campus partner(s)

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching






Special Project

award date


project director

Tom Ehrlich

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

Grant Summary

$375,000 over 36 months. Roughly 60% of American college students are majoring in professional fields, with roughly a third of those majoring in business or marketing. Graduates in these fields, the Carnegie Foundation argues, need the capacities to understand, even foresee, social trends and needs; to be creative and innovative in their work; to play important leadership roles; to operate effectively in a global environment; to understand their own as well as other cultures; to know how to conduct themselves ethically and with integrity in their professions; and to understand the public purposes of their work. These students, in other words, need a liberal education. Yet after an initial review of more than 30 undergraduate business programs, in addition to ongoing work in other undergraduate professional fields and in the liberal arts, the Carnegie Foundation has found that attention to the core goals of liberal learning (analytical thinking, intellectual depth, ethical understanding, leadership, and creativity), though present in most programs, is limited in scope and not well integrated with other dimensions of students' training. The Business Education and Liberal Learning (BELL) project—an action research project that has as its goal widespread change in practices of teaching and learning—responds to this problem by exploring how the goals of a liberal education can best be integrated into undergraduate business programs. Having identified some promising models for the integration of business and liberal education, the Carnegie Foundation will further the work in four stages:

  • Preparatory work, including an extensive review of available literature relating to the ways professional education and liberal education can be mutually enriching; consultation with a range of experienced leaders in those fields; background analyses of programs on campuses they plan to visit, as well as protocols for those visits.
  • Field work, entailing site visits to at least 12 campuses that are effectively integrating business and liberal education. These will be done with an eye towards developing a rich and textured understanding of the strengths and limitations of the programs, and the usefulness of their key features for other settings.
  • Analysis of data gathered, leading to the production of a book and other resources which will help those in professional education incorporate important dimensions of liberal education into their students' learning, and help those in the liberal arts and sciences think about how liberal learning can contribute to the preparation of professionals.
  • Collaborative work with key stakeholders to draw attention to the importance of integrating liberal and professional education, to make the project's resources as useful as possible, and to disseminate findings through publication and through presentations at major conferences.

The total cost of this project is $900,000. In addition to Teagle's support, the Carnegie Foundation itself will contribute $375,000, and is seeking support from other funders for the remaining $150,000.