Explore a Liberal Arts Education at St. Cloud State University

Please click on image and explore the College of Liberal Arts at St. Cloud State University.
Please click on image and explore the College of Liberal Arts at St. Cloud State University.

Liberal Arts key for success, 2020 and beyond
Technology alone not enough

By Husky Agency
Nov. 28, 2016
St. Cloud State University

Authors and contributors:   Ali GrilloJonathan WongRachel NybergJesus Escarsega,
Joe SullivanTyler TraegerGnahoua DiokpoRhiannon SteigerJessica Hohnwaldt
and Shelby Auer

You need to be thinking critically about your future. It won’t be just about technology, but a strong base layer from the  liberal arts  and other vital skills and knowledge required to launch a career  in our new and changing local and global job markets.

If you’re trying to sort through the multitude of college majors before your freshman year or even if you are currently enrolled as a student, you might explore a degree from the College of Liberal Arts at St. Cloud State University.  The new job market will require a different mix of skills than previous generations needed to land a job and continue to be employed.

Global view of future job skills for 2020

The World Economic Forum, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, is committed to improving the state of the world. They published an online story August 2016 entitled, “The jobs of the future – and two skills you need to get them.”

The focus of their story is on what skills workers will need in  The Fourth Industrial Revolution,  the current industrial revolution, also known as Industry 4.0.  It’s described as a digital revolution that started in the last century, with the fusion of technology that blurs the lines of physical, digital and biological spheres. The transfer of digital information  around the globe makes this a revolution without international borders, such as online books, music, software, education, healthcare  and more.  Watch a video by World Economic Forum about The Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Illustration of Industry 4.0, showing the four industrial revolutions. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.
Illustration of Industry 4.0, showing the four industrial revolutions. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

David Deming, associate professor of education and economics at Harvard University suggests soft skills like sharing and negotiating will be crucial. He suggests the modern workplace will look similar to pre-school classrooms, with people moving between roles, projects, with social skills, especially empathy and cooperation, required for the workforce, as important as tech skills.

Note for educators – Deming noted educators will need to complement their teaching of technical skills with a focus on soft skills, such as interpersonal, social, communication, character, emotional and more for workers to compete in the new job market.  Read full story at World Economic Forum.

Liberal Arts Education at SCSU

The Liberal Arts, a centerpiece of higher education, includes humanities, fine arts and social sciences programs, emphasizing critical thinking, analytical skills, creativity and imagination.

Lawrence Hall, built in 1905, is home to international and domestic students, fostering cultural exchange at SCSU.

An education in liberal arts prepares students for a wide range of careers, not just their major field of study, with numerous transferable skills, such as critical thinking, complex problem solving, technology, written and oral communication, ethical judgment, integrity, global and intercultural real-world experiences, confidence and adaptability.

Mark Springer, Ph.D., Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at SCSU, stated during a recent visit with Husky Agency, public relations students at SCSU, “A liberal arts graduate has through their course of study a higher degree of transferable skills than some other kinds of professional and technical oriented degree programs. …The liberal arts graduate actually finds success and careers that stretch, not only in the disciplines of their study, but well beyond.”

“In your generation [ talking to SCSU students], if not generations prior and certainly beyond, you will have multiple jobs, and it suggests the transferability of skills that you will do something for a while, an economic impact and you are going to move on to something else. You are going to  need a plan a, plan b, c and d. Students that think about that, have a better transferability of skills.”

The College of Liberal Arts at SCSU offers courses in the arts, humanities and the social sciences. It is the principal provider to SCSU’s Liberal Education Program, reaching nearly all students pursuing an undergraduate degree.

Students pursing a four-year degree at SCSU, a bachelor’s degree, have goal areas in the Liberal Education Program, LEPto complete, in addition to their major area of study. Liberal Education is often referred to as general education, taking up about two-thirds of the entire required courses, one-third of the courses from a major area  of study.

Students are often confused about the purpose of the general education requirements, just wanting  to start working on a major.  “As the Dean of The College of Liberal Arts, we often hear students talk about the general education requirements, the LEP as stuff to get out of the way, so I can get to my real major or it’s not connected to what I did.”

