Osagie announces business curriculum changes

The School of Business is currently altering its curriculum and working on a freshman seminar program (FSP) and a Business Scholars Program, an honors program exclusively for business majors.

“We are very excited to be here and we really believe that we can move this school into one of the top business programs in the country,” Emmanuel Osagie, dean of the School of Business, said.

Last year, the business department formed an advisory board made up of business executives in the regional area. They are working with the College to make sure the curriculum serves the business community.

“I feel that the business school’s curriculum is in dire need of revamping,” Steven Viola, Student Government Association senator of business, said. “The classes are way too simplistic, material-wise, and not all students are on equal levels of learning.”

Viola helped design some of the new aspects of the curriculum. He said the new program would be fully completed by Fall 2006. His favorite new part of the curriculum, the Scholars Program, allows a student to design a major.

“If someone comes in and they say, ‘I want to major in financial engineering,’ a major the school does not have, how do we challenge our curriculum to accommodate this system?” Osagie said.

Viola actually wrote a financial engineering major for himself under the Scholars Program and presented it over the summer.

According to Osagie, one student came in wanting to double major in music and business. At the time, it was difficult to accomplish. However, Osagie said the department wanted to make the program better for students who do not fit the traditional mold. Students are now allowed to double major.

In the honors program, classes will have fewer students and harder curricula, as well as more discussion about real-world applications and fewer didactic lessons. Viola believes the qualifications for getting into the program will be a 3.5 GPA, an essay and two recommendations. However, he said, this is still tentative. Osagie was unsure about requirements for incoming freshmen to enter the honors program.

“It’s about time,” T.J. Vita, junior business administration major, said about the honors program. “The business department is one of the largest schools here, and I think if students want to pursue more challenging courses they should have that option.”

The new FSP, according to Osagie, will be a “freshman executive colloquia.”

The difference between the old seminar and the new is that the faculty will not be making the presentations in class. Instead, the department will be bringing in senior executives to teach.

“Before the students take courses in the different areas, we want them to be exposed to the real business systems,” Osagie said.

Some of those lined up to talk to the class are senior executives from the Trenton Titans, Wal-Mart, Kmart and Saturn Auto Dealership.

“Essentially, they will talk about different aspects in the life cycle of business, from start to closure,” Osagie said. “We feel that when you are exposed to these real-world issues, real-world situations, when you go back to respective classes, you can see how theory really relates to real-world practices.”

The School of Business is still discussing if any other classes besides the freshman seminar will be taught by or visited by business executives.

Vita believes having a freshman seminar about business defeats the purpose of an FSP.

“Isn’t it supposed to be a type of general education class to get you to think about worldly issues you wouldn’t discuss in a normal class?” he said. “This is the time to learn new things in various fields. Variety is more important, I’d much rather be a well-rounded person.”

The School of Business is also considering requiring internships for its students.

“Some (students) are indolent, to be quite honest,” Viola said. “People pick business because they think it’s going to be easy, and the business school needs to dispel this rumor as soon as possible.”