By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Lewis Litteral, chair of the management department at the University of Richmond’s Robins School of Business, recently held up two bottles of water, asking faculty and administrators about their origin, cost, quality and purpose in the session.

Participants at the Aspen Institute’s Business and Society Program had three minutes to respond in writing. Among the answers were comments about petroleum-based bottles being bad for the environment, and the benefits of producing jobs for workers.

The demonstration was a snapshot of Litteral’s first-year seminar “Water, Economics, Politics and Policies,” showing how business courses can foster thinking as is done in liberal arts.

Business is college’s most popular major and concerns about rigor have emerged since the book Academically Adrift, and other surveys pointed out that business majors spend less time studying, and show weakest gains in reading and writing skills in the first two years of college.

Read about improving the business major by Dan Berrett in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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