Faculty and administrators in UCLA’s Humanities department welcomed more than 400 new and returning students Wednesday, asking them to consider pursuing a major or taking courses in humanities.
“The humanities have so much to offer students that they may not be aware of,” said David Schaberg, UCLA dean of humanities at the welcome event in Schoenberg Hall.
Schaberg said majors in the humanities teach students how to write and speak effectively and think analytically. He told the students that these are skills his professional colleagues have said they want in job candidates.
“If you can write (well)… in a lot of ways, you can write your own ticket,” Schaberg said.
According to Humanities Indicators, a project of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences mentioned in the welcome event, 75 percent of employers want job candidates to have skills acquired in humanities disciplines such as critical thinking and problem solving.
Schaberg also called for students to study foreign languages to be marketable in an increasingly global economy, especially in-demand languages like Hindi-Urdu, Arabic, Chinese or Korean.
Some professors at the event explained their own experiences working in humanities, including Professor Kathlyn Cooney, an Egyptologist who has been on several archaeological digs, talked about the role of women rulers in ancient Egypt and value ancient people placed on the dead.
UCLA alumus Alex Ross, spoke about how Buddhism classes he took at UCLA prepared him more for leading his social media technology company than his business management class.
Many of the students who attended the event said they enjoyed learning about the topics featured in the presentation and added that they were more likely to take humanities courses in the upcoming year.
“(The event) was very informative and (the presenters were) very well-spoken,” said Joaquin Gonzalez, a third-year philosophy student.
Gonzalez said he liked seeing how the speakers had ended up in jobs different from the humanities disciplines they studied in college.
“(The speakers) addressed some concerns I had. It’s nice to know they end up in different jobs. They’re not restricted to what they’re studying.”