In the News: St. Thomas President Rob Vischer on the ROI of Higher Education

University of St. Thomas President Rob Vischer recently published an op-ed in the Pioneer Press about the return on investment for students pursuing a college degree and the importance of whole-person formation.

From the story:

Now is the time to recall and reclaim an educational mission that has fallen out of favor in some circles: our responsibility for the formation of the whole person – developing graduates of knowledge, character, purpose and vision. What our students need – and what the world needs from our students – is so much more than job skills.

First, higher ed needs to better equip students with social skills: working collaboratively, building relationships across difference, recognizing the dignity of every person they meet, and developing the self-awareness that only comes through meaningful and sustained interaction with others.

This has always been vital, but the need is urgent among today’s students, and not just because of pandemic-driven isolation. Culture wars and identity politics dominate the national narrative, while echo chambers strengthen one-sided rationale, leading straight to a dead end. Now more than ever, the ability to find mutual understanding is critical to advancing human flourishing.

Further, in the age of artificial intelligence, developing socially will be even more important for professional success. In fact, McKinsey found that, in the coming years, the biggest increase in demand by employers will be emotional and social skills, in addition to technological skills.