Lawrence University recently announced its Business and Entrepreneurship major which will become available next fall.
According to Professor of Government and Economics & Social Science Claudena Skran, the major will complement other programs at Lawrence in that it will offer a mix of a study elements and practical elements, meaning that students will learn both how to do business and learn about business.
“It shows that Lawrence is really adapting to the changing world in which we live,” said Skran.
The program will be taught by professors from a variety of departments, including Associate Professor of Economics Adam Galambos, Associate Professor of Economics David Gerard, Associate Professor of Economics Jonathan Lhost, Visiting Assistant Professor of Music in Entrepreneurial Studies Michael Clayville, Professor of Theater and Drama Timothy X. Troy, Associate Professor of Government William Hixon, Associate Professor of Religious Studies Martyn Smith and Instructor of Psychology Linnea Ng. In addition, Skran said that Lawrence University will be hiring two new professors, a professor of practice and entrepreneurship and a professor of general business.
“We have taken an approach from the beginning that emphasizes business as a part of the Lawrence liberal arts education,” Galambos said. “The composition of the faculty group was deliberate, and a way to promote the liberal arts approach. The process of designing the major included a lot of communication with colleagues. As a result, the faculty vote reflected strong support for the new major with about ¾ in favor.”
In the new major, there will be four focus areas in Entrepreneurship, Arts Entrepreneurship, Natural Resource and Energy Management, and Business Analytics. Skran acknowledged that liberal arts colleges traditionally have not offered business majors because many consider it to be more vocationally oriented; however, the program at Lawrence will be a balance of the vocational aspects and the theoretical aspects, adding to other programs at the university.
Skran described the process of creating the major as a very collaborative one. The major was designed by a core group of faculty that have worked since last spring and over the summer. After a lengthy process, the major was approved through a faculty vote on Nov. 4, with 71% in favor.
In a small poll conducted by The Lawrentian, posted on the Lawrence University Facebook Shoutbox and Instagram, the poll found that a slim majority of respondents, 52%, said they do not support Lawrence University’s introduction of the business major. A similar margin of 56% said that Lawrence University is not doing enough to support its current academic programs and listed specific academic programs and departments that they do not feel are fully supported. However, several professors spoken to do not feel that the introduction of the business major has any negative correlation with their departments’ success.
Some respondents to the poll wrote that they thought the new major authentically appealed to the majority of what students want and have been asking for. Other favorable responses stated that it build nicely on the preexisting I&E program. More unfavorable respondents stated that they were concerned with Lawrence’s support for other departments.
Sophomore Isabel Dorn said that she supports the introduction of the Business & Entrepreneurship major. However, Dorn expressed anxiety about the current state of the Russian department. One professor from the Russian department is currently on sabbatical and another is retiring. Dorn was not aware of any potential candidates that the Russian department is considering to fill in for the retiree.