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IU Big List

    An IU Alumni Association Constituent Publication

    The College
    Spring 1999


    Liberal Arts & Management: A Merging of Minds

    By Anne Kibbler
    Meredith Mira came to IU intending to train as a journalist. But after enrolling as a journalism major and taking some classes, she discovered that magazine and newspaper reporting were not for her.

    "I was kind of lost," she says. "I thought about switching to business, but my adviser thought it was a drastic change. He showed me what the rest of my college career would look like, and I realized it wasn't what I wanted."

    Mira's adviser suggested she look into the Liberal Arts and Management Program, a certificate program within the College that blends an arts and sciences major with courses in the Kelley School of Business and other courses designed especially for LAMP students. Mira followed through.

    "LAMP was exactly what I was looking for," she says. "I absolutely love it."

    Now a junior, Mira combines her interests in business and in communications and culture, her major. She would like to go to graduate school and may pursue a career in public relations.

    Senior Joe Dietlin began his college career with an eye to learning business skills. As a freshman pre-med student, he was already thinking ahead to the day he might run his own practice - a job that would require not only medical skills, but business acumen too. The natural choice for him was LAMP.
    Meredith Mira, left, and Suzy Poor do a "trust" exercise during a LAMP retreat.
    Meredith Mira, left, and Suzy Poor do a "trust" exercise during a LAMP retreat.

    Dietlin, a Wells Scholar, eventually switched his major to Spanish, but he stayed with LAMP. He graduates in May and hopes to go directly into a marketing or sales position or to do an internship in Latin America.

    "With business, there is such a finely tuned track of classes that it doesn't leave much room for improvization," he says. "Being on a campus with such a wide range of subjects, I thought it would be a tragedy not to take classes that would expand my knowledge in areas other than accounting and marketing."

    Mira and Dietlin are two of a small but growing number of students who are choosing a flexible but practical approach to their college education - a combination of an arts and sciences background and business smarts. LAMP fits the bill perfectly.

    Founded 11 years ago and then moved into the Honors Division, LAMP until now has admitted only 25 students each year. But last fall, the program became an independent unit within the College of Arts and Sciences to allow it to play a larger role on campus and within the College. The program has a new director and, for the first time, a full-time assistant director.

    Professor of History Michael McGerr, who succeeds Honors Division Director Lew Miller as head of the program, hopes to boost enrollment to 50 students next year and ultimately to 75 or 100. He also plans to refine and expand the curriculum.

    "There are more students who want this kind of preparation and education and are able to meet its requirements well," McGerr says. "This is a mature, established program that has a product that is very, very fine. We're at a point now where we can offer it to more students."

    The LAMP curriculum calls for students to follow the College's normal requirements for a bachelor's degree. In addition, LAMP students must take specialized courses in the business school, including accounting, business law, computer applications, and management. The third component of the curriculum is three interdisciplinary courses designed especially for LAMP and taught by faculty from both the School of Business and the College.

    As part of the program's expansion, McGerr is revising the format of the LAMP courses and is planning to make more use of arts and sciences faculty, stressing the ways in which they work on different issues involving business. He also hopes to establish joint positions between the College and the business school in areas such as business history. New courses will be added as well, such as two next year - one on big business and American society, the other on the nature of American businessmen and businesswomen. "By increasing the number of students in the program," McGerr points out, "we are able to offer these students expanded choices and opportunities."
    LAMP Director Michael McGerr and Assistant Director Nicole Thomas
    LAMP Director Michael McGerr and Assistant Director Nicole Thomas

    McGerr says combining classes in both the College and the business school presents a challenge to LAMP students. He calls the program "rigorous."

    "It's hard to work in two schools at once," says McGerr. "You have to be talented, and you also have to be focused. I think this is a program for leaders."

    The dual commitment to arts and sciences and business is not all that sets LAMP apart from other programs. Students receive one-on-one advising; they have access to closed sessions with job recruiters and increased opportunities for internships; and they take part in extracurricular activities.

    Last fall, for instance, LAMP students joined each other for a leadership and adventure retreat at Bradford Woods, IU's outdoor education, recreation, and camping center. In mid-October, a group of nine LAMP students traveled to Chicago for the National Business Tomorrow Conference, where they attended speeches and panel discussions with some of the country's top business and political leaders.

    One of the benefits of doing so many extracurricular activities together is the sense of camaraderie that develops among LAMP students.

    "One of the best things about LAMP is the dynamic of people the program pulls together," Mira says. "Everyone is driven, and everyone brings a different perspective because of their interests, which range from chemistry to art history to math."

    Dietlin describes his fellow LAMP students as "amazing." "It's inspiring to be around such motivated people," he says. "They are concerned with keeping a comprehensive knowledge base while honing their business skills. I think that takes a pretty special individual."

    McGerr says LAMP tries to give its students the best of both worlds.

    "We try to give them a concrete sense of what life in the business world is like, as well as the kind of outlook, flexibility, and sophistication that a major in the liberal arts provides," he says. "We want them to have a broad perspective on life and on business, so that they see business not only as a particular job or a particular set of skills, but also as part of a wide social context."

    "One of the best things about LAMP is the dynamic of people the program pulls together."

    For more information, check the LAMP Web site at or contact Assistant Director Nicole Thomas at (812) 856-4966 or at To "LAMP Graduates Get the Job Done" »



    Last updated: June 10, 1999
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