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Liberal arts education and the 21st century workforce

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

How does a liberal arts education remain a valid, viable and affordable pathway for millennial students?

That was the big question at last week’s conference at Wake Forest on Rethinking Success, from the Liberal Arts to Careers in the 21st century, which drew academic and student development leaders from across the country.

Conference participants talked at length about how the skills that are central to academic success are also vital to building a sustainable career in the 21st century. It is imperative that colleges and universities not only support the skills acquired in a liberal arts education, but that they also give graduates the tools to convey how these skills translate to the workplace.

The spaces that will be vital in developing tomorrow’s work force leaders support this by

- fostering interaction and exchange of ideas
- offering space for team projects
- supporting writing and presentation skills, quantitative reasoning, and data analysis

The success of liberal arts facilities will be measured in terms of their ability to support programs that give liberal arts graduates the tools think critically, collaborate and communicate as contributors in our workplaces and our world.

- Janette Blackburn

Janette Blackburn, AIA, LEED AP, is a principal at Shepley Bulfinch and a leader of the firm’s education and libraries practice.

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