Career Readiness in the Classroom
How can reading Victorian literature or studying modern history make you more employable? By helping you develop essential skills and perspectives that employers are look for! Below, you'll find six examples of humanities courses that are all designed to highlight the essential career competencies that you'll gain when you study humanities at Framingham State.
Dr. Audrey Kali teaches COMM 215 Science Communication, where students learn to communicate scientific concepts to a public audience. Students simplify complex concepts from healthcare, energy, biosecurity, and other scientific fields. By developing verbal and visual communication skills, students acquire tools to act as a liaison between scientists and the public, with a goal of helping the general public understand and access important information.
Students develop career competencies through four kinds of assignments:
- Engagement journals – Intellectual curiosity, flexible writing skills for a variety of audiences and situations
- Group discussions – Ability to work well in groups, listening skills
- Presentations – Formal critical thinking, research skills
- Examinations – Cultural competencies
Every industry uses jargon that can mystify an outside audience. Students can apply what they’ve learned in this course in any field, including business, technology, medicine, sports analysis, art history, marketing, and more.
Dr. Joanne Britland’s SPAN 375 Graphic Narrative engages students in the academic study of graphic narrative in Spanish, including comic strips, graphic novels, illustrated books, and social media posts. It introduces students to important literary themes, such as war and conflict, testimony, and political activism, as well as the comic medium’s unique way of presenting these topics. In this course, students develop skills in literary analysis, critical thinking, research, cultural awareness, and communication.
Dr. Britland’s Spring 2021 students had the opportunity to plan a hybrid Arts & Ideas event focused on comic art in the Hispanic World. The event, “Mujeres Solidarias: Female Empowerment through Comics”, featured Argentinian cartoonist Pepita Sandwich. Through this project, students connected their coursework with career possibilities and honed skills related to multicultural and global competencies, critical thinking, teamwork, leadership, professionalism, and event planning.
Dr. Stefan Papaioannou teaches HIST 186 History of Modern Violence, which focuses on changes in human behavior from the eighteenth century to the present. Students learn how violence has shaped global developments that define the time period, including industrialization, racism, nationalism, colonialism, and the rise of mass politics.
In this course, students acquire many of the skills that are most in demand by US employers. Activities include writing formal essays, collaborative problem solving, peer reviewing works in progress, and using newly discovered information or ideas to strengthen arguments.
Dr. Papaioannou observes that FSU General Education courses, such as History of Modern Violence, positively challenge students. In this way, students develop career competencies that will serve them well in a variety of fields.
In Dr. Lynn Parker’s Victorian Hauntings (ENGL 386 Studies in British Literature after 1680), students discuss and write critical essays about Victorian fiction with a focus on the ghostly and arcane. Students aim to analyze how changes in Victorian prevailing beliefs, such as religion, science, and technology, affected writers’ perceptions of the supernatural.
Students develop critical thinking, communication, and research skills through research assignments, exams, and class participation. Another essential skill they develop through reading literature is empathy, which strengthens their ability to understand and appreciate differences.
“The course content and structure matches some recent studies that suggest reading literature, especially fiction, helps readers develop empathy,” Dr. Parker says. “By reading and discussing nineteenth-century British texts, literary works that tend to be outside of the cultural experience of students, students inevitably gain more of an understanding, and perhaps empathy for, others who undergo challenges that might be different from their own.”
Professor Keri Straka offers an exploration of the creative possibilities of ceramics through two courses in which students design and produce studio projects, such as a complete dinnerware set.
In one course, ARTS 241 Ceramics, students develop career readiness by creating a digital portfolio, website, artist statement, budget, and business plan for a “projected” home studio. By combining creativity and business mindsets, students become better prepared for employment.
Both Ceramics and ARTS 266 Wheelworking help students strengthen communication and collaboration skills through critique sessions, where they give and receive feedback on works in progress. Students further improve their critical thinking abilities by problem solving with various materials, and by learning and applying new terminology to their cooperative practices. In addition to creativity, skills developed through Ceramics and Wheelworking include a strong work ethic, ethical reasoning, empathy, and marketing.
In ARTH 270 History of Art I, Dr. Yumi Park introduces students to the visual cultures of Europe, the Near East, Africa, and the Americas, focusing on prehistoric to medieval periods. The course emphasizes the cultural and artistic contexts surrounding major works of art, including painting, sculpture, and architecture.
Through a variety of assignments, students develop organization, research and investigation, analysis, problem solving, and quick thinking and learning skills. Having taken this course and developed these key competencies, students are ready to confidently enter the professional world.