New Book Features Bentley University for “Rare” Innovations in Business Curriculum
Rethinking Undergraduate Business Education: Liberal Learning for the Profession, a book emanating from The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching's national study of undergraduate business education, features Bentley University for its innovative integration of business and arts and sciences.
The book’s authors describe the efforts of a diverse set of institutions, including Bentley, to support the best elements of liberal arts learning integrated with students’ learning of business disciplines in order to develop wise, ethically-grounded professional judgment.
As the book attests, business is the largest undergraduate major in the U.S. and still growing. This reality, along with the immense power of the business sector and its significance for national and global well being, makes quality education for business students critical not only for them but also for the public good. The report asserts that “undergraduate business students need a strong liberal education” in order to be fully prepared for and successful in work and life. The Carnegie Foundation highlighted a small number of schools, including Bentley University, for “rare” innovations in the business curriculum at the undergrad level.
The book provides a timely response to the ongoing debate in the higher education media on which type of degree will prove most beneficial to college students -- business or liberal arts.
As Bentley Dean of Arts & Sciences Dan Everett states, “Students' professional objectives and education can be merged in a new educational fusion. This fusion is the integration of arts and sciences with business where philosophy, science, math, history, English, modern languages, etc. work in tandem with professional courses to provide a novel type of curriculum - one in which professional education and arts and sciences each add value to the other. Bentley University offers one strong example of a successfully integrated curriculum and we are pleased to be recognized in the Carnegie book.”
“Once given a solid foundation in the humanities, professionals will go on to educate themselves and maintain their interest. The 2010 job placement rate at our university — 99 percent of the responding graduating class is employed or in graduate school six months after graduation — illustrates this substantially. Business executives tell us often, "The basic business skills are what get you a job at our company. But to advance, you need the broad background of the liberal arts."
Every student at Bentley majors or minors in business while simultaneously enrolled in a basic core of liberal arts courses. Nearly 800 of Bentley's 4,000 undergraduates double-major in business and the innovative Liberal Studies major — which students complete by combining writing, faculty mentoring, and general education courses following a particular theme such as Ethics and Social Responsibility, Global Perspectives and Health and Industry.
Everett adds, “We should not portray the current crisis in American education as business versus the liberal arts. All of us in higher education recognize our responsibility to contribute to our students' quality of mental, social, and professional life. A business major is one of the best majors any student could choose. So is philosophy. But to combine and connect them in a single course of study might be the best of all.”