Undergraduate Consortium helps blend liberal arts & business.
This June, the Aspen Institute Business & Society Program and Boston University Questrom School of Business designed and hosted this year’s Aspen Undergraduate Consortium. Over two and a half days, deans and faculty from universities all over the world convened to share teaching perspectives, insights, and strategies for integrating fundamental liberal arts lessons with crucial business knowledge. This year’s consortium also explored the notion of place, inspiring educators to consider how place matters in what—and how—we teach.
Open to teams of educators from both liberal arts colleges and B-schools, the conference offered immersions, workshops, and more. The varying events tackled tough questions and fostered conversation about the intersection of the two worlds, allowed for educators to examine and experience each other’s teaching, and to workshop unique, often state-of-the-art approaches to unifying liberal arts and business.
In her closing interview, Allen Questrom Professor and Dean Susan Fournier gave tips on branding the blending of liberal arts and business—how to apply branding principles to academic institutions, what educators can do to be brand ambassadors for their schools, and what makes a strong brand in higher education.
“A brand isn’t a product. We have products in the forms of programs, classes, or degrees at our core, but there’s a wrapper that goes around the product to make it a brand,” explains Fournier. As for what that includes? According to Fournier, it’s everything else. “Everything, from every touchpoint, every conversation, experiences, relationships—even what the halls look like between classes. It’s not just the ad campaign that you decide to run that says what you stand for.”
Dean Fournier also made the case for the on-campus, four-year undergraduate format. “We’ve got four years,” says Fournier. “We become their home. That’s the beauty of the whole residential undergraduate experience—you’re seeing people become young adults, away from home for the first time, and we get them.”