"Through this decision we seek further distinction for Bucknell," Chair Ken Freeman '72 stated on behalf of the board following its vote to establish the college. "Upon the strength of our academic core we will forge new bridges between arts & sciences, engineering and management, enabling Bucknell to deliver educational experiences and interdisciplinary opportunities unattainable at traditional liberal arts, engineering or business colleges."
The transition from school to college is set to take effect on July 1, 2017, and builds upon more than 125 years of management and business education at Bucknell.
"The very earliest courses in management at Bucknell were taught under the name of jurisprudence back in the 19th century," said Provost Barbara Altmann. "It was meant to prepare people for the professions of law and business. It taught about organizations, systems and real-world institutions — it was already teaching what we consider management today. The roots of this program are very, very deep here."
The transition also reflects significant strides made since the 2008 launch of the School of Management, including:
Michael Johnson-Cramer, director of the School of Management, added that those accomplishments have been followed by year-on-year increases in the number and quality of applicants that have made the Class of 2019 the most diverse and most selective class in the School of Management's history.
"The transitional process of becoming more visible and strategic has really helped establish our presence in admissions relative to competitors," Johnson-Cramer said. "We've seen continued growth since the creation of the school, which is especially good in a time of demographic downturn."
The formation of a college will similarly heighten Bucknell's profile in the eyes of employers. Large companies have become increasingly collaborative in the education of their future employees, relying on colleges to develop learning goals for internships and to expose students to meaningful industry experiences and projects, Johnson-Cramer said. The organizational focus of the new College structure should be to work to deepen those partnerships for the benefit of the whole student body.
Johnson-Cramer noted that professional preparation will not come at the expense of the commitment to liberal education that sets Bucknell apart in the increasingly crowded field of undergraduate business and management programs. In fact, the college hopes to build more interdisciplinary connections across institutional boundaries, he said. Management majors will continue to study the same College Core Curriculum as majors in the College of Arts & Sciences, with the same essential learning goals.
"The establishment of a College of Management is an opportune moment to highlight our distinctive mission: to integrate management and liberal education and, thereby, to change the practice of management one student at a time," Johnson-Cramer said. "It's a clear signal to the world that this project is an important part of the Bucknell we're becoming."
Altmann added that building a College of Management steeped in the liberal arts tradition is a project Bucknell is "uniquely positioned to do well."
"The way the curriculum of professional schools and the curriculum of a liberal arts core fit into and rely on each other is part of what makes Bucknell unique," Altmann said. "It's the expectation that we're creating engineers and managers who are deeply trained in ethics, humanistic thinking, global citizenship, transnational thought, environmental concern and the importance of the arts as a pillar of modern culture. It's our job to ensure that as we build the College of Management we also reinforce and showcase what gets done so very well in the liberal arts."
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