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New minor to teach management from a liberal arts perspective

February 11, 2015 4:00 PM
Mary Sparacello

Debuting in fall 2015, Tulane University’s School of Liberal Arts Management Minor (SLAMM) is an innovative course of study that will introduce non-business majors to management practices and principles from a liberal arts perspective.

“This program draws upon and develops students’ abilities to write, think, and analyze and then bridges those skills with professional careers,” says School of Liberal Arts Dean Carole Haber. “Students will be able to link their chosen majors with the trends and practices learned through the management minor.”

It's a great way to make my degree more practical and strengthen my resume overall.

Shannon Jennings, SLA sophomore

Students completing the minor will gain financial literacy and learn management concepts and practices. They will also explore how economic trends and conditions are rooted in historical, political, and social conditions, as well as have critical ethical implications.

Prominent faculty will bring real-life knowledge to the classroom. For example, Scott Cowen, Tulane President Emeritus and Distinguished University Professor, will teach a leadership course in spring 2016.

Cowen successfully guided Tulane through the social and economic turmoil after Hurricane Katrina. His proven leadership adds the immediacy of personal experience to augment textbook theory.

"This new academic program forms an important link between the liberal arts, management, and leadership preparing students to be highly effective global citizens and agents of change in the future,” says Cowen. “I look forward to teaching and working with these engaging and inquisitive students in developing their leadership capabilities.”

Rich Lane (A&S ’85) believes in the new management minor so deeply that he gave a generous gift to the School of Liberal Arts to support the initiative. “I think SLAMM offers a real balance to a liberal arts education,” he says.

After graduating with a degree in political science, Lane found his way into commercial real estate. He is now a principal of Rock Creek Property Group and an owner of West, Lane & Schlager. Both successful ventures are headquartered in Washington, D.C.

Aside from a single semester of accounting, Lane took no business courses at Tulane and wishes SLAMM had been available during his college years. Although his liberal arts background prepared him for his thriving career, he initially had to acquire some additional business expertise on the job.

“I think this minor adds weight to a liberal arts degree,” says Lane. “It’s just another way to expose more students to a wider range of educational opportunities.”

The new minor is not intended to duplicate the Business Minor Summer Institute, offered by the A. B. Freeman School of Business. Instead, SLAMM’s uniqueness and value hinges on its framework within the liberal arts.

The interdisciplinary list of SLAMM courses is distinctive at Tulane. “Where else can you take a course on the anthropology of money or Spanish for business?” Haber asks.

Tulane sophomore Shannon Jennings feels the minor will complement her majors in sociology and public health with the business experience necessary to pursue the managerial aspect of public health practice.

“It’s a great way to make my degree more practical and strengthen my resume overall,” Jennings says. “I’m learning about sociology and public health concepts in my classes, and this minor will be very helpful in putting that knowledge into practice.”

The interdisciplinary curriculum is divided into three tiers. To complete the minor, students must take a minimum of six courses within those tiers: 1) microeconomics and financial accounting 2) specially designed SLAMM courses focusing on leadership, ethics, marketing, management, organizational behavior and philanthropy 3) classes throughout the arts, humanities and social studies that provide an interdisciplinary understanding of management practices and traditions.