Jobs Will Save the Humanities


Sheryl Fontaine, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and Stephen J. Mexal, chair and professor of English, comparative literature and linguistics, were cited in an article about recent studies of adults reflecting on their education decisions and their perceptions about the value of the humanities as a course of study.

In their essay, "The Starbucks Myth: Measuring the Work of the English Major," Fontaine and Mexal, found that by bringing the humanities to bear on the subject of jobs, and vice versa, they learned what the discipline of English meant in graduates’ lives. 

The Chronicle reports that the skills humanities majors develop — including writing, adaptability, problem solving and collaborating — top the list of things employers say they are looking for in job candidates, over and above the technical skills directly associated with the position, according to many employer surveys.  Also cited are U.S. Census Bureau data showing that most humanities majors are well-employed and well-compensated.

The author calls for incorporating “the jobs discussion into our teaching in concrete ways, especially through experiential learning.”

Continue reading in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

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