Business and Society Program

Aspen Undergraduate Business Education Consortium

What kind of new talent do we need in business today? How can we best prepare young citizens to participate in democracy? And how can undergraduate business education best equip students for their roles as both managers and citizens?

These questions are at the heart of the Aspen Undergraduate Business Education Consortium which is designed to strengthen undergraduate education in both the liberal arts and business, by focusing on curricular and co-curricular approaches that integrate the two. Our overarching objective is to explore how business education can do what the liberal arts and liberal learning arguably do best – helping students to make sense of the world and their place in it, and preparing them to engage responsibly with the life of their times.  

The Consortium is structured around two highly interactive and participatory convenings. At each convening member schools gather for two days to share specific curricular and co-curricular ideas that tie the liberal arts and business training together in ways that resonate for today’s students – and for their employers. 

The Consortium also has a strong action learning component: as part of participation, each school takes on a pilot project that attempts to further the integration of liberal learning and business education. Previous pilot projects have included the design/redesign of specific courses, the design/redesign of degree programs, and the development of new assessment mechanisms specifically geared towards measuring the intersections of liberal and business learning.

We also engage with Consortium member schools in-between convenings via our website,, by holding conference calls, hosting webinars on topics of interest, and conducting data collection for larger dissemination purposes.

The first round of convenings was convened in partnership with Anne Colby, Thomas Ehrlich and William M. Sullivan – the three lead authors on Rethinking Undergraduate Business Education: Liberal Learning for the Profession (Jossey-Bass/Wiley, 2011).

Please visit our Undergraduate Network Portal on our website, for related reading and teaching materials.

Seed funding for the Consortium was provided by The Teagle Foundation and Carnegie Corporation of New York.

More information:


What Aspen Consortium participants have said about past meetings...

"Thank you...for bringing us together again this year. These fact-to-face meetings add a special richness to the online engagements of the Consortium throughout the year. Being part of [the Aspen Consortium] offers thought-provoking exchanges and valuable resources, helping the Wisconsin School of Business further our goals around inspiring student learning in creative ways that engage researchers across the UW-Madison campus and leaders within the business community."

-- Consortium team member, Wisconsin School of Business

"…thank you for another great conference in Denver this week. Two days with the Aspen Institute is like two tons of caffeine injected directly into my brain!..."

"I was impressed at the innovative ways in which Business Schools are integrating liberal arts into their curriculum. As an A&S Associate Dean I came to the conference with some skepticism, but I was impressed to see that this integration is not only happening but also happening with enthusiasm."

"Excellent meeting.  I learned many new practical approaches in the workshops, but also gained a bevy of new theoretical perspectives."

"The wide range of schools keenly interested in integration was eye-opening. This provides an excellent avenue to convincing people about the need to consider more active participation of both groups of faculty in designing undergraduate studies for business majors and liberal arts majors headed toward business careers. Benchmarking somehow carries a lot of weight with many of my colleagues and the convening provided a great benchmarking exercise."

"I have to share with you how much I took away from those days with the consortium.  It has inspired me to make a shift in my own pedagogical research, as well as to involve myself more in our own school and beyond with respect to curriculum innovation."   

About the Teagle Foundation

The Teagle Foundation provides leadership for liberal education, mobilizing the intellectual and financial resources that are necessary if today's students are to have access to a challenging and transformative liberal education. The Foundation's commitment to such education includes its grantmaking to institutions of higher education across the country, its long-established scholarship program for the children of employees of ExxonMobil, and its work helping economically disadvantaged young people in New York City -- where the Foundation is based -- gain admission to college and succeed once there.

About Carnegie Corporation of New York

Carnegie Corporation of New York is a philanthropic foundation created by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 to do "real and permanent good in this world."

For more information about the Consortium please contact, Claire Preisser at