Friday, June 10, 2016

Liberal Art Majors and Job Skills

The Chronicle of Higher Education has an interesting piece on a subject we have been giving a lot of thought to - liberal arts majors and careers.  In "Liberal-Arts Majors Have Plenty of Job Prospects, if They Have Some Specific Skills, Too" the point is made that gaining a few specific skills can greatly increase the chances of getting a good first job.

From the article:
The analysis can help defuse the debate over the value of a liberals-arts education versus a career-focused one, says Matthew Sigelman, chief executive at the job-market-analytics company Burning Glass Technologies. The company undertook the analysis as part of its continuing study of the job market.
"Employers really value soft skills that are the bedrock of a liberal-arts education," he says. But many employers are also looking for applicants with additional, specific skills, such as knowledge of Java or other programming languages, or proficiency with graphic-design tools like InDesign or Adobe Suite. "It’s not a matter of shutting down the classics department and turning it into a business degree," he says.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

"Everything has a history."

James Grossman's op ed, "History isn't a 'useless' major," is worth a read.  He is the executive director the American Historical Association.  From the essay:

"All liberal arts degrees demand that kind of learning, as well as the oft-invoked virtues of critical thinking and clear communication skills. History students, in particular, sift through substantial amounts of information, organize it, and make sense of it. In the process they learn how to infer what drives and motivates human behavior from elections to social movements to board rooms.
Employers interested in recruiting future managers should understand (and many do) that historical thinking prepares one for leadership because history is about change — envisioning it, planning for it, making it last. In an election season we are reminded regularly that success often goes to whoever can articulate the most compelling narrative. History majors learn to do that."