Denison introduces ‘global commerce’ major to the University’s curriculum

By Hannah Kubbins

Assistant Arts & Life Editor

Starting next fall, the Denison curriculum will welcome a new interdisciplinary major: global commerce.

According to the major proposal, the mission of the global commerce major is to provide a cohesive program that explores the nature of commerce in a globalized society.

The creation of this major was an initiative by President Weinberg asking faculty to develop new academic majors that gave students new opportunities to explore important and emerging issues through the liberal arts. Weinberg said,“This is the first of 3-5 new academic majors the faculty will consider over the next few years. Each of the majors is deeply rooted in the liberal arts and interdisciplinary in nature, giving students pathways through the curriculum.”

The major will be offered to incoming freshmen next fall. However, students in the class of 2019 are able to pursue the program if they find it suits their interests.

Completion of the global commerce major requires 15 courses. It combines courses already offered at Denison with four new courses being created. Courses already offered include Econ 101, 102 and Math 102. A student pursuing this major will also have to complete four new courses: Core 101, 201, 301 and 401. Core 101 will be a broad course involving ethics, spreadsheets and business language. 201 is the sophomore seminar course, with its topic changing every year.  301 takes a look at global financial markets and 401 is a senior seminar. In addition, students are expected to complete two language courses beyond the 112 level.

To make the major unique to each individual, students will then choose an area: Latin America/Caribbean, Europe, Asia or Africa/Middle East for their focus. Students will select this global focus in a sophomore seminar class. A transnational option is also available, which would focus on flows and exchanges of information across the four focus areas.

When asked how global commerce will differ from a typical business major offered at other universities, Associate Provost Catherine Dollard said, “This is not a business major. A business major would have courses in marketing and sequences of courses in accounting. This is an interdisciplinary exploration of globalization and its relationship to markets and exchange.”

Dollard commented how she often hears students say that they would love to major in the humanities, but are worried about job prospects. As a result, these students often went to economics and communication even though neither of these departments pitch themselves as business majors.

Emerging from a discussion between faculty of sociology/anthropology, history, modern language and economics, this major is truly coming out of the liberal arts. Both Weinberg and Dollard noted the strength and passion of the faculty. The creation of global commerce is accredited to the faculty members including Catherine Dollard, Veerendra Lele, Gary Baker, Jessica Bean, Karen Spierling, Christine Armstrong and Ted Burczak who worked to get this major passed.

Before being approved, the major proposal went through a process starting with the Academic Affairs Council, a body made up of students, faculty and administrative staff. After this meeting, it went to a faculty meeting.

The faculty meeting in November passed the major with an approval rating of over 80 percent. Though it did pass with a high approval rating, Dollard said there were concerns about resources. However, Dollard stated that “next year we can staff the major with existing faculty.” At most, the university will only have to hire one new faculty member to fulfill the major courses. Despite this concern, the courses for the major passed on Dec. 3.

International student Hai Nghiem ‘18 had to the opportunity to take a global commerce course in high school.  Nghiem said, “I think it’s one of the most relevant subjects being taught at my high school. Bringing global commerce to Denison should benefit graduates in many ways, especially in fields that involve interacting with the growing economy of Asia.”

Students with questions about the major are encouraged to reach out to any of the faculty listed above.

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