New Program at UCL: Humanities and Business

University College London is doing what several business schools have chosen to do in the wake of the economic downturn: infuse their business program with humanities study. They find that the humanities can help with communication, writing, critical thinking, leadership and innovation. But the benefits work both ways: humanities students stand to gain from learning business culture and skills.

Excerpt:
Those organizations which can adapt quickly and productively will survive short-term economic fluctuations and extend success into the long-term, but such organizational flexibility can require breaking away from conventional outlooks. The need for fundamental change in business has undoubtedly received added impetus from the recent global economic crisis,which has alerted those within the commercial community to the need for innovative approaches to leadership and strategy and for an understanding of how human qualities play a key role in commercial environments. In turn, humanities experts and the universities at which they teach only stand to gain from engaging with their social and entrepreneurial environments, and exploring the relations between their research practice with the world of business. 

“It’s not about you…” On the value of the liberal arts.

We live in an extremely materialistic, entitled and increasingly self-centered world. Americans often seem too willing to short-circuit their education and the proper development of their minds, sensibilities and morals because they see life simply as a race to the money and to personal glory. 

The author of this article reminds us that the liberal arts should play a central role in the academic experience in order to gain a broad perspective on humanity, a sense of humility, and perhaps the wisdom to live a rich and meaningful life in the pursuit of good.

Excerpts:

Yet the secret to the good life, the core value that is at the core of our university’s mission, I tell them, “is to help you realize, deep in your hearts, that it is not all about you. This experience is all about you realizing that it’s not all about you.

The Quality education is the nurturing and development of curiosity, creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, wisdom, ethical sensibility, and judgment. Quality education mediates between what’s in the books and what’s on the streets, between cosmic theory and common sense. Quality education instills the humility and grace to know that you don’t know it all.

More than ever, the world needs students educated in the liberal tradition. A liberal education helps the student to transcend generations. As T.S. Eliot wrote: “It is in fact part of the function of education to help us escape, not from our time — for we are bound by that — but from the intellectual and emotional limitations of our time.”

A liberal education helps the student navigate a world of religious, political, and cultural diversity, a world that seems to spin ever faster and faster on its axis, accelerated by changes in science and technology that seem to move at the speed of light.

The “liberal” in liberal education is not about politics, but rather mind and soul, a broad-based exposure to a multiplicity of academic disciplines, an emphasis on open-minded critical inquiry and creative problem-solving, an understanding that there is nobility in approaching education not as the filling of a résumé but the fulfilling of life.

More here: http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/2010/oct/10/ed-smol10-ar-551645/

Recycled: 10 Ways to Market Your Liberal Arts Degree

Many Liberal Arts majors know their degree is valuable. They just don’t know how to “understand, articulate, and apply” it in the career prep process. From writing resumes and cover letters, to interviewing and developing additional skills, the following article has some good pointers on applying your liberal arts background to the job-prep process. Read more…

The Utilitarian Value of the Non-Utilitarian Degree

Check out my article in the BYU Humanities Magazine. It synthesizes many of the points made in the articles collected here. Feel free to circulate it. Utilitarian Value.pdf

Want to Teach Overseas?

You’ve heard of Teach for America? How about Teach Away? Check this website for teaching positions all over the world:

Michigan State Report on Hiring Trends Holds Surprises

It’s no secret: graduating seniors are facing one of the toughest job markets in decades. Overall hiring plunged dramatically during 2009/10, with American companies reducing their hiring targets by 35-40%.  

What does this mean for humanities students?  It is not as bleak as it might appear. 

The Michigan State report also claims that employers want above all flexibility. “They seek candidates across all majors who can slide into a number of positions as needed or can adapt quickly to changing conditions. Their focus is on candidates with a mix of technical aptitude and essential soft skills.”

It goes on:

Over 600 companies indicated that they would consider any
graduate
for a position; at 33% of respondents, this figure is at a historic
high. These companies will be hiring approximately 26 individuals per
company, an increase of 6%.

See the entire report here: http://ceri.msu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/RT20092010.pdf

A Medical School for Humanities Majors?

