Contemporary Business Administration Curricula: In Today's Business and Marketing Education, the National Standards Reflect a Broad Business Context

By Gleason, James R. | Techniques, October 2006 | Go to article overview

Contemporary Business Administration Curricula: In Today's Business and Marketing Education, the National Standards Reflect a Broad Business Context


Gleason, James R., Techniques


WHAT TO TEACH? IT IS THIS MOST BASIC of questions that defines who we are. As answered by national initiatives, state education departments, legislated standards and, most importantly, local teachers, decisions on how to use our limited time with students define our programs and our impact on future business leaders.

Course titles notwithstanding, teachers who focus on employability skills are teaching an employability course. Those focusing on basic software applications courses are teaching entry-level skills typical of those being added to elementary and middle school curricula. Similarly, teachers using limited class time for day-to-day operations of a school store are suggesting that the course outcomes should focus at least in part on very basic customer service skills and daily store operations and housekeeping.

While few of us would argue the importance of employability, customer service and software application skills, all of us must consider today's education environment, with its heavy focus on reform through increased rigor, relevance and relationships. If CTE is to grow and if it is to serve the needs of today's students, local teachers must think more strategically, must focus more heavily on instructional outcomes (vs. process), and must work toward higher levels of integration and articulation.

Business and marketing educators must continually look to industry to inform the "what to teach" question. Daily decisions regarding assignments, projects and assessments must be driven by the skill sets that industry believes critical, even as these same activities are further defined by college expectations for their own graduates.

Contemporary Business Curriculum

The National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) career clusters initiative continues work completed as part of several federal projects in the late 1990s and early 2000s. This initiative marks the first time that the state directors have ventured into the curriculum arena. The association's plan is to continue the research and foster development of curricula and assessments for each of 16 broad occupational groupings known as career clusters. These clusters encompass a broad range of careers, ranging from agriculture to law, health to government, and finance to education.

In analyzing the clusters, MarkED/Career Paths identified four of particular interest due to their focus on business enterprise. Research indicates that career opportunities in these four clusters are closely related in that they utilize a common base of core business skills. These clusters include:

* Business, Management and Administration

* Finance

* Hospitality and Tourism

* Marketing, Sales and Service

Viewed together, these clusters represent a comprehensive business administration model supported by a set of core business concepts with specialized skills and concepts for each of the four career clusters. This approach parallels a typical college business administration program in which students select specific majors or areas of specialization.

In June 2006, MarkED/Career Paths released the second in a series of draft reports that ultimately can define both business and marketing education within the broader parameters of the new business administration model. The first two phases of a continuing curriculum research initiative addressed a wide range of career options typical of business administration programs.

MarkED'S research focused on finance, management and administration, and marketing, including more specialized pathways such as accounting, banking, administrative services, human resources, professional selling, retail merchandising and entrepreneurship. Additional research in hospitality, travel and tourism is scheduled to begin this winter.

Based on 75 industry focus groups conducted in 19 states, the research identified curricula content critical to all students interested in virtually any business career, and additional content critical to business and marketing students in specialized programs such as those listed above. …

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