Their liberal arts degrees from Wright State University have helped them better communicate, better problem-solve and prepared them well for the future. So say an overwhelming number of graduates surveyed by the College of Liberal Arts (COLA).
More than 1,000 online surveys were completed and submitted, nearly 10% of those sent out. The survey asked respondents to identify their level of satisfaction with the education they received at COLA.
Specific questions dealt with the impact the degree had on the respondent’s critical thinking skills, understanding of various cultures, and ability to communicate clearly and effectively.
Linda Caron, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, said the survey results show that the alumni understand and value the skills they gained while at Wright State.
“They connect those skills to personal satisfaction, career achievement, and the ability to adapt to new challenges,” said Caron. “They think we are doing a good job at preparing our students for a successful future.”
Nearly half of the respondents (42.7%) were between the ages of 25-44. One-third of the respondents reported an income of between $40,000 and $74,999 over the past year. Most survey respondents graduated within the past decade (2010-2019), with the next largest number of respondents coming from 2000-2009.
Here are their responses to the following statements:
- My college of liberal arts education has enhanced my problem-solving skills: 92.8% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed.
- My college of liberal arts education has enabled me to communicate effectively in multiple ways: 94.6% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed.
- My college of liberal arts education has taught me to do advanced research and to evaluate sources: 89.6% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed.
- My college of liberal arts education has given me an increased understanding of other places, people and cultures: 93.1% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed.
- My college of liberal arts education has provided me with skills which support my career or personal goals: 88.1% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed.
- My college of liberal arts education has given me the tools to learn new things and respond to change: 96.8% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed.
“In these trying times what could be more valuable than the ability to adapt to change?” said Caron. “The liberal arts teach the capacity to learn new things and respond to change, and our alumni understand and value that.”
Liberal arts include the study of history, literature, writing, philosophy, sociology, political science, the creative arts and other disciplines.
Graduates of the College of Liberal Arts work for more than 7,000 different businesses and organizations in all 50 states and more than 30 foreign countries. Employers include Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Kettering Health Network, General Motors, Honda, Lockheed Martin, JP Morgan Chase, LexisNexis, General Electric, the Ohio Historical Society and many others.
The top industries for COLA alumni are higher education, hospital and health care, education management, information technology and government administration. Graduates include chief executive officers, presidents, vice presidents, attorneys, account executives and art directors.
A survey by the Association of American Colleges and Universities found that more than 75% of business executives and hiring managers said very important skills they look for in hiring college graduates include the ability to write and communicate effectively, think critically and work well in teams.
When she was pursuing her bachelor’s degree in technical writing at Wright State, Katharine Adams had to endure the occasional remark that she would never find a job or always be underpaid. Since graduating, Adams has worked at Honda and now Cardinal Health, gained valuable experience both in research and health care, and watched her salary grow significantly.
“The benefit of majoring in liberal arts is that it makes you marketable, sets you apart and gives you skills that are useful in all areas of your life and all areas of the workforce,” she said.