Five Questions With Sylvia Maxfield

Sylvia Maxfield | Dean of the College of Business, Providence College

1. What classes are included in Providence College’s new business and innovation minor? Three core foundation classes, as well as a capstone individual project, which includes writing a full-fledged plan with financials, marketing initiatives and organizational development for a new business, nonprofit or social enterprise, political campaign or other [endeavor] are included in the minor. The other three classes, for a total of seven in the minor, are electives aligned with the student’s track. There are four tracks – organizational dynamics and context, science, art and design, and global affairs.

2. How will the new business and innovation minor augment the existing business curriculum? It’s an option offered as a complement to liberal arts and sciences majors – an alternative to the business curriculum. The new minor is not open to business majors and is not a gateway for a business degree. It is a gateway to professional success for liberal arts and sciences majors.

3. Will other departmental courses and/or professors be involved with the implementation of this minor? In summer 2017, I met with almost every department chair outside the business school to explain our vision and enlist their support. Almost every department across PC’s campus is involved in some way supporting the new business and innovation minor. … The combined list of electives across the four tracks includes courses from almost every department outside the business school.

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4. What’s one example of the cross-departmental nature of the minor? It’s important to note the minor’s program director, Eric Sung, is an associate professor of photography in PC’s art department. He … was chosen because the program has a strong design component through a new course offered in the art department focused on design and creative problem-solving.

5. How will this minor further allow Providence College students to stand out from other job applicants of a similar age and educational background? The business and innovation minor represents a new option for liberal arts and sciences majors to prepare for professional careers. They will do so in PC’s curriculum, which [addresses] employer demand for employees with a proven ability to approach challenges with a problem-solving [knowledge] founded in creativity, interdisciplinarity and resilience.

Emily Gowdey-Backus is a staff writer for PBN. You can follow her on Twitter @FlashGowdey or contact her via email,

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