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SXSWedu 2014

The Liberal Arts Matter in a STEM World

You’re a brilliant software engineer. You’ve spent your entire career mastering your craft and it’s about to pay off – you’re about to make the move up to management! The promotion means a lot more than money and prestige; it means leadership, which demands an entirely new skill set: one you don’t possess. The technical training that has so effectively served you as an engineer has not provided you with the tools you need to deal with the key inputs of businesses and organizations: people.

This session will explore how lessons from psychology, history, drama, sociology, rhetoric, and similar fields complement training in business, engineering and mathematics. The result of this fusion? More complete leaders capable of critical thinking and effective communication. The speakers will emphasize the practical application of these so-called “soft” skills in solving organizational problems and improving businesses.

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  1. Why are the liberal arts and humanities relevant to business leaders (and aspirational leaders)? The American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ recent report, “The Heart of the Matter,” paints an alarming picture of the state of humanities and social science education in the U.S. It argues that our education system, as currently constructed, is facilitating the emergence of an uncompetitive and unprepared workforce. Can the liberal arts and humanities help ameliorate this situation?
  2. What value can a liberal arts education carry in an increasingly STEM-dominated economy? The goal of this session is not to pit the social sciences and humanities against the STEM fields, but rather to show the long-term value that a comprehensive education can bring to individuals, businesses, and society as a whole.
  3. What role do the social and behavioral sciences play in linking lessons from the liberal arts and humanities to business and organizational change and improvement?



Lewis Miller, Marketing Coordinator, Human Dimensions of Organizations at UT Austin

Meta Information:

  • Tags: business, psychology
  • Event: EDU
  • Format: Future15
  • Track: Cognitive Process & Design Thinking
  • Level: Intermediate
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