A quality liberal arts education fosters critical thinking and reflection, written and oral communication skills, problem-solving abilities, leadership, and adaptability. Still, some wonder whether a liberal arts degree opens doors beyond the college campus for graduates.
“Austin College has long served as a tremendous launching pad for our students,” said Austin College President Marjorie Hass. “We want every student that crosses the stage at graduation to be moving toward a bright future.” She acknowledges however, that students sometimes find it difficult to navigate the options before them.
With those challenges before them, President Hass and Sheila Amin Gutiérrez de Piñeres, vice president for Academic Affairs, have created a “Gateways initiative” that will encourage students to begin to visualize paths to creating and achieving their future goals. “This initiative is another step to assure that Austin College students will find their places in the highly competitive marketplace,” Dr. Hass said.
This program operates in conjunction with—and expands beyond—the work of Career Services through partnerships that offer specific opportunities for students. In the first phase of the initiative, the partnerships involve preferred graduate and professional school admission and summer enrichment programs. The next phase of the program will focus on corporate and community partnerships that will expand internships for current students as well as some first job opportunities for graduates.
The growing list of graduate school partners includes:
- Carnegie Mellon University’s H. John Heinz III College for master’s programs in Public Policy and Management, Arts Management, and Healthcare Policy and Management
- Kansas State University’s College of Human Ecology and programs in Family Financial Planning, Gerontology, Conflict Resolution, and Personal Financial Planning
- Texas Tech University School of Law
- Texas Tech University Jerry S. Rawls College of Business Administration
- University of Texas at Tyler
- University of Texas at Arlington
- Universidad Iberoamericana (UNIBE) in the Dominican Republic
The partnerships, Piñeres said, are available because of the caliber of education that happens in the Austin College classroom. “The quality of our students combined with the preparation by our faculty and the excellent programs at Austin College are the reasons that graduate schools and employers are willing to engage with our students,” she said. “The Gateways initiative will work because of the excellence of the Austin College education and the vision of our selective partners who see the real value of the liberal arts as a strong foundation for tomorrow’s professionals.”