Editorial: School of Management

The School of Management recently announced details of its four new majors that will be available to students beginning with the class of 2015: Accounting and Financial Management, Global Management, Managing for Sustainability, and Markets, Innovation and Design. These new majors aim to better prepare students for the challenges that the business world will be facing in future decades.

We are happy to see an academic program making such extensive and effort-intensive changes to better address the needs of its students, and we foresee these changes having many positive results. They should make the School of Management stronger and more attractive to potential students, boosting the University’s competitiveness and perhaps making the University more likely to be a first choice among particularly business-oriented students. They will also make management students better able to take programs of study that specifically interest them, rather than having to fulfill the broader requirements of a general major. The new majors and new courses will certainly help students prepare for issues they are likely to face in their future careers. Students will also benefit from having smaller majors, hopefully receiving more direct faculty attention than when grouped together into the broad major of “management.”

At the same time, seeing these changes take place at a liberal arts institution makes us reflect on the directions higher education has recently been taking. The School of Management appears to be moving in the direction of a more explicitly career-oriented education, and we wonder what long-terms effects these changes will have. Will they attract a different type of person to the University? Is it unequivocally a good thing to be clearly focused and specialized? Will the changes allow indecisive students sufficient time to explore their options before having to make a commitment? Or do we need to change the dynamic of a “liberal arts” education in today’s society to give students a better chance to be successful after their college years have concluded?

We believe that the School of Management has done a good job in preserving as much of a liberal arts element as possible in its new curriculum. Students will still have to meet all of the requirements of the Core College Curriculum, taking such diverse courses as a foundation seminar, a foreign language course, two arts and humanities courses, two natural science or math courses, and a course about diversity, among other requirements. Plenty of space will also exist for electives, and many of the new major requirements will actually encourage students to take related classes from outside of the School of Management, so students should not be forced into too narrow of a track by the new majors.

The changes to the School of Management represent an admirable effort to prepare students for the professional world while still retaining a liberal arts core. Balancing these two types of education is clearly no easy task, so we applaud the School of Management for its efforts and hope that they turn out for the best.

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