Liberal arts graduates face the highest unemployment rates of all undergraduate majors, and some colleges are starting to put big money on the table to make these graduates more employable.
Wake Forest University, a small, liberal-arts school in Winston-Salem, N.C., spent “up to $US350,000 a year” to hire Andy Chan as vice president of the Office of Personal and Career Development, according to Susan Dominus in The
The New York Times.
In his four years with the college, Chan, whose resume includes running the career center at Stanford Business School and leading a Silicon Valley start-up, has raised more than $US10 million — mostly from students’ parents — to build a Google-like career services office with video displays, snacks, and nearly 30 staff members to offer “concierge-like services to students,” he tells Dominus.
His goal is “to create a kind of ecosystem where everyone has a vested interest in helping our students be prepared for life and for careers and for work,” Chan says.
But Wake Forest isn’t alone in getting freshman more involved in career services. Both the University of Chicago and Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., urge their freshman students to get involved in mapping out four-year plans with their career centres.
Chan says: “If universities want to preserve the liberal arts, they have a responsibility to help those humanities majors know how to translate their studies into the work world.”
On the other hand, some are worried that colleges’ push on employment will take away from the liberal arts education itself, the article points out. They say that colleges are no longer focused on providing the best education for their students, but, rather, on how to pitch themselves to get a job after graduation.
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