Stephen F. Austin State University

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SFA 101 class develops professional skills through workshops

November 16, 2015 - University Marketing Communications
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Students in an SFA 101 class recently orchestrated a mini-event, Business for Dummies, within Stephen F. Austin State University's Nelson Rusche College of Business.

This free event featured four 30-minute workshops to help educate students on various topics, including networking, social media, business dress and degree/major opportunities. Approximately 50 students attended.

Chelsea Heidbrink, adviser within the Nelson Rusche College of Business, has been working with her SFA 101 class to prepare for this event since August.

"The SFA 101 students did a wonderful job. They received great experience from speaking in front of their peers and presenting in a more formalized setting," Heidbrink said.

Heidbrink divided her class into three groups with each group having a specific task in the event planning.

"This was a neat event because the students planned the whole thing, and they were given grant money from the Center for Teaching and Learning to execute their plans," Heidbrink said.

Two groups planned two sessions each, and one group was in charge of marketing promotions.

The grant allowed the class to work within a budget. The marketing promotions group built a marketing strategy to promote the event, which included fliers, posters and social media.

"This assignment allowed the class to explore different professional topics and collaborate with others within the college," Heidbrink said. "Students now have a deeper understanding of the effects of marketing, event planning and acceptable practices in the business world."

The networking workshop featured a question-and-answer format and open discussion with guest speaker Dr. Chris McKenna, SFA professor in the Department of Business Communication and Legal Studies. McKenna also served as the guest speaker in the degree/major opportunities workshop, and educated students on the many real-world opportunities available with their major.

Social media interns Holli Harrison and Tori Thurman offered insight about maintaining a professional and effective social media presence for professional branding in the social media workshop.

The group hosting the business dress workshop showcased a PowerPoint presentation outlining what is appropriate to wear in the professional business world. A question-and-answer session and fashion show followed the presentation.

Overall, Heidbrink believes this event provided students with a unique college perspective and helped hone their organization, communication and interpersonal skills.

"This gave students a different spin on developing college success and professional development skills," Heidbrink said. "I am really proud of the students and the work they put in. It definitely paid off."