3/14/2017 Peter Durantine

F&M Hosts Workshop on Colleges Blending Liberal Arts and Business Curriculums

More than a decade ago, Franklin & Marshall College reimagined the business major and created a new one: business, organizations and society (BOS). From March 16 to 18, academic leaders from around the country will gather on campus for a workshop on blending liberal arts and business curriculums.

“It's exciting to bring together top liberal arts colleges and others to explore the distinctive ways that the liberal arts can transform the study of business and thus the future practice of business,” said F&M Professor of Legal Studies Jeffrey Nesteruk, leader of a three-year project to bring liberal arts content, skills and pedagogies to the study of business.

The workshop, “Collaborating for the Common Good: Reimagining Conversations between Business and the Liberal Arts,” is the latest aspect of the project, funded by a $280,000 grant from the Teagle Foundation that F&M shares with Bucknell University and the University of Pennsylvania.

“Faculty do not lack for ideas,” said Claire Preisser, associate director of the Aspen Institute’s Business & Society Program, which is co-sponsoring the workshop with F&M. “There are a good number of faculty who see connections across disciplines, but for institutions [to make the change of blending curriculums], it is very hard.”

It’s largely how institutions have long organized disciplines, in addition to an institutional desire to hold on to tradition, that makes merging liberal arts and business a tough task, Preisser said.

When F&M successfully integrated business and humanities to create the BOS major, it piqued the interest of the Aspen Institute, Teagle Foundation and Carnegie Foundation, institutions that believe BOS should serve as a model for all institutions.

“F&M has made a big commitment,” Preisser said. “The workshop is a how-to-do for this integration.”

Specifically, according to the workshop program, academic leaders gathered at the workshop will examine the why, what and how of combining “the creative pragmatism of business with the critical inquiry of the liberal arts.”

Attending the two-day workshop are business and liberal arts professors from F&M, Bucknell, University of Pennsylvania, Augsburg College, College of the Holy Cross, Gettysburg College, Loyola University Maryland, Mt. Holyoke College, Trinity College, University of Richmond, Utah State University and Washington & Lee University.

The workshop includes such sessions as “Why This, Why Now, Why Us,” “Creating the Vision,” “How to Lead Change when You are Not in Charge – Mapping the Organizational Ecosystem,” “Peer Coaching” and “Charting a Course.”

F&M President Daniel R. Porterfield will make lunchtime remarks on March 16.

"The liberal arts can transform the study of business and thus the future practice of business,”
"This is an initiative that is looking toward the future of liberal education, and it's also looking to the future of what folks in business and other professions will need to be able to do," said F&M Professor of Legal Studies Jeffrey Nesteruk, a leader of the three-year project.
F&M Professor of Legal Studies Jeffrey Nesteruk
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