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St. Lawrence University introduces business major

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CANTON — This fall St. Lawrence University will introduce a business major with a liberal arts flair.

“What we’ve done is we’ve put together a program that encourages students to find things that they’re best at, and combine it with some skills that are much more business-focused,” said Brian E. Chezum, the associate professor of economics who spearheaded the program’s creation.

The state Department of Education approved the college’s proposed business in the liberal arts major earlier this week.

The program requires students to double major. They will learn typical business skills while also choosing a focus from among the school’s existing liberal arts programs.

According to Valerie D. Lehr, university vice president and dean of academic affairs, many SLU students go on to pursue careers in business, and this major was created to give them a better look at what they would experience.

“We’ve known for a while that a lot of our students go into business. And really, the development of the major came from a group of faculty getting together to see whether we can better prepare our students for what they are going to be dealing with,” she said.

SLU’s liberal arts focus will be used to provide an unusual view on business education, she said, with course requirements highlighting an international perspective and social responsibility.

“They’re taking courses as part of the business major that would not typically be offered as part of a business major,” she said.

Experience and internships will play a large role in the program.

According to Mr. Chezum, the unusual double-major structure will let students play to their strengths and set the university apart from other institutions.

“Rather than going down a traditional business major path, we can do this better,” he said.

“Business is not one thing, and it’s not a particular set of skills, but it’s an environment where people bring a particular set of skills together. That’s what we’re trying to create here,” he said.

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