Majors in colleges of liberal arts and sciences typically do not offer content that offers a linear path to employment immediately after graduation. Rather, students are exposed to different points of view and different cultures, are challenged to become conversant with different kinds of literacies (digital, written, oral, scientific, technical, etc.), and to learn how to think critically and to solve problems. Recent studies have shown that a grounding in the liberal arts is especially important in developing leadership skills, indicating that the long-term trajectory of such an education is excellent. However, because our graduates often have difficulty in finding that first job, as their teachers and mentors, we have a responsibility to help them understand the power of their liberal arts education and how to position themselves for employment.
The purpose of this task force is, as follows:
- After reading and synthesizing the literature, identify both skill sets and experiences that would be helpful for our students to have on their resumes;
- Identify and comment on college (and perhaps university) practices/initiatives that currently contain “applied” elements that would include some of these skill sets or experiences. It may also be useful to identify some substantive departmental practices that potentially could be scalable to the college;
- Make recommendations, either in terms of curriculum or of co-curricular activities, that would better able our students to find immediate employment, if that is their interest. These recommendations should easily be understood by employers as a “credential.” The focus here should be at the college-level and/or cross-departmental level rather than directed to any particular department.
- Ish Aggarwal, Physics and Optical Science
- Charlie Brody, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs (Dean’s Office Liaison)
- Bill Graves, Geography and Earth Sciences
- Kirk Melnikoff, English
- Staci Kuntzman, Communication Studies
- Kathleen Nicolaides, Criminal Justice and Criminology
- Steven Rogelberg, Psychology, Management, and Organizational Science (Chair of the Task Force)
Final report: LASER Task Force, March 17, 2015
Charge: Task Force on the Power of Liberal Education (September, 2014) View