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The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

New Fall 2024 Business Law course sparks excitement and intrigue

The course cover image for MGT 300, detailing the course information. /Courtesy of Utica University’s Facebook page.

Announced on March 28 on Utica University’s Facebook page, the Fall 2024 semester will offer a brand new course titled MGT 300: “Pop Culture Through the Eras (Lawyer’s Version).” The post garnered a lot of attention from students, staff and alumni. 

Developed by Title IX Coordinator and Adjunct Lecturer Ann Ciancia, the course will aim to cover aspects of business and contract law through the lens of pop icon Taylor Swift. 

“Business law is a part of the business curriculum, and it can be a dry subject,” Dean of the School of Business and Justice Studies Richard Fenner said. “Across the curriculum, we’re trying to come up with ways that make the information as interesting, compelling and contemporary as possible.”

According to Fenner, the MGT 300 prefix is used to designate courses that are “selected topics,” allowing for variation in course content and themes. For the coming term, Ciancia’s course will occupy the slot to give it a “trial period.”

Emmalee Kadle, a first-year physics major, voiced her excitement regarding the course on the university’s Facebook page, stating that she hopes she can fit it into her schedule. 

“I am excited about the course for numerous reasons,” Kadle said. “My main reason is that I look up to Taylor Swift not only as an artist but as a person. She has broken records and has inspired lots of women including myself. I believe that she has truly paved the way for future generations of women in the music industry.”

Kadle said the course will be a breath of fresh air in her education, since it will be relating academic concepts to a topic she engages with.  

“I can’t speak for everyone but I think one of the main reasons why students aren’t more involved in their classes is because we’re learning about things that don’t relate to us,” Kadle said. “We’re learning more about what our ancestors did and went through to the point where it’s drilled into our brains and it simply doesn’t interest us anymore.”

While the course has been well received by many, some have voiced concerns regarding an adjunct faculty member developing an original course on their own. Typically, adjunct faculty are hired to teach curriculum and courses that have already been fleshed out by full-time professors. 

“In general, I agree that full-time faculty members should design and teach courses. But, there are exceptions, and I believe this is one,” Fenner said. “For the last thirty years, we have not had a full-time position in business law. It is mandated by our crediting body that we have business law credits, but I don’t believe that is enough to justify hiring a full-time faculty line in that area.” 

Fenner said that this is not the first time an adjunct faculty member has taught a business law course, but it will be the first time one has fully developed and taught their own business law curriculum at Utica University. 

“There was a faculty member, Professor Donna Dolansky, who was doing much of the official work with the adjunct,” Fenner said. “It then went to the business faculty, they voted on it, then it went to the school of business and justice studies, they looked at it, and then it went to the curriculum committee.” 

According to Fenner, originally the course was going to be admitted as a permanent course in the catalog. However, the concerns surrounding it resulted in it being turned into the selected topics offering for the Fall 2024 semester. 

“If it is accepted and it does well, students like it and it meets our objectives, then we will consider going through the official process to make it a regular course,” Fenner said. “If that is the case, it isn’t always necessarily the case that [Ciancia] would teach it. It would be on the books, and we could hire someone else.” 

Students enrolling in the class for the Fall 2024 semester should be aware that it will not be a Taylor Swift course, but a business law course, Fenner said. Nevertheless, he and other students at Utica University are excited to see the results of presenting business law information in a new way.

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Kayden Lamphere
Kayden Lamphere, Special Assignment Reporter

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