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On the Cutting Edge
Bentley University’s preparedness research documents a desire by employers for millennial graduates who can make an immediate impact with their professional and technical qualifications while also demonstrating creativity, problem solving, and interpersonal skills, all of which are required in senior level leaders.
Easier said than done, some believe.
Yet an innovative approach to fusing the arts and sciences with business education has sparked enthusiasm on the Bentley campus and it may just be another step forward in meeting the needs of millennials and the organizations that employ them.
“It is about broadening our scope. The fusion experience gives us a distinctive edge,” said Bentley student Joe Hark.
Known already for its holistic integration of liberal arts and business, Bentley is now launching a unique set of fused courses described by students as edgy and creative.
One spring course will combine Interpersonal Relations to Management with the study of Women and Film. Another will fuse Macroeconomics with U.S. Government and Politics. Another two courses — yet a different set — will be offered in the fall, according to Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences Juliet Gainsborough.
“We get to see faculty from different disciplines working together, developing shared assignments, and encouraging students to make fluid connections,” she said.
This is a creative approach with potential, said Bentley student Morgan Kruegler.
“I think it is a really good idea. There is a lot of value in having such different perspectives offered in the same course,” she said.
The fused courses offer a new variation on an established theme: the intertwining of arts and science with business, said Gainsborough. She said many students currently major in both liberal arts and business, thanks to the LSM or Liberal Studies Major that enables students to pursue a liberal arts major that often relates to their business major.
“It is a very different environment here at Bentley. It is not just about arts and science on one side and business on the other. It is about bringing them together,” she said.
Associate Professor of Political Science Jeff Gulati, who is co-teaching one of the fusion courses, said students will develop a better understanding of the big picture.
“Why do policymakers sometimes make irrational economic decisions?” he asked.
The answer requires that you know how a budget is put together and how various political stakeholders wield influence during that process, he said.
“Students often understand each part independently but now they’ll understand how they work together,” he said.
“It about learning what questions to ask. I think that is why all these fusion courses are important,” Gulati added.
Bentley Dean of Arts and Sciences Daniel L. Everett has often described the fusion of arts and science with business as vital to producing the well-rounded graduates global businesses seek.
The upcoming set of fused courses takes that commitment to a new level — and students are looking forward to it.
“I’m really interested to see how it plays out,” said Kruegler.
Meg Murphy is a freelance writer.
Alison Davis-Blake, the former business school dean at the Universities of Michigan and Minnesota, was inaugurated as the eighth president of Bentley University in a ceremony attended by students, faculty, staff, alumni and other members of the extended Bentley community.