Business major in development

by Emily McLaughlin / Beacon Correspondent • September 18, 2014

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Donald Hurwitz
Donald Hurwitz

A new business major may be offered as soon as next fall, according to Donald Hurwitz, the interim marketing communication chair, and administrators are establishing a cross-departmental committee that will aid in its development.

The major, tentatively named Business of Creative Enterprises, aims to supplement student interests in communication and the arts with useful and practical enterprise knowledge, Hurwitz said. This would be helpful for students interested in starting a community theater group or commercial production, among other things, according to Hurwitz. 

“It’s a good middle ground for the people who love the arts but want more stability,” freshman performing arts major Alexis Ellis-Albarez said.

Plans for the major were first reported in March, at which time Hurwitz estimated the program could take several years to develop.

The major will be housed in the School of Communications, Hurwitz said, and Emerson’s two existing minors in the field, business and entrepreneurial studies, will still be offered and used as a base for the new major.

Hurwitz added that the department hopes to make the major unique from other Boston area business programs by tailoring it to students in the arts and communications track. The curriculum will tailored to issues and affairs in communications industries.  

LuAnn Reeb, a former graduate program director in the marketing communication program, now serves as this year’s Director of Business and Entrepreneurial Studies. She will fill this role and help develop the program until a permanent director is hired. 

Phillip Glenn, interim dean of the school of communication, said that he worked with Reeb and Robert Sabal, dean of the School of the Arts, over the summer to further develop concepts created by a faculty planning group in the spring.

Hurwitz said that Chief Academic Officer Michaele Whelan, Glenn, and Sabal plan to “cluster hire” instructors for the department, or hiring multiple personnel at the same time. These new faculty will have ties to the new major as well as other departments in which they may specialize. For example, a professor may spend half of his or her time in the Business of Creative Enterprises department and the other half in the Visual and Media Arts department, according to Hurwitz.  

“It can attract some students who might not otherwise have landed here in the end,” Hurwitz said. “That will enrich the community by taking folks of like-minded and like-spiritedness who come here to put a slightly different spin on it through the course of the business major.”

According to an interview Glenn did with the Beacon in March, the new business major is something of a legacy project, as many of the ideas were originally introduced by Karl Baehr, an Emerson professor who died last year. Baehr founded the college’s entrepreneurial studies program.