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College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Skills You'll Get

The CHSS Edge: Jobs for Today's Workplace

The workplace of the industrial economy was top down. Its model was the assembly line.  The workplace of today's knowledge economy is more collaborative.  Too complex to be directed simply from above, its model is the information and social network.  To thrive in this knowledge economy, modern employees need to be able to work autonomously, communicate effectively, collaborate successfully and create wisely.  A degree in the humanities or social sciences develops skills in all four of these areas:

Work Independently

As management guru Peter Drucker observed, the question employees must be able to answer in the modern workplace is not “how should the work best be done?” but “what is the work to be done?”  That is, employees need to exercise a high degree of autonomy in order to define goals, not just achieve goals already given to them. CHSS degrees are not earned by memorizing facts and procedures, but with strong creative and critical thinking—the kind of creative and critical thinking that will prepare you to decide not just how best to do the work, but what the work should be.

Communicate Effectively

The ability to communicate effectively on the job has always been important.  However, it is even more so in the 21st-century workplace where new work patterns such as greater job rotation, more team-based work, and more involvement of lower-level employees in managerial decision-making all require increased skills of written and oral communication.  Researchers examining employee competencies in this kind of workplace found “much higher than average” communication skills. CHSS programs and courses provide ample opportunity for you to hone these skills. 

Collaborate Successfully

Experts in human resources and management call the understanding of one’s own emotions and those of others Emotional Intelligence (EI). Because EI leads to effective teamwork and the ability to work well under stress, employers have taken notice. They are increasingly evaluating EI in job applicants, and more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies now budget to train their employees in EI. CHSS students already have this sort of training, since academic work that focuses on human experience and relationships sharpens our students’ EI.  And their abilities to get that job and do well in it!

Create Wisely

Increasingly, jobs that were once done by people in the US are being done by machines, or outsourced overseas. However, neither computers nor workers abroad will be able to perform work that requires culturally specific knowledge and creativity.  As a student in CHSS, you’ll exercise the kind of cultural competencies and creative imagination that will prepare you for the knowledge economy jobs of today.  And because the cultural competencies you learn are global in scope, you’ll also be prepared for today's workplace, in which you’ll collaborate with people from all over the world, whether co-workers in the US, or colleagues abroad.

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