was Oxford-educated. I came
from England to The University of
Montana, another world-class
institution. I am as inspired by my
students as they are by me.”
David Firth -
Information Systems & Technology
accent is a dead giveaway: David Firth is not from around here. The English-born,
Oxford-educated information systems professor doesn’t sound like
his colleagues, but he has folded seamlessly into their shared mission
at UM’s School of Business Administration. Firth, who’s worked
in the weapons sector of the Ministry of Defense in Great Britain as a
physicist, at an accounting firm in Dallas, Texas, and the information
systems consulting branch of a huge firm in San Francisco, arrived ready
to teach at UM in 2003.
his introduction to Managing Information Systems class, a required class
in the business school, Firth looks at information systems from a global
perspective. He focuses on works like Thomas L. Friedman’s “The
World is Flat,” a book that touts the importance of information
systems in today’s world.
easy to get a bunch of IS guys to say IS is important,” Firth says.
“But guys like Friedman, a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner and
foreign correspondent for the New York Times, are saying it’s one
of the most important things.” Information systems people make sure
that people extract value from the technology at their disposal. “We
make sure businesses can do business,” Firth says. And students
who study under him do that before they leave with their degrees in hand.
systems majors work with local nonprofits, such as the Boys and Girls
Club, Missoula Flagship Program and United Way, to advise and assist them
with databases, networks or their Web presence. With more than 500 nonprofits
registered in Missoula, Firth sees the supply of opportunities for students
here much like the opportunities in the wider world. “There are
always problems that need solving.”