The Humanities and Medicine Program at the Mount Sinai medical school in New York accepts about 35 undergraduates a year from humanities and social science disciplines–even if they have never taken any ‘hard’ science courses! 

The school has found that such students are able to catch up on the science but that they add this much desired dimension: a sense of mission, a broad humanistic vision and the interpersonal skills to become better healers. 

What this says to me is that a humanities major who engages in Humanities+ and who does a minor in a scientific discipline or who completes the prerequisites for medical school probably has an equal or better chance of getting into an excellent medical school than the straight-on science major or ‘tech geek’. 

What it also suggests is that the traditional ‘science-only’ majors who wish to become doctors could improve their chances with top schools (and of becoming better healers) by taking rigorous coursework in the humanities disciplines–a strategy that we in our College are calling +Humanities. 

Read more in today’s NYT: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/30/nyregion/30medschools.html?h

State Department Fellowships: apply by July 31

Accepting applications for the 2010 Diplomacy Fellows Program
From:
U.S. Department of State <careers@state.gov>

Add to Contacts

To: sprengers23@yahoo.com

The State Dept is accepting applications for the 2010 Diplomacy Fellows Program.

Click here (http://careers.state.gov/officer/fellows-program.html) for more information, and to start the application process. Please note that the deadline to submit completed applications is July 31, 2010.

General Qualifications for the DFP Program:

  1. You must be a U.S. citizen.
  2. You must be at least 20 and not more than 59 at the time of application.
  3. You must be available for worldwide assignment.
  4. You may not have been separated from the Foreign Service under certain sections of the Foreign Service Act.
  5. You must have participated in one of the 9 eligible Fellowship programs (please (click here to view the list) and you must have successfully completed all program requirements and received your master’s degree within 5 years of the vacancy announcement closing date.

Please read the entire vacancy announcement for details about qualifications, evaluations and requirements.

We appreciate your interest in a career with the U.S. Department of State.

What Hiring Managers Wished You Knew

Excerpt:

Your resume should answer one key question.

The vast majority of resumes I see read like a series of job descriptions, listing duties and responsibilities at each position the job applicant has held. But resumes that stand out do something very different. For each position, they answer the question: What did you accomplish in this job that someone else wouldn’t have?

New grads need work experience.

I receive all too many resumes from recent grads who have literally no work experience: nothing, not internships, not temp jobs, nothing at all. Find a way to get actual work experience before you leave school. Do internships every semester you are able, so that you have experience on your resume. Paid, unpaid, whatever it takes. If a part-time job of a few hours a week is all you have time for outside of your classes, that’s fine. Do that. No one will hire you? Find work experience as a volunteer–that counts too.

See more here: http://finance.yahoo.com/career-work/article/109835/21-things-hiring-managers-wish-you-knew?mod=career-worklife_balance

The More Things Change…

Many recent posts have discussed how business leaders are noticing a gaping lack in the basic critical thinking and leadership skills of recent graduates.They’re saying that technical know-how is necessary, but so is a grounding in the liberal arts traditions. Many prestigious schools are encouraging their students to return to those traditions.

The NYT recently featured a story about how in the 1950’s the CEO of Bell Telephone helped set up a program to train his technicians in humanistic study. A sociologist of the time explains why: 
 “A well-trained man knows how to answer questions, they reasoned; an educated man knows what questions are worth asking.” Bell, then one of the largest industrial concerns in the country, needed more employees capable of guiding the company rather than simply following instructions or responding to obvious crises.

In 1952, Gillen took the problem to the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a trustee. Together with representatives of the university, Bell set up a program called the Institute of Humanistic Studies for Executives. More than simply training its young executives to do a particular job, the institute would give them, in a 10-month immersion program on the Penn campus, what amounted to a complete liberal arts education. There were lectures and seminars led by scholars from Penn and other colleges in the area — 550 hours of course work in total, and more reading, Baltzell reported, than the average graduate student was asked to do in a similar time frame.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/16/opinion/16davis.html