Derek Jensen, who teaches Professional Preparation in the Humanities, works with humanities students to prepare them for professional life after college.

Derek Jensen, who teaches Professional Preparation in the Humanities, works with humanities students to prepare them for professional life after college.

February 24, 2017
Writer: Spencer Williams

Part of what makes BYU-Idaho special is the teaching-focused faculty and the resources the university provides to prepare students through the transition from the classroom to the real world. The Department of Humanities and Philosophy recently developed a new course that teaches students how to stand out in their field.

Professional Preparation in the Humanities (HUM 105) prepares students to find internships and careers in the their field. The first semester of this course finished in the fall of 2016 and its second semester is now underway.

One way to put it is we are requiring students to take advantage of the career preparation services on campus and giving them credit for doing it," said Derek Jensen, faculty member in the Department of Humanities and Philosophy, who teaches the course.

The class is similar to other professional and career preparation courses on campus, but has a unique focus on the student's future transition into the professional world of humanities and philosophy.

To help them envision this transition, students research internship and career opportunities in specific geographical locations and present on them. They also attend five career preparation workshops and use other services like resume reviews and mock interviews.

"I also have them read You Majored in What?: Mapping Your Path from Chaos to Career which is really geared towards liberal arts and humanities majors and helping them figure out what they want to do with their degrees after college," Jensen said.

This class is also unique amongst the other classes offered by the Humanities and Philosophy Department because it is mostly objective. Much of the content of the class had been included in other humanities core classes, but has since been separated out from the other content to create a stronger focus on the professional preparation material.

"We simply split it off so we could concentrate on the internship, career, and business aspects of this class together so it doesn't get muddled with the analytical and critical thinking we are trying to do with our writing class," Jensen said. "We split it off and that frees up the writing class to do more with actual humanities writing. Then this class takes care of all of the other professional stuff."

The new course also encourages students to take charge of their academic and career stewardships.

"We make sure that everyone in the class has a grad plan that has been approved," Jensen said. "In this class we talk about being intentional with electives and, if you have certain goals in mind, what classes should you be taking and what minor you should get."

Michelle Ovath, a sophomore studying humanities, has always appreciated her opportunities to learn and has taken them seriously. The implementation of this class meant a lot to her and has helped her learn how to prepare for her future.

"Growing up, I gained appreciation for the arts and the importance of education," Ovath said. "Humanities 105 helped me find efficient ways to search for internships, build a solid resume and cover letter, and improve my interviewing skills. The course was a major benefit for me because I did lack in some of those career preparation areas."

Mila Arguetta, a sophomore studying humanities, took the class in her first semester and had a valuable experience.

"Humanities is a major where there isn't a lot of surety for a career, so it helped narrow things for us," Arguetta said. "I liked it because I felt that we learn a lot of things in our other classes, but we never really applied the learning into life skills like interviewing."

This class helps students accomplish great things which lie under their stewardships to take charge of their academics as well as their future careers.

"Brother Jensen had two students that were back from their internships do a presentation and it showed me you can actually find a job using a degree in humanities," Arguetta said.

Jensen said that quite a few of his students were looking diligently in their assignments for internships and job opportunities. He also said some of the students in the class treat it more as an exercise, but it isn't a lost exercise by any means.

"In the future, when they are sophomores and juniors and are thinking about an internship more seriously, they know exactly where to go, how to get more help and when they are seniors, when they start doing job searches, they know right where to go and get their resume and cover letter reviewed again," Jensen said.