Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Critical Thinking, Problem Solving Important to Employers

Are liberal arts colleges really preparing their graduates for the workforce? Skeptics abound but the truth, according to a recent survey, is a resounding yes.

The American Association of Colleges and Universities hired Peter D. Hart Research Associates last year to survey 302 employers around the country and asked them, among other things, about the learning outcomes that colleges should re-emphasize. Among the top five on the list, four outcomes directly result from liberal arts education:

89% The ability to effectively communicate orally and in writing.

81%: Critical thinking and analytical reasoning skills

79%: The ability to apply knowledge and skills to real-world settings through internships or other hands-on experiences

75%: The ability to analyze and solve complex problems

75%: The ability to connect choices and actions to ethical decisions

As this week's AICUO Graph of the Week (above) shows, employers will also be placing increasing emphasis on bachelor's degree holders as they look to fill new positions.

-- Bob Burke