Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Value(s) of the Liberal Arts

The Liberal Arts and Employment
This article from Inside Higher Ed discusses the findings in a new report, “How Liberal Arts and Science Majors Fare in Employment.” The report is a joint project by the AAC&U and The National Center for Higher Education Management Systems and investigates the long-term career paths of undergraduates form liberal arts institutions.  The article points out: “While making the case that liberal arts graduates are perfectly payable and employable, the report also drives home the fact that there’s one area where humanities and social sciences majors have everyone beat: meeting employers' desires and expectations.  Employers consistently say they want to hire people who have a broad knowledge base and can work together to solve problems, debate, communicate and think critically, the report notes – all skills that liberal arts programs aggressively, and perhaps uniquely, strive to teach.”

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The Choice of Those in the Profession
A new study by researchers at Vanderbilt University finds that college professors are far more likely to send their children to liberal arts colleges than other parents with similar income and education.  A key reason for this discrepancy, according to the research, is the premium that liberal arts colleges place on teaching and student/faculty interaction.  “These insiders understand that liberal arts college focus exclusively on educating undergraduates and offer a boutique education with small classes and personal attention from professors.  In contrast, the main focus for professors at private and public research universities is conducting their own research and training graduate students. Educating undergrads is a lower priority. In fact, at universities graduates students often teach many undergraduate classes."

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