Experiment in Arts Integration Broadens Business Curriculum, Produces High-Impact Leaders

Business Faculty Mona Sabuco and Douglas Jordan Use Theater and Dance to Build Skills in Communication, Management
March 8, 2016

Rohnert Park, CA - The School of Business and Economics (SBE) at Sonoma State University (SSU) announced that Dr. Mona Sabuco, Professional Faculty in Management, and Dr. Douglas Jordan, Professor of Finance, have integrated principles of theater and dance studies with business administration for an innovative experiential linked-learning environment designed to develop students' leadership, communication, and operations management skills. In cooperation with Scott Horstein, SSU's Dramaturg, concepts and practices from acting and production are incorporated in coursework to enable students to apply theory in organizational behavior and strategic management to performing arts, and connect what they learn in the classroom to real-world scenarios.

"We've created a bridge​ between the business of theater and the practice of theater so that students can both visualize a business career in the arts, and develop skills beneficial to every leader, such as critical thinking, service orientation, creativity, complex problem solving, and costing of a major project," Mona Sabuco, SSU Professional Faculty in Management said.

"Often students don't view arts as an industry where they can make a living. The business and arts integration approach enables us to connect the classroom to practical business projects and develop critical skills for career success," Douglas Jordan, SSU Professor of Finance said.

Current business courses featuring curriculum that integrates performing arts include the graduate-level Operations Management course, and undergraduate Management Capstone, Organizational Behavior, Computer Applications in Finance, and Investment courses. Integrated coursework includes field trips to see a live performances and record observations connecting theory and practice around project management, strategy, budget and schedule development, organizational behavior, and leadership.

"The value in this experience is making a connection to​ a business as a whole, with different parts in motion. We had the opportunity to see the internal structure of a major production and the output of a performance. It's similar to having an external view of a company and then reviewing its financial statements. The consumer or audience member only sees a final product or performance, which is the sum of different functions in the organization. This experience provided important perspective on everything that contributes to a company's success," Jack Gardella, a graduating senior in the Strategic Management Capstone course said.

For more information regarding the business and arts integration project, or for information regarding degree programs in the School of Business and Economics, please contact (707) 664-3477 or visit www.sonoma.edu/sbe.