The following piece from FiveThirtyEight offers insight into why students select certain majors. Students at selective universities are more prone to major in the liberal arts than students at less selective schools who tend to emphasize vocation-specific majors to ensure a more immediate return on investment. In the longer term, the article cites studies that show liberal arts majors surpassing their counterparts at peak earning ages. Follow the link below for more details.
Making the Case for the Value of a Liberal Arts Degree
In this editorial BYU English professor, Nick Mason, debunks several fictions about the purpose of a university education and the unique value of a liberal arts degree in today’s workplace.
Mark Cuban says Liberal Arts Majors Prepared for the Future
In an interview with Bloomberg news, internet billionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban argues that English, Philosophy, and foreign language majors are uniquely prepared for the disruptive jobs environment of the coming decade. The growth in computing power and increasingly sophisticated software will displace many fields and place a higher premium on workers who can contribute in more creative ways. See the full interview in the link below.*
*Thanks to Shasta Hamilton for this source.
Jobs for English Majors in the New Economy
Forbes magazine writer, George Anders, reports on a recent study by PayScale, which identifies fourteen job types that privilege English majors and pay at least $60,000 in salary. These positions range from the more traditional editing and tech writing opportunities to emerging work in the digital domain such as content strategists and web producers. “Turns out that even the digital economy needs people who are good with words,” Anders observes.
Follow the link below to the full article (includes a link to the PayScale study).
Job Market heating up for Humanities Majors
The Wall Street Journal reports on a recent study of employment prospects for 2015 college graduates. It shows that employers are increasingly look for people with strong communication skills and the ability to work comfortably in a multicultural environment. The study shows that 80% of graduates were employed or in graduate school within six months of graduation.
Follow the link to the article re-posted on Yahoo.
*Thanks to Paul Westover for the reference.
Find a Profession with Purpose
Cornell University economist, Robert Frank, explores how to think beyond salary in choosing a career path. Values such as a sense of mission, moral satisfaction, and expertise are keys to a sense of well-being, as well as professional success.
Follow the link below to the New York Times article.
Why Business Majors Need the Liberal Arts
A panel of educators at this month’s Aspen Ideas Festival pointed to the relationship between liberal arts training and business leadership potential. According to one participant, “American undergraduates are flocking to business programs, and finding plenty of entry-level opportunities. But when businesses go hunting for CEOs or managers, ‘they will say, a couple of decades out, that I’m looking for a liberal arts grad.’” In response to this challenge, a growing number of business programs are taking steps to ensure their students receive a broader education .
Follow the link below to the full article in The Atlantic magazine.
*Thanks to Susanne Roper for the reference.
Study Literature First, Then Learn to Code
A recent New York Times Op-Ed suggests a humanities background is just the thing for future software developers. Challenging the view that students interested in careers in software should learn to code at the expense of other priorities, Bradford Hipps makes the case for devoting the undergraduate years to liberal arts. Software, he argues, is “far more creative than algorithmic” which makes a liberal arts background uniquely helpful in solving the kinds of challenges developers face.
Follow the link below to the full piece.*
*Thanks to Scott Miller for the reference.
Astrophysicist Makes Case for Humanities Education
In a recent NPR commentary, University of Rochester astrophysics professor, Adam Frank, argues that college affords a singular opportunity for personal development that would be squandered if treated as “nothing more than job training.” A more balanced approach understands that the “old barriers between the humanities and technology are falling,” and a complete education will incorporate technical training within a broader liberal arts experience.
Follow the link for the full commentary.
Humanities Meets Computer Science
Building on the widespread growth of digital humanities programs across the country, a pilot program at Stanford University enables students in humanities fields to cultivate stronger computing skills with a combined major in computer science. While the program won’t necessarily turn these students into professional programmers, it gives them the chance to tailor their course of study by finding ways the two fields can complement each other. In other words, they can acquire computational skills in information management, analysis, and visualization that augment their humanities research interests.
See the link below to the Chronicle of Higher Education article.*
Thanks to President Kevin Worthen for the reference.