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Provost candidate said today's employers need liberal education graduates

  • woman giving presentation
  • woman at podium

Posted on April 19, 2017

A candidate for the provost position said Grand Valley's graduates are bringing the skills employers need because of their liberal arts education.

Susanne Monahan, associate provost for Academic Effectiveness at Western Oregon University, gave public presentations on April 19 both on the Pew Grand Rapids and Allendale campuses.

Like other candidates, Monahan was asked to create a presentation that addressed the balance of a liberal education with professional programs, and answered challenges and opportunities that could arise within the next five years. 

Monahan said a liberal education provides graduates with the tools today's employers require. "The work professionals do is uncertain, it's in flux," she said. "That kind of work requires the ability to ask good questions and make informed decisions. What better preparation is there than a liberal education?"

Monahan said one of the challenges Grand Valley faces is catching up to its enrollment growth, which brings more structure and perhaps a loss of community. She also advocated for resources — money, faculty/staff time, facilities and capital — following students and meeting their needs throughout their years at Grand Valley.

Monahan was named associate provost at Western Oregon in 2016 and professor of sociology in 2013. She served as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Science from 2013-2016. Previously, she served as an associate dean and chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Montana State University.

She earned a bachelor's degree in sociology/anthropology economics from Swarthmore College, and a master's and doctoral degree in sociology from Stanford University.