Would a business major change Brandeis’ character?

The Justice makes a fairly strong case:

Not only is business far from a liberal art, but also some think the establishment of a Business major would attract a different group of students than those Brandeis usually admits. Brandeis is absolutely thought of by its community as a liberal arts school; it’s heavily marketed as such to prospective students and is frequently described as such by students and professors. However, Brandeis’ liberal arts identity begs questioning.

What is problematic is a continuing rhetoric of “supporting the liberal arts” when the University’s recent actions indicate that the liberal arts have been on the back burner for some time. A Brandeis where ancient Greek, linguistics, music composition, the various Ph.D. candidates who won’t be admitted next year and the University’s legacy in the form of an irreplaceable collection of midcentury masterpieces are in danger of falling off the map is not a liberal arts school.

A main tenet of business is that one cannot do many things well. Brandeis cannot support the liberal arts to the level they deserve while maintaining world-class research facilities and initiatives like the Business major.

I don’t think that this will change any decisions but we should take a clear-eyed look at the consequences of our actions here.

What’s more interesting is that this is a fairly radical position, considering it came from The Justice. Opposing a likely decision made by the school? That’s a fairly big step for them.

I do hope that these concerns are taken into account when designing the Business Major. My take: it should teach social entrepreneurship, not capitalist entrepreneurship. That’s where the future is in any case.


8 thoughts on “Would a business major change Brandeis’ character?”

  1. Mike, I agree with you in #5. Maybe I editorialized a bit in the summary, but I think we agree on the big takeaway.

    As to #6, I don’t think opposing the Study Abroad or Rose Art blunders took much courage. But I’m trying to be positive! I like your recent work!

  2. I think the main point from this editorial has kind of been obscured. We’re saying the University shouldn’t call itself a liberal arts school when it has adopted several new policies (including a business major) that has, in our words, put liberal arts “on the back burner.” We aren’t necessarily saying the business major is a problem. We’re neutral on whether the move away from being a liberal arts school is good or bad. We’re just saying that it’s getting harder for the school to say it’s really a liberal arts institution.

  3. If it attracts students who wouldn’t normally come to Brandeis, then it would diversify the campus even more than it already is, therefore, regardless of how you define Liberal Arts, the student body would be more diversified which would positively impact our status as a Liberal Arts school.

  4. I’m most concerned with this bit: “the establishment of a Business major would attract a different group of students than those Brandeis usually admit”

    Do you not agree that this could be a possibility? And if it does happen, do you not agree that it will indeed change Brandeis’ character?

    Lastly, “Liberal Arts” is a culture, not a definition.

  5. Why does it matter, the fact remains that students we’ll still have to take core courses and pursue a liberal arts education. We already have a Business Minor, and Economics Major (which focuses on the capitalist system). There has been talk from CARS that many of the courses in the major will have an emphasis on ethics (this is something very essential in this era of a recession based on greed and misbehavior from companies). I really don’t understand the concern. Its something that many prospective students want, and its also something that would make our degrees look a lot better in the job market.

  6. Creating a Business major will have absolutely no impact upon Brandeis’ status as a Liberal Arts school. A Liberal Arts education just means that a student is required to take courses outside of his/her major. So even if a Business major is created, students will still be required to take classes outside of those required for the major, therefore, Brandeis will remain a Liberal Arts institution.

    On another note, regarding the Rose Art Museum, it may not be pleasant, but it is the best decision for the University. The goal of a university is primarily to educate, which can be accomplished without having an art museum. If there was a better option to make up for the large deficit, I’m sure Brandeis would have chosen it. However, there wasn’t a better decision, so it was the correct one.

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