Minors enhance skills

At South Dakota State University, students should be able to pursue their dream degree but also take  other classes that will give them the basic skills and knowledge to succeed in the real world.p17sidebarart

This is the goal for students of the College of Arts and Sciences. Dean Dennis Papini says the best way to achieve both is for students to graduate with a T-shaped profile of majors and minors.

In the T-shaped profile, the top of the T represents the student’s ability to collaborate with colleagues, clients and people from other cultures. It aims to help students acquire skills in management, leadership, teamwork, interpersonal skills, and broader socio-cultural awareness and sensitivity skills. All are essential for utilizing the knowledge, skills and competencies acquired in any given major.

The stem of the T represents any highly demanded or innovative knowledge or skill required for today’s workplace. Often provided by the academic minor, these include skills like statistical analysis and data mining, marketing campaign management, communication skills and speaking an additional language.

“With the T-shaped curriculum, we will require the students in the College of Arts and Sciences to choose a minor, not because the courses in that minor match up with their major, but a minor that challenges them and prepares them to have skills for the workplace,” Papini said.

“Our students need to be prepared for the working world after their time at South Dakota State University,” he continued. “The sooner we implement the T-shaped curriculum, the sooner we can ensure that our students are in an environment that is setting them up to succeed, not only in their collegiate career, but after they leave us.”

Lorna Riemer and Nick Goeman

Specific skills high in demand

A recent Chronicle of Higher Education article by Goldie Blumensky lists the specific skills that are highly in demand today. Students should consider minors that develop these skills that fit on the T-stem of the T-shaped profile.

“A new analysis of help-wanted postings for entry-level jobs suggests that those graduates can improve their job prospects markedly by acquiring a small level of proficiency in one of eight specific skill sets, such as social media or data analysis,” Blumenstyk said. “In most cases, those skills increase salary prospects markedly, as well.”

The analysis can help defuse the debate over the value of an arts and sciences education versus a career-focused one, says Matthew Sigelman, chief executive at the job-market-analytics company Burning Glass Technologies, which conducted the analysis as part of its continuing study of the job market.

This infograph depicts the salary premiums and additional job prospects for the eight skill sets that the Burning Glass study found.

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Source: “Liberal-Arts Majors Have Plenty of Job Prospects, If They Have Some Specific Skills, Too”, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 9, 2016

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