Because many University graduates will work for large corporations, hospitals and schools, a revamped organizational studies program has been introduced this year to provide an understanding of how such organizations function.
In previous years, organizational studies was offered as an individual concentration program a major students designed by working one-on-one with a professor but it was disbanded a year ago because the University wanted a comprehensive concentration, program director Richard Price said. A planning committee Price formed developed a completely new interdisciplinary concentration that students can apply to after their sophomore year.
University Prof. Wayne Baker said the program, which studies various professional organizations such as large business corporations, hospitals and schools, provides students with knowledge vital to their success in the professional world.
“Most University students will work in a large organization,” Baker said. “They need to learn how to operate and thrive in them, and organizational studies gives them a lens to look at organizations and understand what they”re going into.”
In addition to the students who seek employment in the business and public sector, many organizational studies majors study law or public policy in graduate school, Price said.
The prerequisites to the program are introductory sociology, psychology and economics classes, and the concentration requirements include a minimum of 39 credits, field research and quantitative skills classes and seven courses from a variety of core subjects such as economics, anthropology and psychology. Students must also complete nine elective credits.
Psychology Prof. Jane Dutton, a member of the planning committee that created the concentration, said the prerequisite classes teach the basics of how organizations work. Once students develop this foundation, they can choose from a variety of classes to study organizations in a specific subject of interest.
LSA junior Andrew Wong, one of about 40 students participating in the new organizational studies program, said the core classes examine different aspects of organizations in a variety of disciplines.
“The interdisciplinary nature of the program really makes it such an attractive concentration because I am able to take a wide variety of courses while obtaining an in-depth analysis of organizations,” Wong said. “It will provide me with a better approach to looking at different situations by giving me a solid foundation in a variety of fields and disciplines.”
Although organizational studies is currently an interdisciplinary program, classes are being developed within the department. Baker said he is creating a class in which teams will examine different parts of a business by using surveys that question the interactions and values of the employees within the organizations.
Baker said the class will provide students with a picture of a social network within a professional organization by combining the theories students learn in their inter-disciplinary courses with hands-on experience.
Upper-level seminars are also being developed, and a five-year accelerated degree program in which students can receive an undergraduate degree in organizational studies and a master”s degree from the School of Information has recently been approved. Price said although the program is intentionally starting small, he expects it to eventually grow to approximately 200 concentrators.