Lawrence D. Czarda, Ph.D.
18TH PRESIDENT OF GREENSBORO COLLEGE
From the Winter 2018 Points of Pride:
Dear Alumni, Parents, and Friends of Greensboro College:
For more than 40 years, the Internal Revenue Service, Social Security Administration and Bureau of Labor Statistics have longitudinally tracked data that indicate the most important variable in life-long earnings for Americans: a college degree. In the early 1970s, an individual with a four-year college degree could expect to earn 20% more than an individual with just a high-school diploma over their working lives. That gap has only grown since, now to more than 70%. Despite periodic debate about the cost and worth of a college degree, the data are clear.
More specifically for an institution like Greensboro College, there’s a common misperception about liberal-arts graduates: that employers don’t want them. But Rob Sentz, chief innovation officer at the labor-market consultancy Emsi, writes on Forbes.com that his organization’s analysis of more than 182 million job postings nationwide found plenty of demand for liberal-arts graduates, including history and English majors.
Sentz writes: “As long as the liberal arts students are willing to pick up some extra technical skills and can answer the question ‘What are you going to do with that?’ with a strategy instead of a shrug, they … will be truly valuable to the labor market.”
Why? As the Harvard Business Review reports, venture capitalist Scott Hartley argues in his book “The Fuzzy and the Techie” that “to solve large-scale human problems, we must push [students] to widen, not narrow, their education and interests. … Of course, we need technical experts … but we also need people who grasp the whys and hows of human behavior.”
J.M. Olejarz writes in the Harvard Business Review, “A well-rounded learning experience … opens people up to new opportunities and helps them develop products that respond to real human needs.”
Responding to real human needs: Greensboro College graduates have been about that from the beginning. That’s because Greensboro College has been providing the kind of liberal-arts education that always has been valuable and, as these experts tell us, likely will be valuable for many years to come, even in jobs that haven’t been invented yet.
Despite the national debate noted above, the actual data prove that a liberal-arts degree is an excellent value proposition. We’ve known that for 179 years and counting.
We hope to see you on campus soon.
Dr. Czarda contributed an essay, “How the Historic Wesleyan Tradition in Education Can Inform United Methodist-Affiliated Institutions,” to the book “Conversations: Leading United Methodist-Related Schools, Colleges, and Universities,” published in December 2015. (.pdf download)