As you probably already know, Siena is a liberal arts college at its core. Yes, we offer courses on coding, on programming and how to analyze data. (In fact, we have countless successful graduates whose technological skills have led them to very lucrative careers.) But as important as technology is to us, we will never stop promoting the importance of a liberal arts-based education. That's why we love seeing articles like this one.A few weeks ago, Tom Perrault, Chief People Officer at digital health company Rally Health, wrote an article called Digital Companies Need More Liberal Arts Majors for the Harvard Business Review. In it, he reminds digital companies that, in the future, computers will take over many technological tasks. "What can’t be replaced in any organization imaginable in the future," he says, "is precisely what seems overlooked today: liberal arts skills, such as creativity, empathy, listening, and vision."
He goes on to say, "...as consumers begin to lead a digital life, companies must meet them where they are, regardless of their tech savvy." He says that’s where liberal arts skills come in. "Soon, companies will rush to hire these skills in the same way that they compete for coders and engineers today."
Considering becoming a liberal arts major? In brief, here are a few ways we encourage students to hone those invaluable skills at Siena.
Creativity: With a core curriculum that requires students to take courses in the Creative Arts, fascinating professors who encourage creativity in topics you wouldn't expect and simply cool courses like Food and Film or Rhetoric of Hip Hop, creative thinking is as much a goal here as critical thinking.
Empathy: As a Franciscan community that values service and compassion in everything we do, it's nearly impossible to graduate from Siena without empathy. We offer a host of volunteer service opportunities at home, across the country and abroad, all of which drive home the importance of understanding other people. In Perrault's article, he sums it perfectly: "You can’t outsource that to a computer. You need to hire for it."
Listening: Perrault writes, "Knowledge workers who are able to truly hear and understand what is being said—and, equally important, what is not being said—will have a powerful impact on their organizations." We wholeheartedly agree, which is why you'll find professors at Siena who constantly challenge their students to lean in more closely and interpret what they just learned. An easy thing to do, with small classes like ours.
Vision: Siena's 20 centers and institutes, from the Stack Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship to the Damietta Cross-Cultural Center, have a lot of things in common, with one being this: we want our students to be innovative leaders. There's nothing like hands-on work when it comes to producing visionaries.