A study to determine the status and role of Introduction to Business in the collegiate business curriculum



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Purposes The purposes of the study were (1) to determine the present status and role of the Introduction to Business course in the various collegiate business curricula; (2) to determine changes that have taken place during the past ten years in regard to its place, function, and content; (3) to determine how the various schools treat the issue of transfer credit for students who have taken the course in a junior or community college; and (4) to determine the philosophical approaches of the surveyed schools and whether or not the approach had a bearing on the course being offered. Procedures Data for the study were obtained from questionnaires responded to by the 1972-1973 members of the American Association of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the National Association for Business Teacher Education (NABTE). Deans and department heads in the above schools which presently offer the course, had offered the course in the past, or planned to do so in the near future, were surveyed by means of three separate questionnaires. The number of schools offering the course, the number of years offered, the hours of credit given, average class size, and whether the course was elective or required, were examined. Additionally, objectives of the course, its importance to the overall curriculum, topics omitted or added, teaching methods and techniques used, educational and experience levels desired for teachers of the course, and any recent changes that had occurred or were contemplated, were reviewed to determine status and role attributed to the course by participating schools. Other areas surveyed were the philosophical approaches of the reporting schools and whether a competency-based teaching procedure was in use or contemplated for the course. Data obtained were then compared with results of a similar survey completed in 1964 to determine whether the Introduction to Business course had maintained its status during the ensuing ten years or had declined in importance. Findings and Conclusions Introduction to Business was offered by almost 55 percent of respondent schools. The course was more often a part of the curriculum in NABTE than in AACSB schools. The course was considered important, particularly as a basic survey course upon which to build more advanced courses. No relationship was found between philosophical approach of a particular school and whether or not the course was offered. All philosophical approaches were represented among schools offering the course, those who had dropped it, and those who planned to offer it in the near future. Credit hours granted for the course have decreased since the prior study while the number of years that the course was offered have increased; it remains primarily a freshman course. NABTE schools required the course for all business and business education majors and some specific majors much more often them did AACSB schools. The number of schools making the course available to students outside the college or department of business has almost doubled since the 1964 study. Teacher preparation and experience recommended by respondents averaged over three years of teaching experience and approximately two and one-half years of related work experience. The Master's degree was listed as the minimum requirement by approximately two-thirds of responding deans and department heads with AACSB members recommending the doctorate an equal number of times. Teaching techniques and evaluation methods have not changed appreciably over the years. However, the use of outside materials, primarily from the news and communications fields, has more than doubled since the prior survey. Competency-based teaching appears to be neither widely understood nor utilized by either AACSB or NABTE schools. Recommendations 1. Introduction to Business should remain at the freshman level. Seventy-five of 101 schools offered the course at that level. They indicated that a foundation course is needed and will prove most helpful to beginning business students. 2. Business school deans and department heads should consider requiring courses in the areas of statistics, finance, accounting, and data processing as part of the preparation for teachers of the course, since these business areas are. often omitted from classroom presentation. 3. Introduction to Business teachers should be given training in the availability, source or location, selection, and utilization of supplementary aids in teaching the course. 4. Schools not presently making the course available to students outside the college or department of business should consider doing so to help prepare such students for living in our business-oriented society. 5. To facilitate transfer credit, articulation between junior community colleges and four-year colleges and universities should be improved. 6. Teachers of the course should have a broad educational background in business subjects with three years of teaching experience strongly recommended. The most experienced teachers and those possessing the highest qualifications—Master's degrees as a minimum—should be utilized, 7. A study to outline competencies required and desirable for teachers of the course should be undertaken. It would support the adoption of competency-based teaching for those schools desiring to use such an approach and serve as the basis for developing a course in competency-based teaching methodology. 8. After competency-based education is more universally utilized, further investigation should be made to determine changes in materials, methods of presentation, evaluation, and attitudes toward the course due to adoption of the competency-based approach. 9. Schools charged with the preparation of business teachers should develop an Introduction to Business methods course and require it for all teachers planning to specialize in this area of teaching. 10. Teachers of the course should keep abreast of new developments in business and adapt their teaching to such new developments. 11. Textbook authors and publishers should note the areas usually added or omitted by teachers of the course in their classroom presentations and consider adding or deleting those topics in future revisions of the text. 12. In approximately ten years, a follow-up study should be conducted to determine the status and role of the Introduction to Business course at that time and for comparison with the present study.