“To think about how we, as institution, prepare students to be successful in that place, we then come back to the focus on what the ten goals aspire to do. It may not make you an expert on all the goals, but you have some sensibility around them.“

“That’s where the connection around how you experience those things can really be a game changer for you as the choices you make in your LEP, and they were just not a random collection of courses that didn’t make any sense. You were thoughtful as a student in choosing them, relative to your goals and aspirations.”

Liberal Education Program Summary

This will make up about two-thirds of an undergraduate’s courses, with the remainder from a specific program or major area of study.

  • Goal Area 1. Communication
  • Goal Area 2. Critical Thinking
  • Goal Area 3. Natural Sciences
  • Goal Area 4. Mathematical/Logical Reasoning
  • Goal Area 5. History and the Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Goal Area 6. The Humanities and Fine Arts
  • Goal Area 7. Human Diversity
  • Goal Area 8. Global Perspective
  • Goal Area 9. Ethical and Civic Responsibility
  • Goal Area 10. People and the Environment

Learn more about the Liberal Education Program at SCSU

Areas of Study, College of Liberal arts at SCSU

Departments in the College of Liberal arts at SCSU

  • Anthropology and Sociology
  • Communication Studies
  • English
  • Ethnic and Women’s Studies
  • History
  • Languages and Cultures
  • Mass Communications
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology
  • The School of the Arts, houses the departments of Art, Music and Theatre/Film Studies.
  •  Global Studies and Religious Studies

See full list of programs offered by the College of Liberal Arts at SCSU.

Learn more about the College of Liberal Arts at SCSU

Explore all Colleges and Schools at SCSU

The College of Liberal Arts is just one of the six colleges and schools at SCSU.  Explore all possibilities for your future!

  • Liberal Arts
  • Business
  • Public Affairs
  • Science and Engineering
  • Education
  • Health and Human Services

Learn more about all six colleges and schools at SCSU

CRITICAL THINKING, roots of university learning

No matter if your major or minor is from one of the departments in the College of Liberal Arts or one of the other five colleges or schools, learning a little history about the origin of the ancient university system dating back to about the  Middle Ages, or before, might just give you a bit of understanding of the general education requirements of today.

A meeting of doctors at the University of Paris. From the “Chants Royaux” manuscript, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. 16th Century, Public Domain.

Universities were not originally located on spacious campuses found today, but likely housed in churches, homes, open-air settings or any space that was available for students and professors to gather.

Critical thinking, it’s old thinking
When the university system was being established during the Middle Ages, approximately 11th to 14th centuries in Europe, the center piece was critical thinking, separated into three parts, called the trivium, meaning the  three ways in Latin,  including subjects of grammar, logic, and rhetoric.

The historical basis for modern liberal arts comes from  the trivium  and the quadrivium, consisting of arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music.

When you are looking at SCSU’s Liberal Education Program you will know the goal areas have roots from the Middle Ages, but with a modern twist to prepare for today’s careers, with critical thinking still remaining vital, if not at the center of today’s  liberal arts education, the same as the Middle Ages.

Learn more about a liberal arts education at The Association of American Colleges & University.

SCSU Graduate
St. Cloud Mayor David Kleis

img_0129Jonathan Wong, right, a public relations student at SCSU, Class of Fall 2016, wanted to find out  why St. Cloud Mayor David Kleis finds a liberal arts education vital for his career.

After graduating from Litchfield High School in 1982, Kleis enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. Three years stationed in Japan and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.,  and more, he experienced the world,  military life, and was motivated to return home to Minnesota.

With all his global travels as an U.S. airman, Kleis returned to a place he calls home, St. Cloud, to further his studies. Kleis is unlike others, with double majors, was determined to graduate with a liberal arts degree in History from the College of Liberal Arts and a major in Political Science, from the School of Public Affairs, Magna Cum Laude, 1989,  St. Cloud State University. It was his goal as an undergraduate student to pursue a career in law, still having thoughts of obtaining a law degree in the future.

You can experience the world without travel in St. Cloud. “In Minnesota now, when you go to St. Cloud State, you can experience the world without ever leaving the campus,” said Kleis.

He also mentioned the efforts of St. Cloud State University has paid off. The local university has provided a diverse environment for students and community in St. Cloud.

