Studying History Prepares You for Real-World Tasks

What Employers Want & How History Helps Get You There

Top 10 University Learning Outcomes Desired by Employers
[Prof. Slatta comments in brackets.]

% employers wanting greater emphasis
1. Critical thinking and analytical reasoning skills [We practice these skills in every written assignment and in classroom discussions.] 82%
2. Analyze and solve complex problems [Why I ask you to interpret complicated historical events. Learning problem-solving in one domain, and you can transfer the skills elsewhere.] 81%
3. Effectively communicate orally [Why most classroom time is occupied by your discussions. We improve through practice--so participate!] 80%
4. Effectively communicate in writing [Why all my courses are writing-intensive. Why you practice editing. Everything you write, including your resume, should brim with strong writing, especially active verbs, to represent you and your ideas and capabilities best] 80%
5. Apply knowledge and skills to real-world settings [Why I ask you to critique past and current policy decisions.] 78%
6. Locate, organize, and evaluate information from multiple sources [Why you must include evidence from 3 or more sources in every paragraph. The Association of American College and Universities strongly agrees on the importance of "developing the ability to make, recognize, and evaluation connections among disparate concepts, fields, or contexts," which they term "integrative learning." [AAC&U, Liberal Education, Spring 2007, p. 46].] 72%
7. Innovate and be creative [Being your own historian, creating your own interpretation is a highly creative act.] 71%
8. Teamwork skills: collaborate with others in diverse group settings [Harder to do online; why we have group projects and small-group discussions in classroom courses.] 67%
9. Connect choices and actions to ethical decisions [Why you critique and debate important issues of the past, slavery, human rights abuses, social inequities, discrimination, impact of military dictatorships, etc.] 64%
10. Knowledge about science & technology [Notice how far down the list simple knowledge is--cognitive skills are much more important than merely accumulating facts.] 56%
  • Source: based on Report by Hart Research Associates April 10, 2013
  • "The scholarly study of documents and artifacts produced by human beings in the past enables us to see the world from different points of view so that we may better understand ourselves." Geoffrey Harpham, The Humanities and the Dream of America (2011)
  • "The average adult now has five different careers in a lifetime. As Sheryl Sandberg commented in her book Lean In, the career ladder is gone and has been replaced with a jungle gym with many paths leading to different kinds of opportunities." Pullitzer-Prize winning author Thomas L. Friedman tells us "the best jobs in the future are going to be what I call 'STEMpathy jobs'--jobs that blend STEM skills (science, technology, engineering, math) with human empathy." (Raleigh News & Observer 11/5/2016, p. 12A) [Guess where you learn and come to understand the multi-faceted aspects of "human empathy"? That's right--humanities and social sciences--like history.]