November 27, 2017
Writer: Noelle Helm
Beginning Winter Semester 2018, the Department of Business Management will be split into three new departments: the Department of Finance, the Department of Management, and the Department of Marketing.
The creation of these three departments was decided upon at the beginning of this fall semester, though the nature of the changes have been discussed since this past spring.
Edwin Sexton, the Dean of the College of Business and Communication, approached the Department of Business Management with the idea of splitting it into three, and suggested faculty members consider the change. A positive consensus among the faculty was reached.
Business Management faculty member Drew Eagar will serve as the chair of the newly created Department of Marketing in January. According to Eagar, as curriculum is formed, the departments can structurally take measures to resolve various concerns from administration, one of which being the high level of students leaving BYU-Idaho prior to graduating.
"We are exploring ways to make our specialized marketing classes, normally reserved for juniors and seniors, more accessible for freshmen and sophomores," Eagar said. "By reducing the amount of forced sequencing and prerequisites, we're hoping to get students exposed to their chosen area of study earlier."
According to Eagar, this structural change could harbor multiple benefits.
"One benefit is students can decide if they really like marketing or not before it is too late to change," Eagar said. "Another benefit is this allows them to gain employable skills earlier so they have the ability and confidence to get an internship even as freshmen or sophomores. This gives them a competitive advantage over their peers in other schools in competing for internships."
The new Department of Marketing will likely have three main career paths-- digital marketing, professional sales, and advertising---in lieu of formal emphases. Steps are also being taken to reduce the hour requirement for the major.
"We are limiting the number of hours required in our major so that students can choose to couple our program with an emphasis from another department, add our emphasis to another major, or just add more marketing skills to their marketing tool belt by taking more marketing classes as a marketing major," Eagar said.
Administration and faculty continue to work diligently to determine various details of the change, and a strategy has been established to guide the formation of future curriculum.
"The question that we're starting with as we build our curriculum is: 'What are the careers that our students are most likely to excel in?'," Eagar said. "We're building backwards from there. Instead of focusing on what each professor would like to teach, we're looking at where the jobs are right now. We're looking at areas of growth and targeting those as the end goals of what the degree is for. We're building classes that get our students best qualified for those jobs."
Though a strategy is in place, the courses have yet to be determined. Conceptually, the new departments exist, but curriculum cannot be established until the next catalog year. The Department of Marketing faces the challenge of accommodating students completing an advertising emphasis through the Department of Communication as well as students who will begin through the new department.
"Right now, we're looking at an interim solution, through allowing our communication students to take marketing classes, and vice versa," Eagar said.
Though the specifics are still being fine-tuned and much planning still remains, Eagar sees a shared positivity with his peers.
"This department split kind of invigorated everyone," Eagar said. "Rather than about 30 of us in the department, there are only about 10 in each. Everyone feels responsible for getting things done and creating a great program. There's a different energy level with the change, and I think it's been very positive."