December 02, 2020 | Staff

Rendering of the School of Business building at Calvin University
Rendering of the School of Business building, courtesy of GMB Architecture & Engineering

In a Q&A with News and Stories, business faculty members at Calvin University talk about the ways the School of Business is expanding to meet the needs of current and future learners.

How will establishing a business school open up more opportunities for students?

For traditional undergraduates, it will mean that more programs and courses are available. In addition to current majors in accounting, finance, human resource management, marketing, and a minor in entrepreneurship, the Calvin University School of Business now offers a bachelor of science in financial planning. We’re also planning to offer new majors in supply chain and operations, and management information systems.

We are also growing our offering of graduate programs. In addition to the existing master of accounting degree, the School of Business plans to develop an online MBA, which is expected to launch in Fall 2021. Students will have the option to graduate with a master’s degree in one year (full-time) or over a period of up to four years (part-time), with an anticipated 20-months’ average length of time to complete the program. The program will include coursework that emphasizes quantitative business methods and analyses, and organizational leadership. Optional graduate certificates in the program will include business analytics and nonprofit management.

The School of Business will also conduct a thorough opportunity assessment of the market potential to reach additional new learners through certificate and associates degree programs, expanded executive education programs, and other professional development programs.

How will the establishment of this school change the way students are prepared at Calvin for their post-college years?

President Le Roy recently said: “The purpose of business is to serve by providing goods and services, meeting human needs, and promoting human flourishing. Our goal, and the [School of Business] donor’s intent, is to advance business knowledge and skills on a Christian liberal arts foundation characteristic of Calvin’s mission.”

The creation of the School of Business and this generous gift will raise the profile of business at Calvin, attract additional highly qualified faculty and students to Calvin, and provide for a dean’s office. The expansion of faculty and new programs at the School of Business will increase opportunities for student-faculty research—as well as the level of business scholarship at Calvin University.

How will this change further set Calvin grads apart from those who graduate from institutions similar to Calvin?

The School of Business is committed to the excellent, engaged, and faithful preparation of students to lead the transformation of business and organizations for the renewal of society according to God’s purposes. These three watchwords—excellent, engaged, faithful—resonate with students, employers, and faculty. They guide our plans and distinguish Calvin business from other programs.

Business education at Calvin emphasizes both scope and depth of learning, including interdisciplinary learning. Experiential learning, a proven best practice, is a key component of a Calvin business education. Students gain practical experience tackling real business problems for real business clients in several courses, culminating in a capstone course consulting project. The relevance of Reformed faith is demonstrated in every class and in every student organization.

Calvin’s business program is already well-respected and recognized in places like the Fiske Guide to Colleges (Calvin is on its shortlist of 39 small colleges and universities strong in business). The creation of the School of Business is an opportunity for Calvin to become even more widely recognized for its place in business education.

How does this change build upon the recent structural change in the business department (offering degrees instead of concentrations)?

Since the business department was created in 2007, we’ve seen a continual strengthening of its programs. A major milestone was the significant expansion of its academic offerings in 2019, which allowed students to major directly in finance, marketing, and human resource management (previously, these areas of specialization were only available as concentrations within a business major). New minors in entrepreneurship and supply chain management were added alongside the new majors. And in 2020, we began offering a new bachelor of science in financial planning.

The creation of the School of Business is the next step in strengthening Calvin’s programs for students and its service to the business community. It will improve the experience of learners through expanded classrooms, team spaces, and technology enhancements—all of which will prepare them to thrive in professional work environments. The building will also be a welcoming place where professional business guests can interact with students, faculty, and staff.

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