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Tagged: Liberal arts

Soft Skills Crucial to Career Success

October 31st, 2016

The presidential election is right around the corner, and for many months we have been hearing politicians voice their opinions about a large number of topics.  One topic being debated is how higher education can help students and employers bridge the skills gap in the workforce.

Some say it is most beneficial to focus on specific workforce training.  However, a new book, Beyond the Skills Gap:  Preparing Students for Life and Work, posits that there are many more aspects to consider.

As the article we’re linking to today details, the authors of this book discuss “soft skills” that many employers say are missing from their young employees.  Such skills include work ethic, communication and teamwork.  They also suggest that employers can play an important part in training young employees to be effective in their work.

For those who doubt the value of the liberal arts in developing effective workplace contributors, this article – indeed, this book – will provide interesting food for thought.

Article below published October 26, 2016

Written by:  Scott Jaschik

Politicians (and plenty of educators) talk about the “skills gap” and suggest ways that higher education can do a better job of preparing students for careers. The authors of a new book very much want students to go on to successful careers. But their research in Wisconsin suggests that both employers and students need more from higher education. Their findings are based on in-depth interviews with employers and observation of classrooms that mix skills training specific to careers with the soft skills that many fear are being ignored in the current environment.

Beyond the Skills Gap: Preparing College Students for Life and Work (Harvard Education Press) is the result of this research. The book is by Matthew T. Hora, assistant professor in adult teaching and learning at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, with Ross J. Benbow, an associate researcher with the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and Amanda K. Oleson, an education scholar focused on workforce pathways. Hora and Benbow responded to questions via email. Their responses have been condensed slightly for space.

Read more at Inside Higher Ed >>

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Goldman Sachs video interviews help cast wider net

August 1st, 2016

Edith Cooper, Goldman’s global head of human capital management said: “We want to hire not just the economics or business undergraduate but there is that pure liberal arts or history major that could be the next Lloyd Blankfein.”

Goldman Sachs, a multi-national investment banking firm, is now using video technology to improve the way they hire candidates.  Goldman has for many years hired college students for summer or full-time positions after graduation.  They typically limited their recruitment to about 400 colleges and universities with on-campus interviews.

Now, Goldman plans to open their search globally by using video interviews, hoping to gain more diverse employees with a wider range of backgrounds.  It’s nice to think that our Shrop Ed Skype meetings may prove an excellent training ground for such interviews.

Will other major companies follow, and will undergraduates everywhere find that they have greater access to high-powered career opportunities?  Today’s digitally savvy students are very well poised to capitalize on this trend, if so.

Article published June 24, 2016

Goldman Sachs is scrapping face-to-face interviews on university campuses in a bid to attract a wider range of talent.  The US investment bank will switch to video interviews with first-round undergraduate candidates from next month.  Each year the bank hires about 2,500 students as both summer and full-time analysts.  Goldman hoped the move will allow it to find students from a broader range of disciplines.

Read more at BBC News >>

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The Value of a Liberal Arts Education

June 13th, 2016

For many years there has been a great debate over whether a liberal arts degree is as valuable as a career-ready degree such as engineering or computer science. The major you declare does have an impact on career opportunities available, but so do the “soft skills” learned while in school. With a little ambition and drive in addition to the analytical, reasoning, interpretive and communication skills learned in a liberal arts degree program, students are much more marketable than one may think. Liberal arts students are often life-long learners and their own best teachers.

David Kalt, founder of, has found great value in hiring people with liberal arts degrees. His opinion is that students studying the liberal arts are often great critical thinkers, well read, and overall well-rounded. Kalt believes that these “soft skills” are difficult to teach in the workplace, yet the specific skill sets needed on the job are teachable once hired.

Many of you know that the Shrop Ed philosophy espouses that what students learn in a liberal arts program is an amazing preparation for life. We believe it helps broaden a student’s worldview and deepen their appreciation for life by educating the whole person and not just training for a specific job. In this global world we live in, it is important to see the world from a different perspective and to learn about other cultures and their way of life. Having a broad knowledge of the world we live in leads to flexible and creative thinking which is exactly what employers are looking for in this global and fast-changing economy that we live in.

Article published June 1, 2016

Written by:  David Kalt

As the demand for quality computer programmers and engineers increases, conventional wisdom assumes we need more students with computer-science and engineering degrees. Makes sense, right?

I’ve been preaching this exact message for the past 10 years as I’ve fought to recruit the best programmers. Recently, though, I’ve realized that my experience has proved something completely different.

Looking back at the tech teams that I’ve built at my companies, it’s evident that individuals with liberal arts degrees are by far the sharpest, best­-performing software developers and technology leaders. Often these modern techies have degrees in philosophy, history, and music – even political science, which was my degree.

How can this be?

Read more at The Wall Street Journal >>

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Career Skills and the Liberal Arts

February 29th, 2016

Liberal arts graduates have highly developed analytical, reasoning and communication skills and are poised to adapt to new developments over the course of their lives. In effect, the liberal arts teach us how to learn in a variety of spheres … which our fast-changing world demands.

Today’s article link sheds light on how colleges are pairing tangible skills with the breadth and depth of the liberal arts, using Bates College in Maine as a primary example.  With the liberal arts under attack by so many, more liberal arts colleges are likely to take similar routes, focusing increasingly on employability.  That’s a very good thing! 

Article published February 23, 2016

Written by:  Carl Straumsheim

Computer science might not be the first field that springs to mind when thinking of the liberal arts, but at some colleges, interdisciplinary computing is seen as one way to connect the department to other disciplines on campus.

Bates College, a liberal arts college in Maine, may be the most recent example. The college, which enrolls about 2,000 students, doesn’t offer anything resembling a computer science program — not even a concentration. Given the chance to create one from scratch, the college will in 2017 introduce digital and computational studies, an interdisciplinary program that fits the label of neither computer science nor digital humanities.

Read more at Inside Higher Ed >>

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