WILBURTON — In a recent years, there has been a strong focus on degrees in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math - the STEM fields. However, employers also value creativity, critical thinking and communication skills as much as technical skills or training.

According to studies from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), employers often rank skills such as critical thinking and communication above technical aptitude as essential for career readiness.

Kristen Turner, dean of the Language, Humanities and Education Division, said that across all industries, employers are looking for people who can write and speak well, and bring multiple perspectives to problem-solving and decision-making processes.

“Of course we understand the critical need for degrees in STEM fields, but graduates with a broad-based education are also in high demand,” Turner said. “Most of the degrees in our division focus heavily on reading, writing, speaking, creativity and critical thinking. Those are beneficial skills for any job market.”

Eastern’s Language, Humanities and Education Division offers associate degrees in pre-elementary education, English, general studies, health, physical education and recreation, mass communication, and music.

Eastern’s music program provides a top-quality education in vocal or instrumental studies. Students perform with the Concert Choir, Band, or Eastern Expressions, a student-led rock/pop group. The Music Department typically hosts a fall and spring concert as well as the annual Candlelighting program; one of Eastern’s longest standing traditions that is in its 94th year.

Students in the mass communication program study video production, photography, reporting and graphic arts, while working on the college’s newspaper and weekly video news segment. Turner said students can also work as interns at Eastern’s commercial radio station, Mountaineer Radio KWLB 93.1 FM and 104.9 FM.

“Students serve as interns and on-air personalities, producing news and weather reports, public service announcements and other programming. They can also select music, produce their own show, help with live remotes and provide play-by-play and color commentary during sports broadcasts,” Turner said. “Students don’t typically get this hands-on experience until later in their junior and senior year of college studies, but Eastern provides a unique opportunity to gain radio and broadcast skills early. This is valuable experience for students to display on their résumés.”

Eastern’s Humanities courses offer a look at world cultures, music, art, religion, film and philosophy.

“Humanities are essential courses in helping students gain a better understanding of the world so they can navigate the constant changes and adapt to an ever-changing society,” Turner said. “It’s our goal to help students become well-informed citizens.”

Turner said Eastern’s incredibly diverse field of professors helps achieve that goal.

“The faculty in our division combined have more than 100 years of teaching experience at Eastern,” Turner said. “Not only do our professors have backgrounds in English, communications and education, but they also bring military, journalism, performing arts and ministry experience to their classrooms.”

For more information on Eastern’s Language, Humanities and Education Division, contact Turner at kturner@eosc.edu or 918-465-1720.

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