UWF to offer new degree program in supply chain logistics management

Students at the University of West Florida will soon have the opportunity to earn a degree in Supply Chain Logistics Management as the department of marketing and economics prepares to offer high quality and highly practical logistics courses that produce skills desired by industry managers making new-hire decisions.

Although the University has offered various logistics and supply chain management courses as electives for the past 10 years, the degree itself was a long time coming. In 2013, the Bear Family Foundation pledged $1 million to the University, with $300,000 allocated to fund an Endowed Professorship in Supply Chain Logistics.

Yet the formation of a new degree can take as long as two years, according to Dr. Carl Backman, associate dean for the College of Business, who provided the “Request to Offer a New Degree Program” to fulfill one step of the process. Logistics and marketing professor Dr. Scott Keller is largely responsible for having recognized the need for a stand-alone supply chain logistics management program at UWF, as electives in the subject matter became increasingly popular.

“Students filled up the classes, won national-level logistics academic competitions and got hired by leading companies upon graduation,” Keller said. “The successes helped to establish the student and industry demand.”

Coursework will include global logistics, supply chain logistics strategy, transportation management, purchasing and supply management, warehousing and terminal management, and important analytics fundamentals logistics managers require to make decisions in the field.

“The faculty is committed to excellence, which leads to opportunities outside of the classroom,” said assistant professor of marketing and economics Peter Ralston. “Within the walls of the classroom, we look to enhance basic supply chain knowledge while also developing communication skills, teamwork effectiveness and situation analysis foresight to create a well-rounded student ready for any entry level supply chain position.”

Job opportunities for graduates of the new program include: Corporate Management of Regional and International Logistics Operations, Inventory Management and Analysis, International and Domestic Transportation Management, Ocean Freight Terminal Management, Warehouse Operations Management and more.

UWF logistics courses have already shown an impact on Pensacola and the surrounding region through the placement of graduates within area businesses including Ascend Performance Materials, QMotion, Avalex Technologies, C.G. Railway and others. The impression reaches beyond Northwest Florida, as UWF alumni take on roles at such prestigious corporations as J.B. Hunt, Crane Worldwide Logistics, UPS and CSX Corporation.

“Businesses recognize the need to hire college graduates with knowledge and practical analytical skills in supply chain logistics to reduce cost and improve service and product quality through logistics management,” Keller said. “Ultimately, our students help companies in our region, the State of Florida and the United States become more competitive through efficient and effective logistics decisions.”