Students Beware

A comment on Super and Ill Prepared Students gave me significant pause. It was important enough for me, and for my students, to copy and paste it here.

I’ve had recruiters at several multi-billion dollar corporations in New England tell me point-blank that they would rather hire a biz/finance major from a college with essentially open enrollment than they would an English/history/sociology/etc major from a Tufts or Bates or Wesleyan. Their rationale is that the biz major from, for instance, Bridgewater State, has some experience with Powerpoint and Excel and may know the basics of how a company functions, while the humanities grad, while likely a much more capable individual, will need training. Spending time and money on training is anathema to corporations these days (hence the rise of the internship model). Indeed, my friends who went to local colleges and got biz/management degrees are, on the whole, far better off than my friends who went to very selective (although not top 3) liberal arts institutions like myself. I compounded my error by then heading off to law school, which overqualifies me for every non-legal job on the planet.

There’s a “practical” anecdote about students not getting humanities’ degrees. Would it matter, I wonder, if the humanities degree comes with an e-portfolio that shows PowerPoint and Excel and FinalCutPro and Audacity and _(fill in the blank)_ experience? I certainly think it would help them, which goes back to my technology post of a few days ago.

The idea that humanities’ degrees are less tech oriented, if it is pervasive, could be a significant detriment to our students. We should focus on letting them know that learning the technology is important and that they should put the programs they know well on their resume.

One thought on “Students Beware”

  1. An excellent book on how we focus far to much on teachers while never daring to tell the truth about students is Paul A. Zoch’s Doomed To Fail: The Built in Defects of American Education. Definitely worth reading.

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