About the Course

The Instructor


Mary Flannery

Mary Flannery is an economist and the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies in the College of Arts and Letters. Prior to her appointment to the deanship, Dr. Flannery served as the Associate Chair and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the economics department. Her current research interests are economics pedagogy and the telecommunications industry. She received her B.A. and M.A. in economics from the University of Notre Dame in 1978 and 1979, respectively, and her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in 1996.


Course Description

I want to

“…see how all of my educational interests relate.”

“...discern what I want my career to look like and how I will find meaning in the work I do.”

“...shape myself into a well-rounded person.”

“...bridge the gap between corporations and people on the ground.”

“...integrate my faith and my interest in business.”

If you are in this course – and the whole Sheedy Family Program – it is because you are seeking something. You have questions like, How can I connect my business major with my minor in psychology, or Spanish, or economics? Where can I learn the moral standards that will guide my actions in the business world? What do I tell my well-meaning relatives when they ask, of my liberal arts major, “What are you going to do with that??” How are degrees in business and the liberal arts mutually enriching – a “sum greater than the parts” situation?

Those questions are the reasons we’re all here together. In this course, the gateway to the Sheedy Family Program, we’ll probe some of the most important questions informing the SFP’s key terms: economy, enterprise, and society. You’ll learn to dialogue with peers – a vital “real world” skill with deep roots in the liberal arts. You’ll flexibly integrate ideas from across disciplines and genres from ancient philosophy to modernist poetry to contemporary film. You’ll meet faculty from multiple disciplines – all working at the intersection of business and the liberal arts – who will draw you into their passion projects or areas of expertise. And, along the way, you’ll lay the groundwork for the sense of community that you’ll sustain throughout your time in the Sheedy program. We can’t wait.


Mary Flannery, Chris Hedlin, and Paul Blaschko

Course Learning Goals

By the end of this course, you will…

  1. …understand how business and the liberal arts mutually enrich one another, and identify and articulate some of the biggest questions that this intersection raises.

  2. …know how to contribute constructively to, and facilitate, liberal arts-style dialogue and appreciate why it is valuable for community building, career discernment, and answering big questions.

  3. …have laid the intellectual groundwork to navigate the Sheedy Family Program and the rest of their lives intentionally, including reading and communicating with people from diverse disciplines and backgrounds.

About the Sheedy Family Program

"Business in Context: The Big Questions" is the gateway course for the Sheedy Family Program in Economy Enterprise and Society in the College of Arts & Letters. See the program's website at https://sheedyprogram.nd.edu/