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Six Reasons the Arts & Sciences are Key

The arts and sciences are learning for all of life. They create opportunity, drive innovation, and invest in America.

The arts and sciences prepare students for a lifetime of success by developing inventive employees and thoughtful citizens. They are also vital to a vibrant culture and democracy.  How?

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Cultivating graduates who think
critically and creatively

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A well-rounded education gives graduates more tools to solve problems and broader perspectives to see opportunities by introducing them to topics outside their comfort zones. In fact, countries such as China and India are integrating the arts and sciences into their higher education models because they want to foster more innovation.i take action

briefcase_iconBuilding important
work and life skills

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Students majoring in the liberal arts and sciences see bigger increases in “critical thinking, complex reasoning, and writing skills” than those in other majors.ii  These are skills employers look for when hiring, and can take a person to the top.iii The CEOs of American Express, Bank of America, General Dynamics Corp., Logitech, Pinterest, Slack Technologies, and YouTube all have arts and sciences educations.  take action

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Expanding global awareness
and cultural competence

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Technological advancements will not solve our most pressing problems without a strong base of human understanding behind them. An arts and sciences education pushes students to know themselves and the world around them. This cultural and global awareness will become increasingly important as our world grows more interconnected. take action

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Providing lifelong opportunity

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80 percent of employers say that all students, regardless of their chosen field, should acquire broad knowledge in the arts and sciences.iv Why? Through the arts and sciences, individuals develop knowledge and skills that cross disciplines. This gives them a “leg up” in a constantly shifting economy. By peak earnings age, arts and sciences majors have on average  out-earned peers with professional or pre-professional fields.v take action

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Driving innovation
and ingenuity

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The creators of our most inventive technologies and devices approached challenges with curiosity and new perspectives to find solutions. This mental cross-training is why 90 percent of Nobel Laureates in the sciences say the arts should be part of every technologists’ education. In fact, 80 percent of them can point to specific ways arts training boosted their innovative ability.vi take action

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Increasing cultural and
civic engagement

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With a background in the arts and sciences, people are better prepared to contribute to society, participate in our democracy, and effect positive change. Higher education increases volunteerism, political knowledge and participation, electoral turnout, and democratic attitudes.vii take action

 

 

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Sources

 

  1. Eric Abrahamsen, “A Liberal Arts Education, Made in China,” The New York Times: July 3, 2012; Pericles Lewis, “Asia Invests in Liberal Arts: US Higher Education Expands Abroad” Harvard International Review, Cambridge, MA: Spring 2013
  2. Richard Arum and Josipa Roska, Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses, Chicago, IL: 2011.
  3. National Association of Colleges and Employers, “Job Outlook 2013,” Bethlehem, PA: 2013.
  4. AAC&U, “It Takes More Than A Major,” Washington, D.C.: 2013
  5. AAC&U and NCHEMS, “Liberal Arts Graduates and Employment: Setting the Record Straight,” Washington, D.C.: 2014
  6. Robert Root-Bernstein et al., “Arts Fosters Scientific Success,” Journal of Psychology of Science and Technology, Vol. 1, No. 2, New York, NY: 2008
  7. D. Sunshine Hillygus, “The Missing Link: Exploring the Relationship Between Higher Education and Political Engagement,” Political Behavior, Vol. 27, No. 1, New York, NY: March 2005. College Board, “Education Pays: 2013,” New York, NY: 2013.