Faculty, Staff and Educators Convene for 8th Annual Aspen Undergraduate Consortium

July 12, 2019

Faculty and staff from more than 30 institutions of higher learning explore blending the liberal arts and business education at the Boston University Questrom School of Business

Contact: Keith Schumann
Communications Manager
The Aspen Institute Business & Society Program
(212) 895-8039│[email protected]

New York, NY, July 12 — The Business & Society Program brought together faculty, staff and educators at the Boston University Questrom School of Business for the 8TH annual Undergraduate Convening. Over 3 days of programming, the convening provided opportunities for participants to explore state-of-the-art approaches to blending the liberal arts and business.

Organized around the central theme of ‘place,’ the convening offered a fresh look at topics frequently in news headlines: globalization, the geography of income inequality, and the question of safe spaces on college campuses. From a management professor’s presentation on service learning in coal country, to a GPS-enabled walk of the city of Boston, the diverse programming encouraged participants to pursue a bold, innovative approach to education.

“In Boston, the notion of place-based teaching brought in new voices on an old question: how can we prepare students to be great business leaders, who make the world a better place? Anchored in amazing examples of current curricula, participants spent less time building the case for integrating the liberal arts and business and more time sharing how that ambition might be achieved on campus,” said Claire Preisser, Director of the Aspen Undergraduate Network.

With 35 schools from around North America and Europe, including 5 participating for the first time, the 8th annual convening built on momentum almost a decade in the making. Since 2012, the Aspen Institute Business & Society Program has built a community of faculty and educators from business schools and liberal arts colleges based on a central insight: business is a deeply humanistic activity. At their best, businesses address human needs, train and develop people, and provide good and meaningful work. An undergraduate education blending the liberal arts and business equips students to act on that insight on the first day of their careers.

The convening at Questrom also strengthened the argument for how blending disciplines helps prepare students for a quickly changing world of work. The convening concluded with a discussion between Lynn Wooten, Dean of the Dyson School of Business at Cornell University, and Susan Fournier, Dean of the Questrom School of Business, on the future of higher education in the United States.  Fournier noted that, with the rise of online learning, place takes on a new relevance to the branding of a university, citing embeddedness in the Boston ecosystem as fundamental part of what differentiates Questrom. Describing the city’s innovation economy, she emphasized the link between cutting edge career opportunities and interdisciplinary learning. “Boston’s growth ecosystems are biotech, biopharma and clean energy. Notice that all of them are interdisciplinary—not housed in one department or school in the University.”

Noting that the rapid changes in the higher education landscape present both challenges and opportunities, Dean Fournier ended with an emphasis on creative possibility: “We’re at a crossroads—and the people in this room are the ones who are going to figure it out. I have no doubt of that.”

For more information, visit the Undergraduate Consortium website: https://www.aspeninstitute.org/programs/business-and-society-program/aspen-undergraduate-consortium/

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. https://www.aspeninstitute.org/

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