The McIntire School’s innovative business education is renowned for providing exceptional student experiences and unmatched learning opportunities that are as relevant as they are transformative. Its well-deserved reputation is the result of a longstanding dedication to continuous curriculum development that extends to all of McIntire’s degree and certificate programs.
Thanks to generous support for the Centennial Fund for Faculty Excellence by two McIntire Foundation Board Trustees and their spouses, Peter (McIntire ’88) and Alison Engel and Merritt (McIntire ’83) and Elly Lane, the Leadership Minor is being relaunched for spring 2020. After a brief pause to reevaluate the interdisciplinary coursework, a reboot has provided the necessary upgrades to refine its solid business-based approach for students from across the University interested in acquiring the strategies, skills, and abilities necessary to lead people and organizations in today’s rapidly changing, complex global environment.
Offering McIntire courses and electives made possible through strong connections with the University at large, the minor provides both Commerce School students and those enrolled in UVA’s other schools with the opportunity to benefit from McIntire’s extraordinary learning environment and global perspective.
“With the recent reintroduction of the minor, one of the things we’re doing is giving McIntire students a greater depth of understanding of the subject in a way that pairs nicely with their Commerce School education,” explains McIntire Management Professor and Leadership Minor Director Jeffrey Lovelace. “For students pursuing degrees outside of McIntire, they will get a flavor of the Commerce School that they can then utilize, applying the leadership principles they’ve learned toward their chosen field or profession.”
Electives include communications classes supplying requisite practical skills, as well as coursework to suit the diverse needs of students enrolled in different courses of study across the University. For example, Engineering majors can pick an elective more closely related to their area of study, as the minor features classes examining leadership from an engineering perspective. A new structure also gives students the possibility of sampling a course from an altogether different school than where they are completing their major, thereby presenting a wider-ranging scope of leadership and its various areas of implementation.
“If an Engineering student wants to take a course at McIntire and they’re not going to have the ability to enroll in the B.S. in Commerce, then there are options such as ‘Business Ethics’ and other leadership-related courses at the School like ‘Public Speaking & Persuasion’ and ‘Advanced Business Speaking,’” Lovelace says. “One of the great aspects of the program is that it gives students flexibility to adapt it to their interests. Classes available outside of McIntire range from ‘Moral Leadership’ in Religious Studies to ‘Modern Techniques in Finance’ in Leadership and Public Policy and ‘Issues Facing Adolescent Girls’ in Education-Human Services.”
The Leadership Minor’s relevancy and versatility for students across the University are some of its great strengths—and aspects that appealed to the Engels and Lanes, inspiring their commitments with the hope they will motivate others to support an inclusive program open to all UVA students. For students enrolled at other schools at the University, the exposure to the broader world of business through McIntire can facilitate avenues for further studies, including graduate work in highly regarded one-year degrees such as the School’s M.S. in Commerce or certificates such as McIntire’s Business Fundamentals.
Ultimately, the uniqueness of the revamped program extends beyond imparting students with the leadership knowledge that will complement their core area of study and career goals; it shares a valuable part of the inimitable McIntire experience with UVA at large.