Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Liberal Arts and the Workforce

I'm often at odds with people at 11D over the role of some academic majors in helping people find jobs. I teach at a very career-oriented university, and I see a lot of practical career-focused teaching go on all the time. Over the past week, I found out that the higher-ups think that majors in liberal arts are actually a growth area, too, with strong hiring potential, which was kind of shocking to me. We're never going to have a History major or a Philosophy major, but there are ways that the university sees liberal arts contributing to the growth of the university.

But this just blew me away.

Charles Kennedy, a senior VP for research within the TV division, is going across the conglom to share some unusual theories regarding how the most popular entertainment of yesteryear provides clues to what could work today.

If Kennedy is correct, not only is there a predictable pattern behind why ABC series "Once Upon a Time" and "Revenge" struck a chord in recession-era America, but it's for some of the same reasons classics like "The Wizard of Oz" and "The Public Enemy" touched the same strings during the 1930s....

What Kennedy does might be best explained in terms of reverse-engineering: He studies the kinds of stories that succeeded in comparable historical eras in order to suggest how new programming can be tailored to resonate in the current marketplace.

I've always believed this about entertainment, but it's nice to see that a big business sees it the same way.

Slight tangent: In the thread I linked above, there was a discussion about the relevance of German. Two things:

1. In my week in Germany, I was never condescended to, and 
2. As a result of our Germany trip, my husband has decided to take a German class at my university, and it has 24 students enrolled in it. (I'd take the class, but I have child transportation issues at that time, plus I learn languages more easily than my husband, who needs more structure.)


AmyP said...

24--that's kind of big for a language class. I hope there is a smaller recitation.

Wendy said...

Nope, no smaller recitation. And actually, he has to drop the class. :( We realized he really doesn't have the time.

AmyP said...


24 is way too big without a recitation. Can you imagine trying to have a conversation with 24 people at once?