Kelsie Madison, a senior Marketing major from El Dorado, Arkansas, was the winner of the first Dean for the Day contest at Southern Arkansas University. The exciting new program, introduced by Dr. Robin Sronce, dean of the Rankin College of Business, allows students to experience firsthand what it takes to lead an organization. 

Madison and Sronce traded places on Thursday, Nov. 8, with Sronce taking Madison’s role in the classroom and Madison assuming the responsibilities of dean. Madison had a full agenda, including meetings with Dr. Trey Berry, president of SAU, and Dr. David Lanoue, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

“You see people on campus and think you know what it is they do, but they also do this, this, and this,” Madison said, with a laugh. “It is very helpful to understand what they actually do. I will be sharing what I’ve learned with my peers.”

Fulfilling her role as dean, she took the lead on the meeting involving members of faculty, staff and administration. “Dr. Berry gave me this opportunity and trusted me to do well. He told me I would do well no matter what.”

The contest was open to senior business majors with declared majors in Accounting, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Information Systems, General Business, Management, Marketing or Supply Chain Management.

“I thought it would be fun and helpful to open this contest at SAU,” Sronce said. “Most students often do not realize what the deans do. We’re always talking about preparing our students for the professional world; Kelsie is getting those skills today.”

Sronce said the experience will impart not only knowledge but the confidence to lead and take on challenges.

Madison is a former Miss SAU (2017) and a President’s Ambassador. She is a member of Enactus and the Business Student Advisory Council of the Rankin College of Business. She is also interning with the Murphy Arts District. Her mother, Kristina, received her undergraduate degree from the College of Business in 2004 and completed her MBA at SAU in 2012. Kristina is now senior manager II, fuel operations, for Walmart in Bentonville, Arkansas.

“My entire family was so excited when I texted that I had won Dean for the Day,” Kelsie said. “Mom might have been happier than I was! Dad was pumped, as they say.”
She said her career plans are not yet firmly set. “I might consider teaching business courses, but I want to stay open. We always wing it in my family and awesome things happen.”