New Liberal Arts Business
Major Approved This Fall
A new degree program at St. Lawrence
University goes far beyond the basics of
business, incorporating experiential learn-
ing and a strong interdisciplinary founda-
tion in the liberal arts that teaches critical
thinking and emphasizes social and global
The New York State Education Depart-
ment recently approved the University's
business in the liberal arts major, allowing
students to begin working toward the
degree as soon as this fall semester. Unlike
most business majors who earn a Bachelor
of Science degree, St. Lawrence students
majoring in the new business-degree pro-
gram will earn a Bachelor of Arts degree
Valerie Lehr, vice president and dean
of academic affairs for St. Lawrence, said
the new liberal arts business program is
unique" in several ways.
The program is actually a double major,
meaning it's a major that requires another
major in order for students to graduate
with it," Lehr said. "Economics might be
the most obvious degree program students
would pair with it, but other complemen-
tary degrees might include philosophy,
government, history, even performance
and communication arts. The interdisci-
plinary nature of the program will provide
students with a well-rounded background
in the liberal arts, which will be useful
for them as they set out to begin their
According to the program proposal,
leadership in business is rooted in one's
ability to bring multiple ways of thinking
to bear on a question, circumstance, or
challenge." The major is rooted in the
premise that "a liberally educated individ-
ual will bring to bear multiple perspectives
and deploy multiple strategies in solving a
wide variety of problems."
Brian Chezum, associate professor of
economics at St. Lawrence University and
author of the program proposal, said that
a typical business program is rooted in
management, marketing, accounting, fi-
nance and economics. The marketing and
management training, while not explicit
in the new liberal arts business degree, are
achieved in other ways.
We develop these fundamental skills
through other courses already taught on
campus, such as psychology, communica-
tion and sociology," Chezum said. "The
best aspects of the program come from
things we have already been doing here
and do quite well."
Chezum said that the liberal arts focus of
the new business degree program allows
students to confront issues from multiple
All of the things we do to teach stu-
dents here at St. Lawrence are done to
help them develop critical thinking skills,"
he said. "As we say in economics, we all
have a comparative advantage. And so we
try to develop the best skills in you, so
you – the student – can find out what you
do best."
In addition to required courses, the
major will have a required experiential
learning component, such as an off-cam-
pus internship or approved off-campus
study, and students will need to complete
elective courses that emphasize social
responsibility, global citizenship, analytical
thinking and social contexts.
For more on the major, please visit
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