“A strong base of history is extremely important,” he said, when asked about his transition from SCSU student to present career in local government. Kleis mentioned he received a great deal of mentoring from his SCSU professors.

“Think, do and experience,” said Kleis, to further express how his liberal arts education impacts in his career.

“St. Cloud Mayor David Kleis, Liberal Arts Education, St. Cloud State University”
Video by Jonathan Wong, Social Media Specialist, Husky Agency

Top Ten reasons for a Liberal Arts Degree from SCSU

Ali Grillo, public relations student, SCSU Class of Fall 2016, has put together a top ten list of reasons to earn a Liberal Arts degree from St. Cloud State University.

College of Liberal Arts, Trifold Brochure, 8.5 X 11, by Rhiannon Steiger, Fall 2016

Download as PDF – You can also download a brochure designed by Rhiannon Steiger, anticipated Spring 2017 SCSU  graduate, to help you understand a liberal arts education at SCSU.

 1. Offers an array of study in the arts, humanities and the social sciences, providing students with the opportunities to demonstrate capacity to think critically and communicate clearly.

2. Emphasizes complex problem solving, written and oral communication as well as applied knowledge in real-world settings.

3. The liberal arts education is not intended to train students for one specific job, rather providing them with an invaluable set of employable and transferable skills, including skills to communicate effectively and the capacity for lifelong learning.

4. Liberal arts graduates are in increasing demand around the world. Employers want to hire those who demonstrate ethical judgment, integrity and intercultural strengths.

5. The College of Liberal Arts at SCSU offers students the opportunity for involvement in professional events and activities like Pro-Am Day, career fairs, student media, professional training and networking.

6. Offers a solid, broadly based, general education, which will improve your analytical, communication and learning abilities. Provides students with tangible, practical skills that employers value greatly.

7. A liberal arts education teaches students the ability to conduct research and organize material effectively, information literacy and other skills associated with learning how to learn, manage time and make decisions ethically.

8. Teaches students the ability to use the latest computers and applications in their field of study.  Students studying liberal arts and humanities learn sociability, writing, analyzing and how to react to people, all things that are more likely to come from humanities than hard sciences.

9. Some aspects of jobs come from things that computers cannot do, such as it’s not possible to computerize skills that emphasize human interaction. Students studying liberal arts and humanities learn sociability, writing, analyzing and how to react to people, all things that are more likely to come from humanities than hard sciences.

10. St. Cloud State has an extensive list of degrees offered by the College of Liberal Arts, giving students a wide range of options to pursue their interests. SCSU has more than 30 study abroad programs around the globe for students to grow personally and professionally.

Career Goals and Preparation

Getting a liberal arts degree or any post secondary education will not be the end of your road. Setting realistic career goals, preparing a resume, professional online website, LinkedIn profile, seeking out a mentor are just a few items for career development.

Set Realistic Goals – Start by setting realistic goals that are attainable. If your goal is to one day be a TV anchor or an executive for a large organization or company, then start participating in student organizations, campus media, local organizations and clubs to gain as much experience as possible as a volunteer or paid work experience.  What you think is your goal might just change as you explore possible careers and passions.

Perpetual Learning – You will need to be prepared to keep learning after you graduate with a college degree to be current with latest technology and skills needed for an ever changing workforce. Don’t think your future employer is responsible for keeping  you current in the newest skills and technology, instead be a self-starter, teach yourself a new application, social media platform or vital skills to keep you current or better yet, a head of the pack.

Find a Mentor – Most working professional enjoy work with aspiring professionals in their career field. While you are still enrolled as a student, it’s the best time to establish contact, asking for feedback on your resume, portfolio and suggestions for jobs, path in the door of a future employers. Waiting to establish ties after you graduate  might be at a disadvantage. Use the advantage of your student status to network. The more people you know, the more help you will find landing an internship or first job.

Go to SCSU Career Center – Andrew Ditlevson, Associate Director for Employment Services at St. Cloud State University Career Center, said, “Play up that you’re a student while you are a student, you’re that little puppy that everyone wants to help.   After you graduate you’re the homeless dog that no one else wanted.”

