To study Liberal Arts is like possessing a power- a power that has the ability to change the world, one action at a time. Therefore, SRM University- Andhra Pradesh, is leaving no stone unturned to create the School of Liberal Arts and Basic Sciences (SLABS) as a place for students to push themselves beyond the given- question the norms, go against the tide, improvise, ideate and innovate.
A meandering conversation with Dr. James West, Professor of English, SRM University- Andhra Pradesh, brings out as to why increasing number of corporates are showing interest in hiring students with Liberal Arts background.
“Gone are the days of being an informed individual in just a particular area. The industry now seeks professional with broader skills and expertise- with grater understanding of subjects across disciplines. You cannot afford to just confine yourself to one area of study,” says Dr. West, a Ph.D. from University of Utah. Dr. West teaches English in SRM University, Andhra Pradesh and he strongly advocates students to value the importance of multidisciplinary exposure.
“In an organization today, you need to bring perspective to the work you do. You need to have a holistic understanding of various dynamics at play. No job roles can be compartmentalized anymore. You are expected to know almost everything,” explains Dr. West. Needless to say, Liberal Arts students are gaining advantage in this context as they are exposed to
Prof. West simplifies the SLABS curriculum. He explains that the curriculum at SLABS has been designed to help students delve into multiple areas of their interest that they otherwise do not see themselves pursue as their majors. With world famous universities and IITs gradually moving towards including more Humanities and Arts based subjects in their Engineering curriculum, SLABS is already putting the thoughts to practice. For instance, a B.Sc. Physics student can experience History classes alongside a class in Philosophy. Or, a B.A. English student can learn Chemistry as his/ her minor. The possibilities are endless.