Dr. Jeannie Pridmore, a Professor of Management Information Systems (MIS) in the Richards College of Business, was honored with the 2022 Felton Jenkins Jr. Hall of Fame Faculty Award presented by the University System of Georgia.
Dr. Pridmore was recognized with the award due to her hard work with MIS and the study abroad program between the University System of Georgia and the University of Münster in Germany. This program compiles students from UWG as well as other schools in the USG system.
“It is a huge honor, especially given how the past couple of years have been and it was something that was a bit unexpected,” said Dr. Pridmore. “I know there are a lot of good professors in the state and a lot of competition.”
In this program, students will typically work with one another virtually before traveling to Germany and working with the European Research Center of Information Systems. There, they continue to work on MIS projects and present it to a German company or organization. However, they have not been able to travel to Germany since 2019 because of COVID-19. With traveling out the window, Pridmore created a virtual program for both the USG and German students.
“In MIS, there is a very hands-on process called ‘design thinking’. It is a user-centered design where you give a problem and students are supposed to be broad about the problem,” said Pridmore. “Students will brainstorm with sticky notes then organize the sticky notes. After that, you create a plan to attack the problem and move forward.”
Many experts that Pridmore spoke to said she would not be able to do the design thinking virtually with students because there is a process to it.
“We used VR headsets and a program called ‘Spacial’. This program allowed students to collaborate by creating a 3D avatar of themselves that moves with them and speaks with them,” said Dr. Pridmore.
Students were able to work with the headsets as well as hold breakout sessions using both Zoom and Mural.
Dr. Pridmore’s classes focus on many concentrations such as enterprise data, analytics and IOT Networking and Cybersecurity. She initially graduated from Auburn University with a degree in chemical engineering. After taking some control engineering courses, she decided she wanted to get her Masters Degree, which she received from Troy University.
“I just fell in love with data, problems, and being able to solve problems. I love math, science, and physics,” said Pridmore.
Her passion and hard work put her back at Auburn, where she received her PhD in IT and Innovation. Her dissertation was on situational awareness and interface design. After receiving her PhD, she moved to Maryland to teach at Loyola University for four years.
When she arrived at UWG, the school joined the S&P software enterprise program and with her background, she was able to help the school and students get the program up and running. Once she had the S&P program figured out, the school then joined the Cisco Network Academy which revolves around cybersecurity, cyber-ops and networking
“Students have an opportunity for jobs and a ton of hands-on experience with real-world systems. Seeing students get excited about where they want to go is very rewarding and beneficial,” says Pridmore.
The new MIS lab in the Richards of College of Business is the first one in the state of Georgia as well as the seventeenth lab of its kind in the nation. The lab has new routers, switches and other IT/IoT devices with cutting-edge technology and will be open in the coming months.
“It was the first thing I’ve worked with that is 100% collaborative,” said Dr. Pridmore. “Students learned how to collaborate virtually and that goes a long way. It was a very steep learning curve trying to figure out what to use, how to use it, and how to make it work. For the first few months, I did not sleep much.
“It really worked out well,” continued Dr. Pridmore. We figured out things to do virtually that we didn’t think we could at first. I have some really great colleagues and we worked together really well to make it work. Winning the award after all the work I had to do means a lot.”