Trend at Cornell to Add Practical Minor to Humanities Degrees

The Cornell Sun reports that students in humanities disciplines at Cornell are increasingly adding “practical” minors to their humanities training. In fact, Pauline Yu, President of the American Council of Learned Societies, cites this as a nationwide trend.

Adding a minor is an excellent idea and sounds like a Humanities+ strategy. The difference, however, is the justification. Mention is made in the article of the minor as a “fallback,” something to pursue if the Humanities don’t work out.

While understandable, the fallback idea is not a well-reasoned or informed career strategy. It also does not recognize the market value of humanities skills and capacities in today’s global economy. Based on market evidence found in this blog, students would be smarter to consider interdisciplinary combinations as more than the sum of the parts. The market is not looking just for technical minors OR for the humanities in isolation, but both and in interesting combinations.

When asked what kinds of skills American employers are looking for in recent grads, labor researcher, Phil Gardner, sums it up like this:

“There are really only two choices for graduates who want a lot of options: to be a technically savvy liberal arts graduate or liberally educated technical graduate.”

And this view is based a survey of over 10,000 companies.

Also missing in the Cornell piece is an emphasis on internship experience. Well above 80% of employers of college grads require it.

read about Cornell here:

Speak up! Let us know what you think.