Ditlevson also noted that it might be who you know, not what you know when searching for employment. It’s important to have a professional profile on LinkedIn. “LinkedIn is a tremendous resource when you have a goal. How did I find all these people? Basically it’s looking for alumni at key companies or key industries using LinkedIn.” Joining industry related groups on LinkedIn will be easy to find a few hundred connects, helping you get closer to your goal of establishing your career and landing a job.  The SCSU Career Center offers help with perfecting your profile, so take advantage of any offers of help.

Find out more about SCSU Career Center

St. Cloud’s own job bank

Click on image and go to Greater St. Cloud Job Spot!
Click on image and go to Greater St. Cloud Jobspot!

Gail Cruikshank, Talent Director at Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation, GSDC, is very excited about connecting talent and building the St. Cloud region. Innovative leaders found a need to attract, retain and develop top talent for the region.

An online job bank was created called the  Greater St. Cloud JobSpot, especially for the St. Cloud region. All jobs, employers, networking opportunities are located in the St. Cloud area.


Steve Jobs, Tech not enough   

If you are still thinking a Liberal Arts degree from SCSU is not for you or  your future will only depend on knowing the latest technology or coding web pages, put your iPhone, iPad or other devices down for just one moment and continue reading.

In 2011 Apple’s Steve Job presented the latest iPad 2 to the world.  During the launch he had this to say about technology and the liberal arts, according  to The New Yorker, Oct. 7, 2011, online story by Jonah Lehrer, “It is in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough—it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the results that make our heart sing.”  


Final Remarks

Why employers need liberal arts graduates in the workplace

Mark Springer, Ph.D., Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at SCSU

“You will hear about the soft skills, I like to think of them as core skills. Even if you have great technical training, they can teach the technical skills, software, they have training to do that. They can’t teach you to be friendly to a colleague. They can’t teach you to talk to someone on the phone and have them feel responsible or be able to explain your ideas in a presentation in a thoughtful way that helps them. The advantage for them is to hire someone that has that, taking care of the big things they can’t teach. It comes down to your preparation.”

“We are all individuals, and all going to do it differently. That’s where the university needs to create those experiences for you so you can have practice doing them. The more we can prepare, the better off you will be.”

“It is just that knowledge is very powerful. It is some of the reasons you might be here at college, your mom and dad went to college, maybe you are the first in your family. It has promise of greater things, whether it’s a really great job and wonderful opportunities.”


Learn more, College of Liberal Arts at SCSU

College of Liberal Arts
St. Cloud State University
720 4th Ave. S.
St. Cloud, MN 56301
(320) 308-3093

Click or scan and connect now!

Resources at SCSU

Academic Learning Center assistance with studying, reading, and becoming more efficient and effective learners

Advising Center – Liberal Education Plan, general education questions, success plans, graduation requirements and more

Counseling and Psychological Services – Personal, mental health counseling, educational/academic counseling, transition or relationship difficulties

SCSU Career Services – Career and major exploration, resume writing, interview prep, job/internship postings, seminars, events, job fairs, LinkedIn help and more

Multicultural Student Services 

Women’s Center 

American Indian Center 

The Write Place

Veterans Resources

About this story

This story was written and prepared by Husky Agency staff during Fall 2016 Semester at St. Cloud State University. Almost all Husky Agency students are graduating in Fall 2016 or Spring 2017, all searching for public relations opportunities.


Campaign Manager
Ali Grillo

Social Media Specialists
Jonathan Wong
Rachel Nyberg
Jesus Escarsega

Media Relations Specialists
Joe Sullivan
Tyler Traeger

Media Analysts
Gnahoua Diokpo

Event Coordinators
Rhiannon Steiger
Jessica Hohnwaldt

Teaching Assistant
Shelby Auer

Husky Agency


Husky Agency is a student service-learning experience for aspiring public relations professionals at St. Cloud State University. The agency and online platform launched in fall 2016, is located at huskyagency.org.  The pro bono student agency works with campus and community clients and partners to gain public relations experience, create professional portfolios and develop skills and confidence. If you need additional information please contact Assistant Professor Jannet Walsh, Department of Mass Communications at St. Cloud State University at 320-308-5258 or jlwalsh1@stcloudstate.edu.

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