Message from SCICU President and CEO Jeff Perez –
For just a few moments let’s give ourselves a break from COVID-19 and focus on what the SCICU member institutions are so good at – preparing students for success in life. And you may be surprised to learn how students look at the future based on the majors they choose.
What do you think are the top five most popular majors at SCICU member institutions? I’ll give you a hint: they’re not what you might expect.
Of course, every SCICU member college or university provides a firm grounding in the liberal arts. In these courses our students are inspired by experiencing the greatest minds humanity has produced. Through the liberal arts, students are elevated by exploring the human experience as expressed by artists, writers, and scientists, to name a few. Through instruction, discussion, and research, students gain perspective that helps them put their own lives in a larger context — they are challenged to apply what they learn to their own circumstances. Doing so requires them to learn how to think critically and express themselves eloquently.
While they may attend liberal arts institutions, our students are also acutely aware that they must make a living after graduation. The most popular majors demonstrate that our students are well-rounded and career-oriented. That balance is apparent in the top five majors:
- Criminal Justice/Criminology
I’ll venture that many of you didn’t expect “Business” to be at the top of the list of majors at 20 liberal arts institutions. But students are keenly aware of what will give them a competitive edge. Think about the powerful combination a young graduate offers in a job interview who has been trained in the business disciplines and is also a complete person who can demonstrate their ability to analyze and make sound recommendations, and articulate them.
Biology is a jumping-off point to a number of careers or postgraduate programs, not the least of which is medical school. Don’t hospitals (and patients) want doctors who approach their cases as people and can empathize with those they’re treating? Budding psychologists complement their study of the human psyche with an appreciation for how it manifests in our struggles and glories. And in law enforcement we desperately need individuals who feel their duty to humanity and acting humanely.
The numbers are a bit deceiving because students in those disciplines are harder to nail down in terms of what they do after graduation. History majors may pursue a law degree, enter a tech field, or, in my case, become the president of a statewide organization!
You may be surprised that the humanities subjects – English, History, Philosophy, etc. – didn’t crack the top five majors. They remain popular because of love for the fields, but also because they offer flexibility in careers. While you may think of Philosophy as a cerebral exercise, the mental disciplines acquired in a Philosophy degree also lend themselves very well to positions at tech firms.
While COVID-19 has created challenges to providing students with the preparation on which they depend to secure a bright future, SCICU member institutions have remained laser-focused on the needs of their students academically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. In other words, our SCICU member institutions infuse the spirit of the liberal arts in every student.