New creative business major announced

by Ross Cristantiello / Beacon Staff • December 3, 2015

A major designed to let students mix their creative instincts with a business education is available starting in fall 2016, according to a press release from the Office of Communications and Marketing.

Phillip Glenn, interim dean of the School of Communication, said the Business of Creative Enterprises major is the result of collaboration between his departments and the School of Arts.

The college is planning on accepting about 50 incoming freshmen to the major. Faculty are considering creating an independent study of the program for interested upperclassmen.

The idea of a major like this one was initially pitched in 2013 by the late Karl Baehr, a senior executive-in-residence in the marketing communication department. Later that year, teams of professors in both the School of Arts and the School of Communications started working on the new major, settling on the current name and focus of the program, according to Glenn.

Glenn said the fusing of both managerial and entrepreneurial ways of thinking came up early in discussions. The program is a unique one, with Emerson being only one of a handful of schools across the country with a major like this, such as the music business/management major at Berklee College of Music.

“Running a theater is a different kind of business than running a bank,” Glenn said. “We want to teach toward the creative fields, so you have to understand what creative people do, but we also want creative thinking in the management.”

Yuri Cataldo, director of the program, started at Emerson in September after working at Indiana University. He said he immediately began building the curriculum for the major. Cataldo said there is a desire in the artistic higher education community to learn about how to make money while still pursuing their passions.

“The idea of it is more popular in the world now just because there is a big need,” Cataldo said. “However, there are not a lot of colleges that teach something similar to this.”

Between now and next fall, Cataldo and others are working on developing curricula for the classes that students in this major will take during all four years at Emerson.

To adapt to the demands of an entirely new major, the college is expanding its faculty. There is currently a search for two new professors that will help teach classes on business and economics, according to Glenn.

“Almost everyone we talk to, from board members … to prospective students … to people in the industry are excited by this,” Glenn said. “They feel like it fits Emerson really well.”