A humanities and social sciences education provides the intellectual grounding that is the cornerstone of higher education, and that prepares our students to seize the shifting range of opportunities emerging in the 21st century. The School of Humanities and Social Sciences is the intellectual hub of the college, the foundational basis for general education, and the central link between Brooklyn College’s other schools.
While we cannot fully envision what opportunities the economy of the future will offer, we know from employers that the skills that humanities and social science students develop are those that they most value. Employers want college graduates who have “soft skills,” such as being a good listener or thinking critically, but they have difficulty finding such candidates, according to a new report.
The survey was conducted online in September by Morning Consult for the educational content, technology, and services company Cengage, among more than 500 hiring managers and 150 other human resources professionals. More than 1,500 current and former college students from two- and four-year institutions were also surveyed.
Cengage found that the most in-demand talent among employers was listening skills—74 percent of employers indicated it as a skill they valued. This was followed by attention to detail (70 percent) and effective communication (69 percent).
Critical thinking, effective communication, and information analysis and assessment equip our students to be flexible, adaptable, and resilient in a changing world. Abdalla Hassan ’94, for example, worked in Egypt for nearly two decades as a journalist, with a six-month leave as a fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University in 2010. Before he launched his career in journalism, Hassan spent his undergraduate years at Brooklyn College as a history major, taking an eclectic range of courses.
The value of particular technical expertise ebbs and flows, but the capacity to absorb, synthesize, and analyze information and communicate those analyses makes our students highly effective in any occupational context.
Kenneth A. Gould is the new dean of the Brooklyn College School of Humanities and Social Sciences. He is a leader in the field of environmental sociology, and his research focuses on the political economy of environment, technology, and development. Gould has served as chair of Brooklyn College’s Department of Sociology, and later as director of the Urban Sustainability Program. Gould also serves as professor of both sociology and earth and environmental sciences at the CUNY Graduate Center.