Dean Feucht-Haviar Speaks about Need for Humanities

(GRANADA HILLS, CA - May 4, 2012) — The humanities and liberal arts play an important role in today's university education, agreed members of SAGE at a forum led by Tseng College dean Joyce Feucht-Haviar. Dean Feucht-Haviar spoke about the need for humanities and liberal studies in higher education at the event sponsored by SAGE, a learning-in-retirement organization affiliated with the Tseng College.

Liberal arts and humanities serve as a vital connection to career-oriented curricula, because practical, career-focused training received at colleges and universities requires the perspective and creative thinking ability that the humanities provide. "In today's economy, the jobs available for people without critical thinking skills are disappearing," dean Feucht-Haviar said. "The economy is looking for people with those skills."

A liberal education focuses less on a specific skill set and more on an overall intellectual capacity, critical thinking ability and seeing problems from a variety of perspectives.

Dean Feucht-Haviar noted the importance of liberal arts and humanities to complement career and professional education. "When I talk to midsize or larger business and industry representatives, they describe what they are looking for in graduates that matches the outcomes of a liberal education – 'If I hire someone with a bachelor's or master's degree in engineering, I want someone who can think, communicate, problem-solve and innovate'" -- the outcomes of a liberal education.

Liberal arts and humanities enable students to look at situations from different perspectives -- whether economic, social, psychological or cultural. "Worldwide, the competition is for creative people, and industries move to where those people are," dean Feucht-Haviar said. "The people with those conceptual skills want to be around people who are interested in those things. Instead of a company saying, 'Come to us,' they go to where the people are."

The Tseng College has responded to this need with a master's degree in Humanities, offered in collaboration with CSUN's College of Humanities. The program offers students an opportunity to reach beyond a focus on a specific career and broaden their thinking to deal with challenges in any profession.