Professor Ficano Breakthrough

Carlena Ficano
The Business of Something

Carlena Cochi Ficano, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics, Intermim Chair of Business and Accounting

Business is both a fundamental and a derivative field of study. Facility with core business competencies such as finance, accounting, organizational behavior, and marketing is important, but in the end, all business is the business of something, and business alone is not enough. With this as a core philosophy, I am guiding the evolution of one of the College’s largest departments in a manner that respects student interest, provides a deep foundation in business content, offers myriad opportunity for experiential learning, and intentionally harnesses the immeasurable value of the liberal arts.

“Hartwick students are increasingly interested in making connections across disciplines …”

Nowhere is this evolution more obvious than in our revised curriculum for the major in business administration. Under this, students will work closely with their academic advisors to identify a track in either quantitative or integrative business and will select courses within and beyond the business department to build a specialization unique to their interests and goals. The latter happens through an independent applied research project in the quantitative track or through selection of a minor or second major in the integrative track. Hartwick students are increasingly interested in making connections across disciplines, whether it is a business and art double major preparing to market her own work or a business major/biology minor considering patent law in preparation for a career in healthcare management. The possibilities are limitless.

Student specialization builds from a solid core that includes new course requirements in managerial accounting, information systems, and quantitative analysis within the department and cognate coursework in critical communication and law and ethics beyond. These requirements are benchmarked against the recommendations of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), but they also formalize the interdisciplinarity that is the hallmark of Hartwick’s Liberal Arts in Practice mission.

Students have not been bystanders in the department’s evolution. Bobby Shepard ’18 (business, economics, and finance) has taken a lead in forming the Investment Club under the direction of Assistant Professor Dan Vo. Dakota Morgan ’19 (economics and business) worked with Lena Ryason ’17 to start the College’s chapter of DECA, a national organization for marketing and entrepreneurship. Stephanie Sacco ’18 (political science and business) will mentor the 2017–2018 cohort of University Innovation Fellows as they develop Hartwick’s makerspace under the direction of Assistant Professor Pauline Stamp.

Having taught economics at Hartwick for 20 years, I assumed the business chair position as an outsider. Sometimes, this perspective allows one to see what those immersed in the day-to-day operations cannot. With my first full year as chair behind me, I am proud of what we have accomplished and what we are on track to become. I love working with our students, who hold us to high standards as they place their trust in what we have to offer. I love, too, working with our faculty, who have been creative and proactive in moving forward an ambitious agenda. Exciting times lie ahead.

Appeared in Summer 2017 issue of  The Wick

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