Applied liberal arts – what is it?
Liberal arts majors have many career options. In fact, employers repeatedly report on how much they value the skills and knowledge developed through liberal arts degrees, such as creative thinking, problem solving, critical analysis and communication. Liberal arts degrees can also be excellent preparation for graduate school and for professional degrees such as those in law, business, healthcare and medicine. Experts who study workplace trends argue that skills learned from earning a liberal arts degree will be increasingly valued in the future as automation, artificial intelligence and other technologies eliminate jobs that are currently available and generate new jobs that we cannot even imagine today.
But many students are actively seeking pathways that lead to professional opportunities and employers also emphasize that they are seeking students who have applied learning experiences when they graduate. In response to these needs of both students and employers, we have developed an applied liberal arts Initiative for which each of our departments offers at least one applied pathway (and by the way, students don’t have to be a liberal arts major to pursue some of these options). Each of our applied liberal arts pathways is designed to meet critical needs in the 21st century whether it be in a technical field, in an area of professional expertise (such as teaching, writing, cross-cultural communication, graphic design, curation, musical theatre, translation, fieldwork, or politics), in learning to work in a diverse environment with an extensive understanding of the value of diversity and inclusion, or through pursuing an internship.