The Project Management class at the University of South Carolina Aiken School of Business Administration organized a panel discussion featuring five project managers from campus on Thursday, Nov. 2. The class familiarizes undergraduate students with Project Management principles, emphasizing cost, schedule, and the evaluation of their performance. Professor Terry Whittington hosted the discussion, bringing in five USC Aiken project managers to delve into the nuanced aspects of project management within their respective campus areas.
The panel included Ernest Pringle (Vice Chancellor of Information Technology), Brian Enter (Senior University Facilities Executive Campus Auxiliary and Support Services), Christen Engle (Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communication), Paul Crook (Executive Director of the Etherredge Center and External Programs), and Todd Wilkinson (Director of Athletics). Together, they shared their insights on the challenges encountered in project management.
The discussion revealed various project management activities familiar to students, such as campus construction and technology projects. However, many were surprised by the hidden complexities in the marketing and communications field, as well as sports management.
Paul Crook provided unique insights into planning events involving artists and creative talents, highlighting the impact of schedule and cost changes on local audiences and facilities. The students also gained awareness of the effects of conducting business under state-mandated procurement and contract management requirements.
The misconception of the university athletic director's role was clarified by Todd Wilkinson, who emphasized the collaborative efforts required with technology, facilities, and marketing to ensure seamless operations for athletic events. He shared personal experiences illustrating the challenges faced when working with state-approved "lowest bidders."
The panel discussion left students with a deeper appreciation for the diverse aspects of project management fields and a heightened understanding of the complexities involved in managing costs and schedules.