The Liberal Arts and 21st Century CareersA View from Liberal Arts Colleges Stanton Green Dean McMurray School of Humanities and Social Sciences Monmouth University Rethinking Success Wake Forest University April 2012
MY CASE: THE LIBERAL ARTS ARE ALL ABOUT PREPARING STUDENTS FOR CAREERS. THE ISSUE IS MAKING THIS CLEAR TO OUR STUDENTS, AND THE PUBLIC – THE CORPORATE WORLD ALREADY KNOWS THIS.
TO DO THIS WE NEED TO MOVE FROM:Typical Perceived Career Path of a Liberal Arts Major
Why the Recommended Career Path?? Because that is where many if not most of the Jobs and Careers are --
Where Do Liberal Arts Majors Find Jobs? Well – It really depends on where they look for them - Case Example: Anthropology Masters Graduates
How do we convince faculty to advise students toward the the opportunistic path?
Fear Tactic Have the Faculty read Frank Donoghue’s The Last Professors
Prediction of McDonalds University Writing in 1842, Francis Wayland, president of Brown University, offered an astonishingly prescient speculation about the future of American higher education. If the colleges did not provide the training desired by the mercantile and industrial interests, he argued, businesses would set up their own competing schools.
Thorstein Veblen 1912 … the university does operate like a business, but more radically, it serves as a comprehensive and uniform credentialing service for all business interests.
ORConvince the Academy and the Professoriate that the Liberal arts can be both The doorway to a well education person & A well prepared career path.
Student vs. Faculty Views It seems impossible for students not to think of jobs and careers as the price of a college education escalates and they plan for a life of work after graduation. Faculty in the humanities cannot help resenting a corporate culture that has permeated universities, often marginalizing their disciplines and managing their work lives
Perceptions Aside - Who actually is Being Hired? From the late 1980s through the mid–1990s, “when three-fifths of undergraduate degrees…were awarded in professional programs, almost half of new hires continued to be in the arts and sciences fields. The corporate world seems to understand that the liberal arts are doing the job – it is ironically the academy that seems not to….
Examples PNC Bank Wall Street Journal Article (April 5 2012) Companies say they need flexible thinkers with innovative ideas and a broad knowledge base derived from exposure to multiple disciplines. While most recruiters don’t outright avoid business majors, companies in consulting, technology and even finance say they are looking for candidates with a broader academic background
Which Company has been consistently the largest Employers of College Graduates?
Enterprise Rent-A-Car From their Web Page: Regardless of university major or professional experience, nearly 100% of our employees start out as Management Trainees allowing everyone to learn the business from the ground up. As you progress, you can continue along that managerial track or you can explore other exciting opportunities outside of rental.
What Do We need to Do in the Classroom Move from Content to Context driven learning (Colleges that Change Lives)
With a focus on explicating the Skills and Competencies that students learn in liberal arts classes
Recruiters want graduates who have the requisite skills to be able to perform and to learn on the job and therefore have excellent career potential
Employers are not usually interested in what students majored in – They want to know What students can do and & What they have done That are related to the job for which they are applying
Do Liberal Arts Students Have the Necessary Skills?It depends on who you ask.
Faculty and Student Perceptions of Student Skills Rated as good to extremely good
Consider the kinds of questions asked by HR offices when screening candidates for entry level position And think about these in terms of the kinds of learning objectives we have for liberal arts curricula
Skills Questions Taken Directly from HR interview screening sheets WhenReading, can you Identify the main facts and ideas? Identify cause and effect relations? When Writing, can you Demonstrate concepts in a variety of settings? When Listening, can you Distinguish fact from opinion?
A few more skills When Speaking, can you Concisely report factual information accurately Effectively express your opinion When working with data, can you Construct graphs? Interpret graphs? Can you work effectively as a team member? Can you work effectively as a team leader?
So How Do We Bring the Liberal Arts and 21st Century Career Preparation Together?
The School of Humanities and Social Sciences Career Advisement Initiative • Chair: Develop Career Advisement Modules • Dean: Integrate Career Advisement within curricular advisement structure • Dean: Coordinate Academic and Career Services Offices • Chair: Coordinate Skills, Syllabi and curricula
The Departmental Level:Career Advisement Modules Examples Career courses FAQ’s on careers for all advisors Department career fairs and networking events
Restructuring of Advisement Merge Department Advisement Coordinators & Career Advisement Coordinators
Coordinate Academics with Career Services One example: Convince career services that: Liberal Arts Job Fairs should grow to include corporations Networking events such as those used for Business majors work as well for liberal arts students.
Example 1: English Capstone Course AssignmentSkill • Short response paper When writing: demonstrate concepts in a variety of settings • Research Paper When Reading: analyze information from documents/ draw conclusions
Example 2: Psychology Thesis Course AssignmentSkill • Construct Poster for Symposium Interpret and Communicate data and results • Conduct survey and analyze data Construct and Interpret charts and Statistics
Example 3: Psychology Field Course ObjectivesSkills Become familiar with an Work within an organization: Employment setting understand structure
Archaeology Field School AssignmentSkill Keep detailed journal Demonstrate writing in a variety of settings Excavate a pit; survey a Field Team membership/leadership Map square or field Construct chart Maintain inventory of Understand budgeting concepts Equipment and supplies Identify and analyze artifacts Data analysis and Interpretation
Some good, some slow Good: Chairs started to think about the Career Advisement as part of what they normally think about as Advisement Slow: Some Chairs hesitant/resistant to being involved in “job preparation.” Good: Student Services and Academic Affairs starting to speak the same language– i.e. translating job search talk into career preparation and how this ties into academic programming Slow: Recent career fair included no corporations, rather the Marines, the NJ Cops, the Secret Service and a Mental Health Services Agency
Culture Change at the University Level The provost reassigned the networking/career consultant from the Business school the the School of Humanities and Social Sciences The Trustees have begun to realize the utility of the liberal arts in terms of their corporate mindset (vast majority from corporate world, a few from medical, legal and other professions).
Thank you very much for your attention
Skills Correspond To What the Positions Require How many Dicken’s Novels Do You Have to Read to Demonstrate that You Can: Read Critically Effectively Present Your Argument Verbally Provide an Effective Written Presentation of Your Position Accurately Depict a Story’s Time Line
Liberal Arts in the News • A mother speaks her mind and no one responds!!! • What Governor Scott Believes!!!
Do You Believe Philosophy Majors Can Find Jobs??? • A Rhetorical Question
Monmouth University Students with BA, BS with definitive plans for employment or post graduate school at commencement 2011
Monmouth University Masters students reporting full time employment at Commencement 2011