New Report Finds University Courses Obsolete While Officials Hail Liberal Arts

Students. Campion College Australia.
Students. Campion College Australia.
11 May 2018

A new report has found 40 per cent of existing degrees will soon be obsolete while officials say employers are increasingly looking for graduates with Liberal Arts-educated skills.

The research paper, conducted by Ernst and Young, reported 51 per cent of international students believed their degree needed to be transformed, while Australian university leaders estimated 40 per cent of existing degrees will be obsolete within the next decade.

Ernst and Young Director of Advisory Practice Richard Cawood says the skills he gained studying a Liberal Arts degree in the United States are the kind employers are looking for.

“We read all the great books and we were taught how to read and write and think critically and it was felt that that was more important than learning how to be an accountant or a nurse,” Mr Cawood told 2GB radio.

“I think more and more employers are going to be looking for graduates with those kinds of soft skills, understanding that some of the harder skills and the content knowledge can actually be taught on the job.

“Employers are wanting different types of graduates with different kinds of skills.”

Campion College is Australia's only tertiary Liberal Arts College, based in the Catholic tradition. The Sydney-based institute offers a Bachelor of Arts in the Liberal Arts and a Diploma in the Foundations of Western Tradition.

Campion College president Dr Paul Morrissey welcomed the report and Mr Cawood’s comments, saying they highlight Campion’s fundamental purpose – to teach students how to think, not what to think.

“At Campion we believe an undergraduate education should be as much about forming the person as it is about teaching the course,” Dr Morrissey said.

“The ability to think critically and logically, to problem-solve and communicate effectively are invaluable skills in any field, and are a crucial element in Campion’s Liberal Arts degree.

“Our graduates have taken these skills into a broad range of professions, from medicine, law and journalism to missionary work and firefighting.”

The report concluded that Australian universities are under threat from disruption and changing learner preferences.

“In today’s world, where people change jobs as much as three times in a decade, we believe those with a Liberal Arts degree have an advantage over others who have only been trained in a specific career path,” Dr Morrissey said.

To hear the full audio clip, visit https://www.2gb.com/podcast/obsolete-degrees-why-university-education-is-out-of-touch/.