In 1976, ten years after first opening its doors to students, Virginia Wesleyan College invited Robert H. Cass, who preferred to be called “Beau” in his later years, to join its faculty. The still-struggling young college had decided to develop a Business major to respond to the demands of students seeking more marketable skills in return for their significant investment in a college education. With an undergraduate degree in English and an MBA, this young Viet Nam vet was custom-made for the challenge he faced: developing a business major which could be attractive not only to students but to a skeptical liberal arts faculty as well. Thus was born LAMP – the Liberal Arts Management Program.
The LAMP Program
Professor Cass passed away in 2008 after more than three decades of service to the college yet his legacy lives on through the close to eighteen hundred Liberal Arts Management Program graduates as well as through the curriculum of the current Business major which bears the indelible stamp of Beau’s forceful personality and his demand for intellectual rigor. The distinguishing characteristic of the program, as its name implies, was the serious integration of the liberal arts with a study of the functional areas of business and management. In addition to Accounting, Economics, Management, Marketing etc., students were required to take courses in English Literature, Sociology, Psychology, Ethics, Communications and a host of other traditional liberal arts classes. Over time, as Virginia Wesleyan expanded its General Studies requirements, these “allied” course requirements have been gradually reduced from 10 classes to 6.
The Business Major
Although continuing to be committed to a blending of the liberal arts with a study of the functional areas of Business, the name of the major was changed to Business in 2008. This step helped clear up confusion experienced by employers, prospective students etc. when inquiring about Virginia Wesleyan’s Business program. Yet while the name of the major has changed the focus of the program has not: combining a traditional liberal arts education with a rigorous study of the functional areas of Business and Management. This broad exposure to the liberal arts and Business, supplemented by an opportunity for specialization through a senior synthesis of courses or an internship, continues to provide VWC’s Business majors with the well-rounded skill set needed in the fast-changing modern economy.
The Principles for Responsible Management Education
In the fall of 2008, the Management/Business/Economics endorsed the college’s committing to the Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME). The Principles of Responsible Management Education were developed by the United Nations and leading organizations and institutions involved in Management education such as AACSB International (The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) in support of the UN’s Global Compact – a strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of
- environment and
The goals of both of these UN initiatives, developing businesses and business leaders committed to creating sustainable social, environmental, and economic value, dovetail nicely with the values of the department and the goals we attempt to instill in our students.