LC is Suffering by not Providing Mainstream Major Departments

A hand reaches for three degrees labeled "Business," "Finance," and "Education." Illustration by Maya Winshell.

In 1867, when Albany College was founded in Albany, Oregon, instructors taught students a curriculum centered on the classics and traditional sciences. It was not until 1905 that Albany College formally adopted the Bachelor of Arts degree, effectively diversifying the education opportunities presented to students. When trustees officially changed Albany College to Lewis & Clark College in 1942, the institution also purchased the Fir Acres Estate from the Frank family, moving to its present home on Palatine Hill. Throughout LC’s history, education has certainly transitioned from a single classics-oriented program to an array of major options, while still protecting liberal arts values. However, the heart of LC’s commitment to expansive studies is missing several majors applicable to the modern world, many of which would attract a larger number of applicants.

First, the fact that LC discontinued its business major was a critical mistake that likely detracted the amount of potential student candidates. In a city like Portland, known as the “Silicon Forest,” it seems silly that any college would fail to offer a business program. Portland houses several major corporations, including Nike, Columbia Sportswear and Intel, all of which employ a high number of business administration graduates. Although many students at LC choose to study less lucrative career areas, those that do major in high-paying fields benefit from this institution’s wide-ranging liberal arts curriculum. It is reasonable to assume, then, that a business program at LC would produce successful graduates, establish a positive regional reputation and enhance the school’s portfolio.

Related to business, though a completely separate field, LC lacks a concrete finance major, although the economics department offers a plentiful number of finance classes. Many individuals assume that economics and finance are so interwoven that it would be redundant to offer both departments; however, this is fundamentally wrong. Economics, the study of production and distribution, is a social science largely based on theoretical concepts meant to analyze policy and market fluctuations. Finance, on the other hand, focuses on money, interest rates and market activity, with professionals advising clients on investment opportunities and money management. Again, Portland possesses a plethora of finance-related corporations and internships that LC appears to be ignoring by disregarding the advantages a finance major would inevitably bring.

The LC Graduate School of Education and Counseling provides a number of graduate degrees in psychology and teaching, but the undergraduate campus offers no bachelor’s degree in education. As a student, commenting on programs offered at the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) appears rather inappropriate, but at the same time, it seems common sense that there should be a CAS education department. It is quite typical for students to continue their graduate studies at the same institution they earned their undergraduate degree. Yet, at LC, which runs an entire graduate school devoted to education, the CAS noticeably lacks an education program despite offering some courses taught primarily by graduate school professors. Like the business and finance majors, absence of an undergraduate education department reasonably turns away a hefty number of applicants. A career in education is certainly a valiant commitment what with unfortunate pay disagreements and frequent attempts by officials to alter curriculum, but teaching is among the noblest of callings. Individuals recognize and pursue the societal contributions of education, a fact that the CAS fails to adequately support.

Specific to business and finance programs, some critics may argue that a liberal arts college cannot effectively support students in these fields. However, this assertion is seriously flawed and many employers would advocate for employees that are trained through the many unique aspects of the liberal arts. Additionally, while the CAS offers the Teacher Pathways program for undergraduate students to receive early admission into the graduate school, this significantly differs from an actual undergraduate education degree. Assuming that potential applicants overlook LC due to these lacking majors is sensible, and the institution’s budget may, in the long-run, be suffering because of this.

There is no doubt that LC offers an impressive number of programs for its size. However, by neglecting to provide certain majors, this institution limits the pool of students considering submitting an application, a decision that harms the entire LC community what with our current fiscal state.

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1 Comment

  1. If a profession in business is your goal (and I think it’s a worthy goal) a business degree is NOT NEEDED. Study English, history, poly sci, or really anything. Many business hire for critical thinking not “degrees”. I spent 26 years in the business world and advanced to Officer level of Fortune 100 company. No business degree, no MBA just good education in critical thinking and being a creative problem solver which liberal arts provides. If you really think you want/need the business/finance degree go to OSU.

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