Knox College Graduates Have the Skills Employers Seek

Knox outscores peers in providing students with opportunities to develop skills sought by today's business leaders

April 29, 2013

Knox College graduates have the skills employers seek

According to two national surveys of business leaders, today's employers are looking for candidates who know how to think critically, communicate clearly, and navigate today's global marketplace -- all skills that Knox College excels at providing its students.

Critical Thinkers

  • Knox provides $250,000 in stipends and grants to support student research and creative endeavors
  • Numerous independent research opportunities are available to students across all disciplines, including College Honors, Ford Fellowships, Richter Scholarships, Kemper Scholarships, the McNair Program, and Senior Capstones
  • Knox offers five immersion study programs -- Clinical Psychology Term, Green Oaks Term, Repertory Theatre Term, Japan Term, Open Studio Term

Outstanding Communicators

  • Knox requires all graduates to take three writing-intensive courses before graduation, including one within their major
  • Knox's Program in Creative Writing is known as one of the nation's finest programs, according to Poets & Writers magazine
  • Knox students have an outstanding record of published papers in leading academic journals and presentations at national and international conferences

Global Citizens

  • Knox is a diverse campus -- current students come from 48 states and 51 countries
  • Knox has a global faculty -- in addition to the United States, Knox faculty hail from Ghana, England, Scotland, Mexico, Japan, China, Canada, Peru, Brazil, Turkey, Spain, and Algeria
  • Students can choose from 40 different off-campus and study-abroad opportunities in nearly 20 countries
  • Knox is a national leader in the placement of Fulbright scholarships and fellows, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education

A recent national survey of employers conducted by The Chronicle of Higher Education and American Public Media's Marketplace reported that our nation's top employers are looking for employees who "excel in written and oral communication, decision-making, and analytical and research skills." The results of a survey of business and nonprofit leaders conducted by the Association of American and College Universities (AAC&U) show similar results, finding that 93 percent of employers surveyed say that a "demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important that [a candidate's] undergraduate major."

These noted skills -- critical thinking, clear communication, and problem solving -- are hallmarks of a liberal arts education. What sets a Knox education apart is the fact that the College outscores its peers at providing students with the opportunities to become more reflective, creative, and integrative thinkers with strong analytical skills. Combined, these opportunities are known as Deep Approaches to Learning (DAL).

In the most recent National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), Knox seniors received DAL engagement scores 10 percent higher than seniors at peer liberal arts institutions and 17 percent higher than seniors at all schools surveyed. DAL rankings measure students' engagement with course work, including independent and foreign language study, community service or volunteer work, contact with diverse peers, and interactions with faculty, among other factors.

"Knox has always excelled at providing our students with academic and extracurricular experiences that help them become more creative and analytical thinkers. This year's NSSE results, which are based solely upon individual student responses, confirm Knox's strengths in this area," said Lawrence Breitborde, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College.

The AAC&U survey also found that employers are looking for job candidates who can engage with today's global, fast-paced world -- 95 percent responded that it is important for candidates to "demonstrate ethical judgment and integrity, intercultural skills, and the capacity for continued new learning." According to the most recent NSSE results, 77 percent of seniors said Knox encourages contact among diverse peers, compared to 58 percent of seniors at peer institutions and 54 at all schools surveyed. With students from 48 states and 51 countries, Knox is ranked by U.S. News & World Report in the top 25 colleges in the nation for international diversity and the top 50 for ethnic diversity.

"As a residential liberal arts colleges, our students are fully immersed in the life of the College, including interactions with students, faculty, and staff from varied cultural, ethnic, religious, and financial backgrounds. To live and learn in such an diverse community -- one that reflects today's global world -- provides our students with a myriad of opportunities to navigate new situations and grow as individuals. It's one of the most invaluable aspects of a Knox education," said Knox College President Teresa Amott.

"Thanks to these recent surveys of employers, we're receiving validation for what many educators have always known -- that a liberal arts education is more vital than ever before," added Dean Breitborde. "In today's fast-paced, global world, our graduates must be equipped with the skills necessary to adapt to new situations and opportunities. A Knox education excels at providing our students with the skills necessary to succeed in this new world."