Bethel History Alumni Report Significant Improvement in Skills Employers Want

In the Association of American Colleges & Universities survey we blogged about this morning, overwhelming majorities wanted colleges and universities to do more to emphasize certain skills that our alumni tell us they develop through their history coursework at Bethel.

First, here are the skills that the employers most see as requiring more attention from colleges and universities (% wanting to see more emphasis):

  • Critical thinking and analytic reasoning (82%)
  • Oral communication (80%)
  • Written communication (80%)
  • Locate, organize, and evaluate information from multiple sources (72%)

This squares with a key finding in another recent survey of employers, by The Chronicle of Higher Education: “While fresh hires had the right technical know-how for the job, said most employers in the survey, they grumbled that colleges weren’t adequately preparing students in written and oral communication, decision-making, and analytical and research skills.”

Consider then the following result from a survey we conducted last month, of recent (2008-2012) Bethel History graduates. Respondents were asked to rate their skillfulness in these areas: first, BEFORE starting at Bethel; and then AFTER graduating. (1-5 scale, with 1 = “Not skillful” and 5 = “Very skillful”)

Skill

Average Bethel History Grad Self-Assessment BEFORE coming to Bethel

Average AFTER completing History coursework at Bethel

Critical thinking

2.85

4.42

Non-written communication

2.65

4.04

Writing (less than 5 pgs.)

3.15

4.23

Writing (5 pgs. or more)

2.19

4.15

Finding sources

2.58

4.23

Evaluating sources

2.15

4.08

Synthesizing multiple sources and perspectives

2.27

4.04

Does this square with your own work experience? Are these skills important in your job? Did your coursework at Bethel prepare you well in these areas?

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