In a 2015 employer/student survey done by Hart Research Associates, which was presented at the beginning of the syllabus, there were several key findings which ultimately relate back to Geneseo Learning Outcomes Baccalaureate Education: GLOBE. Firstly, the researchers found that employers overwhelmingly endorse broad learning as the best preparation for long term success as these skills are important for a wide range of potential occupations. These broad skills must cut across majors and be demonstrated proficiently. These desirable skills include written and oral communication skills, team-work skills, ethical-decision making, critical thinking, and the ability to apply these skills to real world applications. These overlapping skills presented in the research as well as GLOBE include critical thinking, communication, creative thinking and leadership and collaboration. The Geneseo mission statement also clearly articulates that the most important skills Geneseo attempts to improve cut across all majors. This is a central principle to liberal arts schools in general.
Later in the study, the researchers assess “How much more likely your company is to consider hiring a recent college graduate if they have had this experience, completed this course?” The results indicate that a study abroad program was actually the least appealing while an internship was the most. This goes back to the consistent reference of medical voluntourism. While we came to the collective realization that many students simply study abroad to distinguish themselves from others, this study suggests that there are more lucrative avenues for making oneself appealing to employers. Students allegedly travel to help both their resumes as well as the indigenous people. Throughout the semester, we have questioned the latter assumption as we find that many medical voluntourist programs create adverse effects as students either lack training and/or a deep respect and understanding of the people they are ‘helping’. However, this study shreds doubt on the other assumption, that study abroad programs make students a lot more appealing employers. While it may help, the study finds that time would be better well spent by either honing skills (through senior thesis writing, or taking writing course) or developing real experience (internships, apprenticeships, projects). The most essential, key finding however was that acquiring specific knowledge and skills for a specific occupation before entering the field was not the best path for long-term success. This means that building general skills applicable across fields is superior to learning specific skills. This course is therefore preparing us for future employment as improving writing and general communicating skills, as well as critical thinking, has been central to this course through the blog posting and in class discussions.