The University of Maryland Honors College and business school will partner to pilot an honors living-learning program that will examine the future of work and business starting in fall 2022.

The Interdisciplinary Business Honors Living-Learning Program opens opportunities for incoming freshmen of all majors at this university to combine technical skills with a broad approach to examining the role of business in the world.

“There was a real meeting of the minds,” said Peter Mallios, executive director of the Honors College. “We went back and forth, taking this idea of a big picture view of business and trying to imagine how big the picture can possibly be.”

In the two-year living-learning program, students will take five courses that focus on interdisciplinary foundations and engagements in business. In the culmination of their experience, students participate in an experiential learning opportunity in the business field ranging from internships to capstone projects.

Joseph Bailey, assistant dean for specialty undergraduate programs at the business school, hopes this new program will engage students in high-level business dialogue early in their academic careers at this university.

“This is another way for us to go ahead and help bring in some of the best and brightest students to the university and give them a really nice entrance point,” Bailey said.

[Purple Lights Night draws crowds to learn about domestic violence among college students]

The program fits under the Honors College umbrella because it considers interdisciplinary questions to target personal growth in each student, Mallios said. The collaboration between the business school and Honors College for the program has happened over the last nine months, Mallios said.

Bailey described the new program as a passion project that promotes his love of interdisciplinary education to new students at this university.

“I’ve always had a chance to be in an environment where interdisciplinary research, interdisciplinary dialogue, interdisciplinary interactions are not only encouraged but really required in order to help advance the future of scholarship,” Bailey said.

Some students in the Honors College who currently study business think it’s a good time for a business-focused program to join the college.

Alexis Reyes, a sophomore international business and supply chain management major in the Honors College, said the program could help new freshmen find a community of business students that she did not immediately find through the Design, Cultures and Creativity program.

Reyes hopes the new honors program appeals to non-business majors and helps them to step out of their comfort zone.

“I would have liked having business majors that I connect with and have that similarity with,” Reyes said. “I feel like I don’t have that same level of community that maybe I could have gotten if we had [a business-focused Honors College] program.”

[At Slut Walk, hundreds of students blast UMD on handling of sexual assault on campus]

Miranda Chung, a sophomore operations management and business analytics major in the College Park Scholars program, said adding a business Honors College program would be a welcome change.

“I know that the Honors College doesn’t have a business-centered program, so a lot of my friends who are in the honors program feel that they’re kind of left out from it,” Chung said. “I think it’s good that they have a program targeted towards business majors.”

The Interdisciplinary Business Honors Living-Learning Program is the only current program-wide partnership between the business school and the Honors College. The only other business-focused honors program was the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program, which ended in spring 2021.

“When I was choosing UMD, I did see EIP, but it just struck me as something focused on entrepreneurship, and that wasn’t exactly what I liked in terms of business,” said junior management major Christopher Chen. “I think having a more general business program would even have allowed me to choose a different major and still have that business aspect.”

Program managers are working with the Department of Residence Life to determine where students in the program will live.