Students studying under the large umbrella of the Humanities Department at the University of Oregon are choosing to be optimistic about their job prospects and believe society needs people with liberal arts degrees.
Junior Nicholas Lovell, a Political Science major, said that his classes are preparing him for contributing to society. Lovell intends to work for a non-profit healthcare organization after college and believes his liberal education will be helpful in trying to influence policy. He has taken classes on war theory, Latin American studies and law.
“My major is very open ended… you have free reign,” said Lovell. He believes this allows him to more thoroughly explore the topic of Political Science and get a more rounded education.
Jeff Magoto, Director of the Yamada Language Center on campus, also believes that a liberal arts degree can be a powerful tool in terms of communication and overall communal contribution. “We are taught how to think, analyze, problem solve… and hopefully make the world a better place,” he said.
His career is focused on education and language so he can teach others the value of those skills. “These courses aren’t designed to prepare people for a job, but language is a preeminent tool.” In his courses he focuses on the importance of learning multiple languages and the value of effective communication in all professions.
“Most CEOs in America have Liberal Arts degrees,” he said.
Some students in the department have plans regarding putting their degrees to work. Junior Allando Ballantyne is pursuing a double major in Journalism and Romance Languages so that he can become a foreign correspondent. Like Lovell and Magoto, he emphasizes that a liberal arts education helps prepare one for contributing to society as a whole.
He stresses patience in pursuing such goals. “People place emphasis on getting a job right out of college. We have an attitude that you’re screwed if you don’t.” He thinks of this as an inaccurate. “Who gets the perfect job right away?” said Ballantyne.
Many students in the Humanities Department go to graduate school and dabble in numerous professions before choosing a permanent career. Ballantyne believes this extended education is vital for society.
“In order for a democracy to work you need to have people that can think… other than quantitatively. On a societal level it is just as important to have those kind of people.”