There is a fascinating article in the Wall Street Journal about a move by some universities and colleges to refocus their courses to better prepare students to enter the workforce.
Programs cited in the article have titles such as “Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship” at Wake Forest University and “Liberal Education and Effective Practice” at Clark University. This is an exciting trend, but as the article in the Wall Street Journal notes, there is some controversy about this approach within the education field.
Detractors will say that if Universities tailor their programs too much toward the current business environment, skills they develop may not serve them as markets change. I hear this concern and realize that there are likely many other challenges to implementing this model and I hope readers will share thoughts and concerns.
I was a Russian and International Relations double major in college. While I learned a lot and enjoyed my coursework, sometimes I wish I had also had the opportunity to receive more concrete training in critical analysis or in career-oriented skills such as project management and strategic planning.
Perhaps I chose the wrong major. While many students do not choose their majors based upon what they intend to pursue as a career, the vast majority of students are eventually forced into the harsh realities of the workplace. There are certain skills that could be beneficial for all students to learn to prepare.
I also wish I had been exposed to a wider variety of professional possibilities. Perhaps, if I had been taught to play jazz instead of classical music in school and gone to see professional jazz musicians in action, I would have been more motivated to learn about music. If I had understood that people can make a career as a marine biologist and spend time outside by the sea for their work, maybe I would have been more motivated to do better in science.
I am not advocating for schools to eliminate courses that are not applicable to any particular profession, but the idea of connecting the learning environment more with potential career opportunities is exciting.
What do you think? Do you think that Universities should offer more courses to help prepare kids to enter the workforce or do you think that one of the beauties of a college education is that it provides students with the opportunity to study and learn without those types of pressures? Did you go to a school where you learned these types of professional skills? Did you feel prepared to enter the workforce when you graduated? Do majors like computer science and engineering prepare kids more to enter the workforce than majors like English and philosophy? Or do the skills that students learn in English and philosophy translate into a wider range of potential careers? What else do you think about this new trend?
I hope you will share your thoughts. Thanks so much for reading!
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