“Designed by . . .” a Creative and Innovative Workforce

We’re well into the fall season at this point—definitely my favorite season. As a life-long academic, the fall represents a beginning to me, not an ending. Think of when you were in kindergarten or first grade, hungrily eyeing that brand new box of crayons on the first day of school, a colorful symbol of the ability to create something new.

I began tackling the issue of the liberal arts conundrum in my last column in this space, posing the question: If employers believe liberal arts skills are highly desired in employees, why did humanities and social science majors experience higher levels of unemployment during the recent economic downturn?

It’s just as alarming that art and design majors are also ensnared in this riddle. Creative problem solving is part of the “secret sauce” of the U.S. economy and needs to continue to be fostered in our educational systems, but unless we confront the liberal arts conundrum our nation is in danger of capping the rich vein of inspiration, imagination and innovation that has made America the envy of the world and attracted generations of immigrants.

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