RIT symposium stresses crucial connection between liberal arts, business

March 15 event showcases new ideas on research that spans business and liberal arts

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What is the role of liberal arts in business? How does research in traditional liberal arts fields intersect with the concerns of business disciplines? How does a liberal arts education prepare graduates, many of whom end up getting jobs in business?

Answers to these questions will be uncovered at the “Kern Symposium on Liberal Arts and Business,” 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Friday, March 15, in Student Innovation Hall, Rochester Institute of Technology.

The symposium—a blend of lectures and small-group discussions—draws upon research published by the Carnegie Foundation that makes a new case for integrating scholarship in the liberal arts with business studies. Speakers from a variety of disciplines, including communication, management, marketing and philosophy, will exchange ideas, share best practices and explore the potential of research and learning at the intersection of liberal arts and business. A complete list of speakers is found at www.rit.edu/cla/kern/speakers.php.

“At many colleges and universities, business and liberal arts represent very different paths of study, and there is often little interaction between business schools and colleges of liberal arts at the same university,” says Jonathan Schroeder, William A. Kern Professor of Communications in RIT’s College of Liberal Arts. “Nevertheless, many business schools are busy re-emphasizing traditional goals of liberal education. In 2012, members of the Academy of Management met to discuss ways in which skills from the liberal arts can enhance the potential of business school graduates, expand their capacity to approach and understand problems, think critically and communicate with others.”

“These issues at the intersection of business and the liberal arts are on the minds of many of us,” says Janet Borgerson, adjunct professor in RIT’s E. Philip Saunders College of Business. “For example, scholarly research at the intersection of philosophy and business demonstrates the importance and necessity of integrating theories, concepts and examples across disciplinary boundaries.”

Although the symposium is free and open to the public, registration is recommended. Register at www.rit.edu/cla/kern/program.php.

The symposium is supported by RIT’s William A. Kern Endowment in Communications. For more information, email Schroeder at jesgla@rit.edu.