Tag Archives: humanities classes

Do You Write Well? Submit Your Essay and Win $500!

Want to improve your writing skills, while having a chance at winning $500? Consider entering the Diana McDonald Award for Outstanding Achievement in Creative Nonfiction!

This semester, we have redesigned the Writer’s Challenge: We seek essays from any student enrolled in a Humanities Department course (English, Critical Comprehension Skills, English as a Second Language, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Literature, Philosophy, Humanities, Religion, Spanish, German, French, Japanese). Ideally, we are looking for an essay that connects your personal experiences, insights, and observations to larger ongoing conversations in our world—about politics, philosophy, science, media, justice, family, race, happiness, the environment, or whatever else you are interested in.

You may revise and submit an essay that you have written for a course or you may write an essay specifically for this contest.

To give some background: Several years ago, a retired Parkland English faculty member, Diana McDonald, began The Writer’s Challenge. Diana feels passionately about good writing and has fond memories of working with students who were eager to work hard to polish their writing. So she began this award as a way to give students some extra incentive to polish their essays. Her hope has been that her award will generate, among students, enthusiasm for writing well.

Do you have an essay of which you’re particularly proud? Or do you have something you are particularly interested in writing about? Please see these two attachments—the Writer’s Challenge information and our Writer’s  Challenge application form—to get started.

By the way, we will post the winning essay on Parkland’s open access repository, SPARK. If you would like to read the essay that Diana McDonald awarded last fall semester, you can go to: http://spark.parkland.edu/mcdonald_award/ and click on the little PDF icon on the left.

[Seth Mendelowitz is a full-time faculty member in Parkland’s Humanities department.]

Gen Ed Classes: Busy Work or Career Boosters?

Spring has arrived—and with it, thoughts about next semester, summer employment, if you are ever going to graduate, and whether you can squeeze in time for your  group project, write a 5-page paper on the cultural diversity of Indonesia, and hold down your part-time job all before the end of the semester.

If you want to be hired in today’s job market, you will NEED to use all of the above to your advantage.  That’s right: Those projects, papers, and seemingly useless knowledge of world governments, religions, and societies may be some of the  most important skills you’ll gain from your college career.

In today’s job market, employers want more than technical skills from their employees.  We live in a global society, and more and more jobs are requiring us to interact with other humans in some form for at least part of the day.  To help your resume stand out, start documenting what you are doing in these general education courses now.  For example, have you:

  • Completed group projects?
  • Improved your writing skills?
  • Gained knowledge and perspective on global issues/other cultures?
  • Worked with a diverse group of people?
  • Identified a problem and developed a solution?

You don’t need a ton of work experience to gain all these attractive skills; you’ve been doing them all along in your college coursework! The situations above translate into examples of communication, problem solving, teamwork, understanding and relating to others, diversity sensitivity, and managing multiple priorities.

So the next time your advisor tells you that you need one more humanities gen ed to fulfill your degree requirements, don’t roll your eyes but instead, challenge yourself to broaden your horizons and select a course you know nothing about.  You’ll have one more experience to add to your list and keep track of, so that when job search time comes, you can verbalize these experiences and move more powerfully toward career success.

[Carrie Harris is a career counselor in Parkland’s Career Center.]