Praise for the Humanities

Carol Geary Schneider, writing in the Wall Street Journal (click on the excerpt to get to the full article):

But can humanities majors get jobs?  They can and do!  With humanities grads at the helm in many companies, states and organizations, it’s absurd to pretend we are unemployable.  It’s a tough job market for all recent college graduates to be sure.  But when employers evaluate candidates, national surveys show they view a candidate’s ability to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems as more important than their specific undergraduate major.  Eighty-three percent believe that doing a significant research project will help prepare students for success.  Humanities fields can and do provide just this kind of educational preparation prized by employers.

More details from the American Association of Colleges and Universities survey of employers:

Employers value most the ability of college graduates to contribute to innovation in the workplace.

Nearly all those surveyed emphasized “a candidate’s demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems.”

More than nine in ten of those surveyed say it is important that those they hire demonstrate ethical judgment and integrity; intercultural skills; and the capacity for continued new learning.

More than three in four employers say they want colleges to place more emphasison helping students develop five key learning outcomes, including: critical thinking, complex problem-solving, written and oral communication, and applied knowledge in real-world settings.

Employers endorse several educational practices as potentially helpful in preparing college students for workplace success. These include practices that require students to a) conduct research and use evidence-based analysis; b) gain in-depth knowledge in the major and analytic, problem solving, and communication skills; and c) apply their learning in real-world settings

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