PS: Political Science & Politics

The Teacher

The Workplace Relevance of the Liberal Arts Political Science BA and How It Might Be Enhanced: Reflections on an Exploratory Survey of the NGO Sector

Andrew M. Robinson

Wilfrid Laurier University

Abstract

Reflecting on a survey of employees of NGOs based in Ontario, Canada, the article considers two questions: How well are our BA programs preparing students for the workplace? Can we enhance workplace relevance without sacrificing our commitment to liberal education? Key findings are presented, including the BA continues to be a desired and employable degree and skills associated with it are valued; employers are not convinced that graduates with BAs necessarily possess these skills; and respondents associate their formal education with individual skills and extracurricular activities with interpersonal skills. Three strategies to enhance the workplace relevance of BA programs without sacrificing liberal education are suggested, and faculty are encouraged to think more holistically about their BA programs and what students need from them.

Andrew M. Robinson is an associate professor and program coordinator for the Human Rights and Human Diversity Program at Wilfrid Laurier University in Brantford, Ontario, Canada. He can be reached at arobinson@wlu.ca.

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