Arts & Sciences Collaborative
As the economy continues to change rapidly, students must be able to adapt, update, and apply their knowledge and skills in new ways after graduation. One set of skills that helps students do this is a combination of “hard” and “soft” skills found in the Colleges of Liberal Arts and Basic and Applied Sciences. Ravi Kumar, President of Infosys, actively seeks liberal arts graduates for what they bring to the tech industry:
Liberal arts graduates bring a depth and breadth of knowledge from across the humanities and social sciences that complement the hard skills of engineers and data scientists. And in a world that increasingly interacts with technology in every facet of daily life, it's increasingly important that technology reflects the world around us.
The problem lies in the fact that students do not always know how to articulate and apply these skills that have such broad applications. The Arts & Sciences Collaborative was formed in 2018, funded by MT Engage, to offer events that give students in these two colleges opportunities to better understand and articulate these skills through meaningful outside-the-classroom projects. These collaborations have involved employers from Murfreesboro and Nashville, faculty on-campus, expert interviews and community partners in a variety of settings from classroom lectures, panel discussions, and campus projects. From these, students have gained new perspectives that help with problem-solving, connected with classmates with different interests, learned different styles of communication, improvised to stay on schedule during a pandemic, and learned the importance of creative expression. What this and the previous projects have shown is that students in these two colleges are not only learning how to be problem solvers, but problem framers, asking the right questions to define and understand the problem. These kinds of collaborations mirror what our students encounter in the workplace -- working with those whose skills are different from their own makes their work richer and better able to serve the world they enter after college.
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