Huntington University graduates are challenging the employability perception of the liberal arts — one job at a time.
Becca Morin, a junior history
major, remembers all the questions her family asked when they first heard she had chosen to study the liberal arts.
“I was nervous,” she said. “I thought I had lost of my ability to be marketable post-graduation because of all of the misconceptions about what one can do with a liberal arts degree.”
But the many graduates who have come before her have proven that students with liberal arts degrees are greatly employable because of the general skills they learn in areas such as history, math, literature, science and philosophy.
“A few days ago, I was talking to a local manufacturer who does business around the globe. He asked me if we had any graduating theater majors because he thinks they are the best speakers and salespeople,” said Dr. Del Doughty, interim vice president for academic affairs at HU. “A career law enforcement officer told me that one of the biggest problems the criminal justice system suffers from is bad writing. He said there should be more English majors going into the police academy.”
At Huntington, 82 percent of 2012 graduates found full-time or part-time employment in less than six months after graduation with another 14 percent choosing to attend graduate school (see the full survey report by clicking here
“Instead of gaining a specialized set of skills, the liberal arts gave me the skills that every employer is looking for,” said Jonathan Brenneman, a 2012 philosophy
and history graduate. “The ability to communicate my ideas and analyze the ideas of others, the ability to find creative ways to solve problems when they arise, the ability to learn and adapt to changing situations, technologies or job descriptions, and the ability to make my skills known to employers. These are skills that not only make someone employable but keep them employed.”
Christian Peacemaker Teams hired Brenneman post-graduation for a job in Palestine that involved de-escalating tense situations arising from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This position involved expertise in interpersonal skills and intercultural communication.
“Two months ago I was denied entry to Palestine, and my job had to change rapidly,” he said. “I am now connecting with (organizations) in America as well as local communities. I am organizing and coordinating advocacy campaigns throughout the U.S. This requires a completely different set of skills, but due to the diverse skills I gained through my education, this was not a difficult change to make.”
Liberal arts students at Huntington University show time and time again that they are employable and well established. Jessica Emmert, a 2013 journalism
and history major, is the editorial assistant at Good News Magazine in Houston, Texas. Joel Edinger, a 2013 history alum, is the director of Campus Life for Youth for Christ in Michigan. Jason Bleijerveld, a 2012 history major, is working to establish a Christian arts center in Gettysburg, Pa.
The path that these and so many more graduates have blazed is the reason that Morin is not worried about her job prospects next year.
“Could I be a museum curator or a history teacher? Well, sure,” Morin said. “But I could also be practically anything else I want because I’m learning skills that are transferable to just about any field.
“I can’t wait.”