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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

College of Business Administration earns certification from American Society of Transportation & Logistics

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URI becomes just 22nd U.S. university to attain status in supply chain management

KINGSTON, R.I. – August 18, 2008 – Continuing to work ahead of the curve, the University of Rhode Island College of Business Administration has earned Certification in Transportation and Logistics from the American Society of Transportation and Logistics.

URI earned the certification just one year after the supply chain management major was created at the school. It is the first New England university – and just the 22nd U.S. university overall - to be able to offer the certification to its students, joining such schools as The Ohio State University, the University of Maryland, The Pennsylvania State University and the University of Tennessee.

The American Society of Transportation certification is the second major certification program URI has earned in the last year. In November of 2007, URI became just the 13th U.S. university to be named a Chartered Financial Analyst Program Partner by the CFA Institute. URI and Michigan State University are the only schools certified by both organizations.

“The schools that have the blanket certification are all leading business schools in the country,” said Doug Hales, URI assistant professor of supply chain management. “This is a fast-growing industry, and URI is certainly ahead of the curve in the New England region.”

With the certification, URI supply chain management students can earn their certification upon graduation if they take electives within the major.

“Many companies prefer this certification as a contingency for employment,” Hales said. “New graduates from our program will be more attractive because they already have their certification, and they will have more real-world experience in their field.”

When it created the supply chain management major, URI created an advisory council with executives from several major companies, including CVS Caremark, Hasbro, Ocean Spray and Coastal Extreme Brewing Co., makers of Newport Storm. URI also works with other companies, such as Richmond-based Vibco Vibrators, Inc.

Through connections made with those companies, URI students are able to get strong internships in the field.

The supply chain management major began at URI in the fall of 2007. Made possible through a grant received by the URI Transportation Center, the major encompasses the strategic planning, design, operations and improvement of all activities involved in the procurement, manufacture and delivery of goods and services to meet customer requirements.

The American Society of Transportation and Logistics – the certifying agency - has a Chinese branch, giving URI an affiliation on an international scale.

“Customers in the supply chain management industry are global. Suppliers are global,” Hales said. “That is how our students think. We can’t just think nationally.”

URI has 25 students who have declared supply chain management as a major, including six incoming freshman. Eventually the program could have up to 50 students in the program.

In August, Jennifer Wilcoxon became the first student to earn the degree from URI, and within days of completing her coursework accepted a job with Raytheon Co. A double major in international business and supply chain management, Wilcoxon had multiple job offers, including one from The Boeing Co.

“There are exciting job opportunities in this field,” Hales said. “The work we are doing shows that our students are being well trained and ready to enter the work force.”