks and balances comes into play.

During the one-hour computer lab for accounting, students solve real-life accounting scenarios.

It is knowledge that Riley has put to good use in his job as the revenue reporter for a local Internet advertising company.

He will be back in the fall to take Introduction to Business and Small Business Management.

Vicki Van Camp is working on her degree in Early Education. She wants to be a teacher, but, she said, "It would be nice to start a business I could grow and then sell. Then I could start my own school."

Starting a business requires carefully thought-out steps that lead to a plan.

That is where instructor Charles Schillingburg comes in. He taught small business management with an entrepreneurial emphasis, from initial startup stages, through day-to-day operations.

For example, Van Camp wrote a model business plan for VMV Cleaning Services. She had to decide what specific cleaning services she would offer, what segment of the market would be her customers and how she would market her services to those potential customers.

She had to predict how she would handle it when an employee quit or needed to be fired. She had to answer questions like, "Where would her supplies come from?" and "How would she pay for them?"

Schillingburg's students worked in partnership with instructor Bruce Lowell's students in the media communications course, to create mock commercials and promotions.

QuickBooks is one of the many accounting programs used by individuals and business to keep track of their finances. As a business course, QuickBooks is a required course for several vocational majors and there is a prerequisite.

As a computer course, there are no prerequisites and may be used as an elective for some business majors.

"The courses teach basic QuickBooks skills," said instructor Jacque LeSueur. "Once the basics are learned, the program can be set up to accommodate the various accounting needs of each person."

"A good selection of business courses is important to a rural community," said dean Harry Swanson. "Economic development is the way rural communities will survive and anyone thinking of changing careers should return to school to spiff up their skills."

To that end, Todd Longfellow and Charles Young teach computers.

Young's students concentrate on the basics from keyboarding to e-mail to using basic Microsoft products.

"Computers for beginners is a popular class," he said.

Longfellow teaches basic computer systems.

"It is more of an entry level view of how systems are put together," he said.

Longfellow will teach PC troubleshooting and repair this summer, for people who know "the business end of a screwdriver."

Beginning programming will be among the courses offered in the fall.

According to Swanson, GCC is ensuring that the college is offering enough classes for a student who is full time to complete their associate of business transferable degree, by the student taking a full load plus summer classes.

"It is difficult, but possible, for a student, but the program is only sustainable with instructors," Swanson said.

The tentative offerings for fall business and computer courses at GCC's Payson campus are: Fundamentals of accounting and lab, Real estate fundamentals, Human resource management, Introduction to business, Principals of macroeconomics, Legal environment of business, Uses of accounting information, Computers for beginners, Introduction to computers, beginning, intermediate and advanced Microsoft Access, QuickBooks, Internet, beginning, intermediate and advanced Microsoft Word and Web development II.

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