Dixie Darr

In Learning, work on February 4, 2009 at 10:55 am

The Return of the Liberal Arts Degree

I’m not a big fan of Fox News. Calling yourself fair and balanced doesn’t make it so. I know this because I’m a good critical thinker, and my critical thinking skills come largely from my liberal arts background. In the 30 years since I earned my degree in sociology from the University of Colorado at Denver, the liberal arts have fallen more and more out of fashion, surpassed by the ubiquitous business major.

So I was more than a little surprised, when channel surfing during the Super Bowl, to find erstwhile Republican presidential candidate turned Fox talk show host Mike Huckabee holding forth on the advantages of a liberal arts degree. A college with an undecided major asked his advice on choosing a major. Go with liberal arts, he said, not to be confused with liberal politics. The more general degree offers exposure to different fields and arms the student with the capacity for adaptability and ability to retrain.

Steven Rothberg, founder and president of CollegeRecruiter.com, agrees. When interviewed by Fortune magazine, he explained, “Most employers look for candidates who are bright, well-rounded, and have some practical experience under their belts.” A liberal-arts degree, plus good communications and computer skills, signal to recruiters that you’ll be adaptable to a wide range of jobs.

Strong communications skills are the single most important attribute a candidate can have – as well as the one most lacking among job applicants, according to a poll of hiring managers by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

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