New Toolkit Blends Humanities and Business to Shape the Next Generation of Leaders

June 4, 2018

Charting a New Course brings featured college courses together with strategies for curricular change.

Contact: Iris Malfetano Program Coordinator
Business & Society Program, The Aspen Institute

New York, NY, June 4 – Today, The Aspen Institute Business & Society Program is proud to announce the release of Charting a New Course. This toolkit combines two powerful resources: a curated selection of innovative courses that marry the liberal arts and business in coherent and robust ways, and step-by-step strategies to successfully advocate for curricular change. This document is both a reflection of dynamic debates about the liberal arts in the last decade, and a bridge into an emerging future of work.

Six years ago, the Aspen Institute Business & Society Program launched the Aspen Undergraduate Consortium—to strengthen the contribution of the liberal arts to the professional preparation of future business leaders. Coming at a time when economic uncertainty had made the ROI of higher education the subject of countless columns, this convening looked beyond an all-too-common binary: that success be measured by practical preparation for a career, or development of critical thinking skills and ethical reasoning associated with a liberal arts education.

Since that time, the 73 participating schools have generated much momentum and substantial changes on campuses. (See report for a list of participating institutions.) In parallel, headlines around topics from workplace harassment to the psychological and political impact of social media have underscored that business cannot be separated from practical wisdom—especially as innovation leads to uncharted waters.

Charting a New Course is the logical next step: scaling this work by equipping aspiring academic innovators with resources honed by the Consortium’s pioneers. The courses and curricula were selected from a diverse group of institutions which include liberal arts colleges, business schools, and universities.

Featured Courses, Curricula and Schools:

Vocation and The Meaning of Success— Augsburg College

Liberal Studies Major— Bentley University

Portico— Boston College

Business, Society, And Ethics— Boston University

Business, Entrepreneurship and Organizations— Brown University

Management 101— Bucknell University

Minor in Entrepreneurship— Clark University

Global Capitalism Integrative Pathway— Connecticut College

Whistleblowing and The Management of Ethical Dilemmas— Copenhagen Business School

Leadership Certificate— Cornell University

Law, Markets, and the Corporation + Law, Money, and Meaning— Franklin & Marshall College

First Year Development Program— George Washington University

Values Based Decision Making— Lehigh University

Entrepreneurship, Organizations, And Society— Mount Holyoke College

Professional Responsibility and Leadership— New York University

Core Pathways— Santa Clara University

First Year Seminar: Business in Society— Texas Christian University

Improvisational Leadership— University of California, Berkeley

Global Business Studies Program— University of Miami

Fire: First-Year Innovation and Research Experience— University of New Hampshire

Wharton Senior Capstone— University of Pennsylvania

Business of Saving Nature— University of Virginia

Navigating Uncertainty— University of Wisconsin-Madison

Foundations of Business Leadership— Utah State University

Why Business? — Wake Forest University

London Summer Internship Program— Washington & Lee University

“The ideas in the toolkit are timeless—and also hyper relevant to today’s public conversations about higher education and the future of work,” says Claire Preisser, associate director of the Aspen Institute Business and Society Program. “Whether trying to address big problems like climate, create meaningful work, or simply stay off the front page, companies need a new kind of new hire. The toolkit’s courses and curricula provide a directional signal and proof of concept—demonstrating that the liberal arts and business education can be blended in brand new ways to address employer demand for hires who can contextualize, innovate, and work across boundaries.”

The resources in this toolkit offer practical ideas for faculty and administrators to consider as they seek to “chart a new course” for their institutions and for their students. Aspen’s Business & Society team strongly believe that faculty teaching at the undergraduate level are in a unique position to shape future business leaders while in their formative years—to teach a different narrative about business, one in which business makes the world a better place. Covering both inspiration and implementation, this toolkit is designed to help faculty and administrators to realize that potential.

The Aspen Institute is proud to recognize the achievements of these schools and share their course curricula and pedagogies with our global network of faculty, deans, and business practitioners.

To download the toolkit, please visit our website:

The Aspen Institute Business and Society Program (Aspen BSP), founded in 1998, works with business executives and scholars to align business decisions and investments with the long-term health of society—and the planet. Through working groups and focused dialogue, Aspen BSP challenges conventional ideas about capitalism and markets, to test new measures of business success. The Business and Society Program is most known for dialogue on curbing short-termism in business and capital markets, and for fresh thinking about the Purpose of the corporation. For more information, visit

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit

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