Franklin & Marshall College joins two Pennsylvania universities this month in hosting more than 100 educators from nearly 50 colleges and universities nationwide for the Aspen Institute’s annual Undergraduate Consortium, which focuses on business and the liberal arts.
The June 14-15 virtual event’s theme is “Un-distancing,” discussing the extraordinary effort of collaboration during the pandemic that required faculty to rethink their teaching approach, and getting perspectives on how this can be applied when blending liberal arts and business.
Unlike past consortiums, this year’s two-day event is a launch point for a series of “learning pods” conducted in periodic sessions over the summer. Some of the issues the pods will tackle include “Racial and Economic Justice,” “Planetary Health,” and “Capitalism & Democracy.”
“In these pods, groups of faculty from different colleges will work together, sharing insights and developing approaches for addressing these topics,” said F&M Professor of Legal Studies Jeffrey Nesteruk, one of the organizers of the event who is co-leading the pod “quest for purpose.”
His co-leader is William Sullivan, a Carnegie Foundation scholar who co-authored the book, “Rethinking Undergraduate Business Education: Liberal Learning for the Profession.” The focus of their pod is developing methods by which to help students connect their professional endeavors to their deepest values and the larger lives they wish to live.
“Students want to link what they do with who they are,” Nesteruk said. “We will be exploring how to engage students with questions of meaning and purpose as they pursue their career aspirations and life’s work.”
The last part of the consortium occurs Oct. 15 when the faculty from these pods will again gather to highlight what they developed from their ideas and how these proposals could contribute to a business and liberal arts curriculum, Nesteruk said.
“There will be deliverables, and deliverables can be anything from an op-ed to an article to a teaching approach to a video—groups will design them along this way,” Nesteruk said. “It’s going to give us the opportunity to work together over time that I find very exciting.”
F&M’s co-hosts for the consortium are Bucknell University’s Freeman College of Management and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.