Humanities and Cultural Studies
The Department of Humanities and Cultural Studies (HCS) is an interdisciplinary program that combines the study of literature in global contexts, film, rhetoric, and culture with cutting edge theory and innovative pedagogy to prepare students for a life of inquiry and a meaningful career in the twenty-first century. HCS equips students with humanities skills like critical thinking and analysis, oral and written communication, empirical and qualitative reasoning to effectively participate in, contribute to, and creatively and collaboratively respond to the grand challenges of our time.
As we reimagine what humanities focused work can do, we aim to bring the value of human inquiry into meaning in ways that bridge our in-class work with the larger communities in which we are situated and engage. We specialize in offering students unique opportunities to innovate from the braided relationships between texts and cultures in our global society and the histories that continue to shape our contemporary world.
HCS students prepare themselves for life beyond the university through in-class learning, project-based research, creative and collaborative inquiry, and meaningful community partnerships. In doing so, HCS students mobilize theoretical knowledge to build integrative and immersive experiences, and they learn how to develop and apply problem-solving skills in culturally responsive and humanistic ways. HCS students therefore embody the characteristics employers want and the perspectives the world needs.
When asked to rate career readiness competencies, employers consistently prioritize “critical thinking / problem solving,” “teamwork / collaboration,” and “oral / written communication” above others (2018 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers).
Studying the humanities is not only personally rewarding, but professionally as well. Humanities students gain skills that cut across industries and prepare them for career success in a wide variety of occupations. Employers actively seek to hire graduates with good oral and written communications, the ability to solve complex problems and make ethical decisions, and embody leadership qualities that our humanities students learn and apply. A humanities education helps students succeed in a wide range of careers. Data collected through surveys, interviews, and research also shows that humanities majors make greater strides than most other majors in critical thinking and reasoning skills and these equip them for lifelong learning and success. Employers in diverse professional sectors have indicated the value of these skills in potential employees.
Many of our course-offerings deliberately bridge the theoretical material of the classroom, to the public work of the humanities outside of the classroom. This is achieved through our growing partnership on campus and throughout the community. Many of our courses involve site visits and other collaborative work with local and regional humanities practitioners that represent a broad landscape of career opportunities in city government, nongovernmental organizations, and a variety of nonprofit work in literacy and education, social work, law, business, environmental conservation/preservation, community care organizations, museums, and the arts more broadly.
Other than building career-readiness into the structure of our degree plans, we also offer a variety of internships. Interns may assist the department in a number of ways while providing tangible and meaningful experiences, often tailored to the context of students personal and professional goals.