By Hannah Schultz
During a Jan. 15 chapel service, Asbury administrators announced the creation of a new school of business. For business majors and minors, this will be their new and improved niche within the university’s curriculum.
Provost Jon Kulaga explained the importance of this change, saying, “We talk often about the need for Christians to be competent – not only to have a seat at the table, but to have something to say once they get there. I can think of no area in which this is more the case than business.”
Business is the second largest major among United States colleges and universities, with demand growing rapidly as the field becomes increasingly influential, according to a CNN article from 2008. With this in mind, Asbury decided to reconsider business education, keeping in mind the school’s motto, “Academic excellence and spiritual vitality.”
Dr. Michael Kane, the dean of the new business school, described the developing problem.
“There is a tremendous need in the marketplace for graduates who see their business careers as a mission,” he said.
Ultimately, administrators decided that a revamping of the department was necessary in order to train an expanding number of students to bring their faith into business.
To follow along with this new outlook, many important changes will transform the business department in the coming months. The faculty will be expanded, a graduate MBA program will be offered and the sports management minor, an affiliate of the business program that focuses on the business side of athletics, will be broadened.
The new school will also focus on trying to extend its availability through better integration with other majors such as media communication, communications and equine studies, offering introductory courses to teach the basics of business and personal finance, the creation of a more flexible business minor, and an increase in the number of business scholarships.
The school will be named later in the spring, and a plan for a new building to accommodate the growth is under way. Despite the rapid and extensive expansion of the department, Kane has always had one focus for the school and lifts all to God. “The power of Scripture to give us direction in life and business cannot be underestimated,” he said. “Business holds the power to bless, but only if it is completely surrendered to God. There is only one owner, and that’s God.”
With this perspective, he hopes that the school of business will allow students to excel in the business field and grant them the confidence and ability to minister to those around them.
Above all else, Kane believes the school will result in graduates uniquely qualified to work in business and prepared to share their faith with others. He details the plan of the “triple bottom line,” designed specifically for business students, which is the framework for the new school.
“We want to help students create their own personal brand for the marketplace,” he said. “We want students to combine their classroom experience with internships and mentors to create careers that will have a real impact in the world…. We call it the triple bottom line – profit, people and purpose.”