New business law minor at TRU could be draw for domestic students, professor says

Unique law minor at TRU

Thompson Rivers University’s school of business will be offering a new business law minor, a new program that will help differentiate the university to domestic students, according to a TRU law professor.

The proposal for the new minor came from school of business and economics professor Dan Thompson and law professor John O’Fee. The minor was approved by the board last Friday.

O’Fee said he thinks the new program will help attract and retain domestic students, a goal of the university following recent federal changes to international student permits.

“One of our strategies, perhaps, ought to be to look at what differentiates TRU from other universities in B.C. that are our size, or in Alberta, for example,” O’Fee said.

“As far as I'm aware, none of them have a minor in business law except for us.”

Comparable programs in Western Canada include a business law concentration at UBC, a major in business economics and law at the University of Alberta, a minor in business law at McEwan University in Edmonton and a business law concentration at Douglas College.

Taste of law school

O’Fee said he anticipates accounting and finance students would have the most interest in the new minor, but said the program is open to all.

“We suspect mostly business students, but again if you're an arts student with an eye on law school and you want to explore some legal concepts, these courses give you at least an overview,” O’Fee said.

"It gives you that opportunity to put your toe in the water and see what things are like and get a taste of it."

The new minor will be made up of several existing courses and three new offerings.

Courses cover real estate law, employment law, environmental law, advanced commercial law and Indigenous business law. Students in the program will be required to take at least four of the five offerings.

Those in the program will also be required to take a course on commercial law, a core course for all business administration students.

“We think it’s going to be something that students will see as relevant to their future — gives them an opportunity to explore an area of study that you don’t normally get in undergrad,” O’Fee said.

“Understanding how the law works, understanding core legal concepts is something that will will serve you well in life regardless of whether or not you end up practicing law.’

According to the proposal that went in front of the university’s senate and board of governors, a survey of 214 BBA students saw 75 per cent of respondents indicate they plan to complete one of the courses in the minor and 70 said they would take the minor or additional business law courses.

The proposal anticipates the program would see 20 graduates a year.

Eventually a major?

O’Fee said the school of arts is also looking to create a legal studies minor, which he said may eventually help to get a legal studies major off the ground depending on student demand.

“Once we've got that in place, we can kind of cobbled together enough courses for a major at some point,” O’Fee said.

“That's going to depend on student demand, but if it's just as successful as we hope then obviously that would be a step down the line.”

The new minor will be offered for the first time in September.

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