Prof's Letter to the Editor Re: The Business Roundtable Statement
Denison students and alumni understand the value of a liberal arts education in building a successful professional career.
Karen Spierling, Director of Global Commerce and Associate Professor of History, made the case for Denison’s approach in a letter to the New York times on Sunday, August 25.
In response to the Business Roundtable’s announcement last week that their corporations would be shifting their focus from shareholders to stakeholder, Dr. Spierling argued that the humanities are crucial to such a change in thinking:
To the Editor:
Shifting corporate focus from shareholders to stakeholders is critical in order to create a sustainable global economy. But to act differently, corporations must hire people trained to think differently.
Identifying what stakeholders value requires thinking empathetically, in the most rigorous sense of the word, in order to understand many points of view. When this is the goal, narrowly focused business courses like marketing or financial accounting are insufficient.
In contrast, the humanities train students to think both broadly and critically. Humanities students break issues down to see the variety of stakeholder interests at play in any given situation.
At Denison University, our global commerce major demonstrates the effectiveness of a humanities-grounded approach to understanding how commerce and society are inextricably linked. We will graduate our second class of majors next May. The theme of their senior capstone course is: “Global Leadership, Stakeholders and Sustainability.”