Trainer, Mentor, Educator: What Role for the College Business Instructor in the Next Century?


  • S. Dolly Malik
  • Kenneth O. Morse


"“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”2 While business concepts have traditionally been passed onto the next generation by training, educational institutions have long disavowed inclusion of this type of training in their definition of education. As noted by Morse and Malik (1997), at the same time that the concept of lifelong education has gained a place within the context of professional programs such as business schools, most popular instructional paradigms have focused on training students in the application of business concepts. With this focus, business schools continue in their narrow educational role. While this has sparked a huge debate among liberal arts colleagues, business school compatriots have not re-visited this issue in quite a while; preferring, instead, to sidestep the debate as they attempt to develop more efficient means of instruction. This paper raises a fundamental question: What is our role within a holistic educational paradigm in the next century? Is it more appropriate for us to remain as trainers of the businessmen/women of tomorrow and let our liberal arts colleagues handle the other aspects of “education”? Or, should we increase our role to that of mentors by re-establishing the focus on developing more personal relationships between student and teacher, both in and out of the classroom? Does the in-creased complexity of our ever-changing business environment actually call for us to go a step further and assume the role of educator, in the true sense of the word, where we seek to shape eternity through our influence on our students, their lives and their thinking? "