What about Jobs?
(with thanks to Tid for his research here)
Liberal arts education has always tried to value education for its own sake, rather than as training in a specific subject discipline or as training for a specific job. Our degree in Modern Liberal Arts is still committed to higher education as valuable in its own right, for the formative power that it can have on how we think about the world and about ourselves. But this work doesn’t make students less likely to get jobs – although it might make them slow down a little while they consider carefully the kinds of jobs they think will most match their own skills and their own aspirations and values.
There is a great deal of material to be found on the web about employability and liberal arts degrees, most of it from the USA, given the popularity of liberal arts there. In MLA we sent the following letter to our own students about how we see employability. As you will see, we try to tie the question of jobs firmly to the kinds of thinking that our students will have done, and to the values that the University of Winchester champions.
We have put together a range of resources which give some idea of the kinds of claims that are made for Liberal Arts in relation to jobs.
Why Top Tech CEOs Want Employees With Liberal Arts Degrees …
Employees trained in the liberal arts bring an alternative point of view in day-to-day decision-making in the tech workplace, but Vince Broady, CEO of content says…
‘While the tech boom is partly responsible for the spike in students majoring in science, technology, engineering and math, many tech CEOs still believe employees trained in the liberal arts add value to their companies. In 2010, Steve Jobs famously mused that for technology to be truly brilliant, it must be coupled with artistry. “It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough,” he said. “It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields the results that make our hearts sing.” Other tech CEOs across the country agree that liberal arts training—with its emphasis on creativity and critical thinking—is vital to the success of their business.’ …
‘Nugent is concerned about this trend because she thinks that training students for very specific tasks seems shortsighted when technology and business is evolving at such a fast rate. “It’s a horrible irony that at the very moment the world has become more complex, we’re encouraging our young people to be highly specialized in one task,” she says. “We are doing a disservice to young people by telling them that life is a straight path. The liberal arts are still relevant because they prepare students to be flexible and adaptable to changing circumstances.”‘ …
‘perhaps most importantly, liberal arts training allows people to think about technology itself in fundamentally different ways. David Rose, CEO of photo analytics company Ditto, is pushing for companies to reimagine the role that technology plays in our lives. His recently published book, Enchanted Objects, is peppered with ideas from literature, fine arts and philosophy to prompt the reader to think about technology as the kind of magic that humans have always been longing after. “I’m so glad that no one asked me to pick my career as an undergrad,” he tells me, remembering his years at St. Olaf, a liberal arts college. “It allowed me to take a broad range of courses and do things like study in Scandinavia. For a young mind, that is the very best thing you can do, because it allows you to come at questions about the world and new technologies from radically different perspectives.”‘
Liberal arts, British style | Times Higher Education (THE)
Source: Elly Walton. This summer, a report by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences made afresh the case for the US’ 200-year-old model of liberal education …
‘In this inhospitable climate, The Heart of the Matter: The Humanities and Social Sciences for a Vibrant, Competitive, and Secure Nation argues that at its best, a curriculum that balances the humanities and social sciences alongside the so-called hard sciences “provides opportunities for integrative thinking and imagination, for creativity and discovery, and for good citizenship”. Moreover, it asserts, good business itself demands the skills that the humanities can best cultivate: inventive, lateral and ethical thinking.’
Why Banks Like To Hire Liberal Arts Graduates, Redux
Forget finance, economics, maths, physics and electronics, Banks are all about liberal arts graduates. They love them. They want to hire them.
‘Now RBS is out penetrating the liberal arts cluster too. The Times reported this morning that the UK bank is pursuing humanities students for its investment banking business. “We still need the mathematicians and economists, we still need those disciplines but what we need to do is leaven it, we need an input from people who have left-field, blue-sky creative thinking, who can bring the ability to ask the tough questions,” Tim Skeet, managing director of RBS capital markets, told the Times. Skeet even invested liberal arts graduates with special powers to prevent finance types from going astray: “If going through this crisis we had had a few more people who could have said – look, explain that to me in plain English . . . I think we might have avoided some of the problems.”’
BBC Blogs – College of Journalism
Other great places to follow debates about journalism and media: George Brock: thoughts on journalism past, present and future from City University’s journalism professor
‘The BBC is interested in personal qualities as well as educational achievements. It puts a high value on a proven commitment to a career in journalism and on qualities such as energy, enthusiasm, flair, imagination, passion, analytical skills, intellectual curiosity and a reluctance to accept things at face value. You certainly need to be literate and numerate, to be able to swiftly read into and absorb issues and arguments […] But your degree need not have any obvious connections to a career in journalism. It is better to study a subject you like and feel passionate about.’
10 CEOs Who Prove a Liberal Arts College Degree Is Worthwhile
Hearing a son or daughter say they’re majoring in the liberal arts has never made more parents’ hearts sink into their stomachs.
‘But there is life after liberal arts — just ask these 10 CEOs. From a self-proclaimed “completely unemployable” history major, to a B-average communications student at a No. 91-ranked state school, to a hippie philosophy dropout who wanted to fix capitalism, here’s how these formerly disgruntled liberal arts majors beat everyone else to the helms of some top companies.’
Why America’s Business Majors Are in Desperate Need of a Liberal-Arts Education
Their degrees may help them secure entry-level jobs, but to advance in their careers, they’ll need much more than technical skills.
‘Students are clamoring for degrees that will help them secure jobs in a shifting economy, but to succeed in the long term, they’ll require an education that allows them to grow, adapt, and contribute as citizens—and to build successful careers. And it’s why many schools are shaking up their curricula to ensure that undergraduate business majors receive something they may not even know they need—a rigorous liberal-arts education.’