October 19, 2017
Writer: Sydney Jensen
Scott Sprenger, the Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at Weber State, encouraged students to look "beyond their major," during a forum at BYU-Idaho on Thursday, October 19.
"I was an associate dean at BYU Provo for a number of years and I became a dean right after the financial crisis in 2008 and one of the challenges at the time was that students were leaving the humanities and social sciences and moving into more practical or vocational majors where parents and students thought they had a sure bet when they graduated," Scott Sprenger, the Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at Weber State, told BYU-Idaho Radio. "I was brought into the dean's office and basically given the task to turn that around."
Sprenger says as he tackled the task he'd been given, he realized there were many jobs and industries with a heavy presence of employees with liberal arts backgrounds. This discovery led him to believe that students who spend an excessive and almost obsessive amount of time trying to determine their specific major and related career are preventing future opportunities. That reality, Sprenger says, should liberate students in the decision making process.
"If you are armed with the fact that of all the employees out there in the world, who have a college education, only 27 percent of them have a job that's related to their undergraduate degree," Sprenger said. "Really, any kind of college degree where you develop a certain range of skills that's employable is what's important."
That message, Spenger says, is what he hopes to communicate to those who attend Thursday's forum.
"Just back off on the pressure a little bit, follow something that you enjoy, maybe even discover a passion," Sprenger said. "Don't worry so much about the major."
You can listen to the full interview below.