Elmhurst Launches Separate Departments of Economics and Business

June 21, 2012 | by the Office of Marketing and Communications

The Elmhurst College Board of Trustees has moved to create two new academic departments, in the flourishing fields of business and economics.

At its meeting on June 16, the Board voted to establish a Department of Business and a Department of Economics to replace the current, combined Center for Business and Economics. The new structure will take effect on July 1.

The Board acted on a recommendation from President S. Alan Ray. The proposal for a new academic structure emerged from an extensive period of discussion and consultation with business and economics faculty led by Dr. Alzada Tipton, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty. The process was initiated in 2011 in part as a response to a pending change in leadership at the Center for Business and Economics. The dean’s discussions with faculty regarding the needs of the department during and after the leadership transition led to a broader dialogue about optimal ways to serve students in the two disciplines in the 21st century.

The new academic structure is designed to enable the faculty of two related but distinct disciplines to develop innovative curricula and additional learning experiences that fulfill their students’ particular academic and pre-professional needs.

The Department of Business will embrace a range of well-established pre-professional disciplines that focus on the practical application of scholarly work. These disciplines—accounting, business administration, finance, international business, logistics and supply chain management, management and marketing—aim to prepare students for immediate entry into the work world, usually in the for-profit sector. These students in particular need to engage in the kind of internships and mentoring experiences that help them create connections and networking opportunities. The new department will offer these opportunities with a special emphasis.

The Department of Economics will provide students with an especially strong scholarly foundation in the classroom, supported by ample opportunities for collaborative research with faculty. A liberal arts discipline, economics prepares students for a wide variety of careers in banking, business, financial services, government and the law. The economics curriculum elucidates the society’s and the world’s major economic institutions and the theory that explains their operations. It focuses on the problems of efficiency in the allocation of resources and the challenges of full employment, price stability and economic growth. Many economics majors continue their preparation in graduate school.

The revised organizational arrangement maintains the status of economics as a critical foundation for the disciplines represented in the new business department.

Students from both departments will continue to benefit from their engagement with the Center for Professional Excellence, which enhances the traditional undergraduate experience with directed, purposeful challenges—on campus, in the larger community, and in other cities and countries. The CPE offers Elmhurst students special opportunities for professional exploration, international study, guidance through career transitions, and internships, mentoring and service-learning experiences. It also is the home of the College’s burgeoning Honors Program.

The trustees and administrators involved in effecting the structural change stressed that Elmhurst students—across all majors and disciplines—learn to communicate, analyze data, think critically, solve problems collaboratively, and use both words and images to convey ideas with impact. Like all aspects of the institution’s organization, they added, the new structure in business and economics is intended to enable Elmhurst students to fulfill their potential as professionals and persons.

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