UWG Deans and Department Chair Speak out Against Recent Articles Bashing Degrees

Articles have come out in the past few years speculating what degrees are the top worst degree choices for college students. Amongst those degrees, three of them were constantly referenced in one way or another; music, education, specifically in special education and early childhood education, and theater. Due to economic woes, tight finances and dying professions, news sources such as The Huffington Post, CNN and Times Magazine have named these three degrees more commonly than any other. However Diana Huff, Dean of Education at UWG, thinks otherwise.

“It’s difficult to say if one degree is worse than the other,” said Huff. “All degrees open doors.” Huff agrees that the job market is tight, making it difficult for college students who are getting ready to graduate to find work in education; however the lack of jobs will not last. “We will always be educating,” said Huff. “Even if students don’t go into student educating in schools, they still may be educating in other things.”

The majority of articles that state whether or not a degree is worth pursuing seem to speak more to the financial status, naming degrees such as those in architecture and engineering as the top degree fields to pursue for high incomes. UWG Music Department chair, Kevin Hibbard, believes that the quality of life that someone gets from a degree is greater than the financial status of higher paying jobs. “The percentage varies of successful careers in music… some of our degrees aren’t designed to get you a job right out of college, such as composition and performance degrees,” said Hibbard.  The UWG Music Department offers multiple degrees, some being music education, music composition, music performance and different master’s degrees; however, Hibbard does say that the majority of music education majors come out of college either working in music stores, as concert managers or in schools, which reassures students and parents who have doubts about the job market with a degree in music. UWG music majors seem not to care entirely about their financial situation after college and venture into becoming music majors because of their passion.  “If a student loves music, they will love it all their life,” said Hibbard. “It is a harder degree because it requires a lot of hard work and discipline, but the rewards are terrific.”

Theater Dean, Pauline Gagnon, finds the statistics of these various articles to be suspicious. “Where are they getting there stats from?” said Gagnon. “Where is the research behind this? Or course when you compare the salary of theater majors with the higher income to the person with the least, the medium will be small,” said Gagnon. “We have had very successful alumni to come out of UWG.”  Gagnon went on to say that theater is a flexible career which allows students to find their potential in what they love. Instead of just focusing on theater as their main degree, they are allowed to venture into other degrees as well such as business, finance and English, giving them the opportunity to grow.

“Most degrees put you on a set track of courses that you aren’t allowed to explore out of… we encourage our students to learn other things too…  considering the economy, theater students have the upper hand,” said Gagnon pointing out that theater majors are used to the disappointments and struggles that come with honing their craft. Theater students at UWG are said to speak to their entrepreneurial spirit making them true go-getters in the job market.

Gagnon, Huff and Hibbard all encourage their students to go after their passions when it comes to deciding on a major, and they warn their students not to pick a degree too soon based off of what articles, or friends and family, say. “Don’t focus on the negative,” said Gagnon, her advice for incoming college students as well as graduates. “Focus on the opportunity.”



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