As a precaution related to the global outbreak of COVID-19 this event has been postponed. Our priority is the health and well-being of our speakers, participants, attendees, and staff.
Since 2012, The Aspen Institute Business & Society Program has been building a national conversation on business, commerce and the liberal arts. The Aspen Undergraduate Consortium is a community of faculty and educators from more than 85 business schools and liberal arts colleges who aim to equip students with the mindset, knowledge and skills required to contribute to a flourishing economy and a strong democracy.
Schools participating in the Consortium each bring their unique intellectual interests and culture to this aspiration. As well, faculty members at Consortium gatherings each contribute knowledge and perspectives specific to their disciplines. All of this leads to a rich exchange of ideas about how individuals, communities, corporations and government interact; about the tension between the practical and the exploratory in the college experience; and about the place of business education in higher education.
Each year, our annual convening is organized around a theme that functions as a call-to-action to participants: namely, if we were to teach this theme in our classrooms and at our institutions, how might we call upon the content and pedagogies of the liberal arts and business education to do so?
This year, our annual convening will be shaped around an essential question: What new collaborations can promote collective flourishing? This question will allow us to look anew at the process and potential of collaborations—between individuals, disciplines, institutions, and generations.
At our June convening, we expect to explore:
• An expanded view of corporate purpose and new language like “shared prosperity” or “inclusive capitalism” point to a more just and sustainable version of capitalism. Getting there requires new collaborations—for example, between businesses and governments, management and labor, shareholders and stakeholders. What does collaboration across the liberal arts and business offer to help us understand and launch new ways of working together?
• We live in times marked by deep divisiveness—and also by new openings for “brave” conversations. How can educators prepare students to reach out and work across differences? How do different disciplines help us understand and develop traits like curiosity, generosity and humility? What pedagogies prepare students to craft an argument, but also to listen and engage with differing views—moving the classroom closer to a “rehearsal space for democracy”?
• How might we think about the future of collaboration in higher education? The public continues to question the relevancy of the liberal arts, the legitimacy of business—and the elitism of both. How can the dynamic pragmatism of business and the creative spirit of the liberal arts contribute to a new future for both? More broadly, what new collaborations within and beyond colleges and universities might we imagine?