Campus wide

The Liberal Arts: a pathway to success

By Jan Joslin | July 24, 2019
Students with Bibles, sitting in Java City at CSU, talking with each other.

In recent years, the news media, politicians and educators have encouraged students to major in STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and math. News reports emphasize that’s where the jobs and the money are.

But don’t be too quick to count the liberal arts out. Recent research is confirming what Charleston Southern alumni and current students have known all along. Fascinating new studies of the benefits of a liberal arts education are beginning to make the news.

Take the “South Carolina Projected Job Openings by Job Skill Needed” report, released by the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce, Occupational Projections Program, 2016-2026, which lists the top skills currently needed in the workplace. Topping the list are: “active listening, speaking, reading comprehension, social perceptiveness, critical thinking and writing.” 

“All those skills are specifically taught in the required communication course at Charleston Southern,” said Dr. Dan Fultz, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. He points to the biggest problem people have when working with others – the inability to communicate. The liberal arts core required of all Charleston Southern graduates reinforces critical thinking, problem solving, speaking, listening and writing.

George Anders, author of You Can Do Anything: The Surprising Power of a “Useless” Liberal Arts Education, makes the case that liberal arts graduates have what it takes to make it in the job market. In a digital world where everyone is glued to their screens, knowing how to interact with others is crucial. Anders writes, “When the Association of American Colleges and Universities asked employers recently to list the most important skills college graduates should possess, strong speaking skills showed up at the very top.”

Charleston Southern also makes a strong showing in degrees that correlate to the “Fastest Growing Occupations in South Carolina,” released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, with degree programs in physician assistant studies, software developers and applications, mental health counselors, mathematicians, nursing instructors and postsecondary teachers, and in the creation process, a physical therapy program. 

While many of these areas are STEM related, the CSU graduate possesses a strong grounding in the humanities through the Liberal Arts Core that all undergraduates complete. Employers are finding the skills needed to navigate today’s business world are lacking in many strictly STEM-trained graduates. Where are they turning to find those with the skill to articulate the big picture to engineers, computer technicians, etc.? They are turning to graduates trained in liberal arts.

Read the full feature in CSU Magazine hitting the stands and select mailboxes on July 31.


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