For the Class of 2020

Dear Class of 2020,

In the midst of the current crisis, I cannot think of a better time to address the many skills each of you will bring to your future careers.  Along with your major, minor, certificates and other accomplishments, you already are using many of your “soft skills” that are at the heart of the Global Miami Plan and a Liberal Education.

As we moved quickly to remote learning, you demonstrated incredible adaptability, problem solving and intercultural competence.  Your adaptability began with that first GMP required course when you were a freshman, which you just weren’t sure about, but took anyway. That’s the class where you learned something entirely new and you were surprised by just how interesting it was! That ability to adapt to different circumstances and new knowledge, gave you the confidence to adjust to the remote/on-line format of this Spring semester in record time and embrace a lot of change, rapidly. 

Your problem solving, enhanced by your major and minor areas of study, was honed in core GMP courses, each of which asked you to think critically about a given subject. Such abilities certainly helped many of you navigate a host of unfamiliar on-line experiences from uploading assignments to preparing for Zoom meetings and working on team projects through Web Ex portals. 

Finally, but just as important, the skills you have gained through intercultural competence have been at the center of your work these past weeks. Intercultural competence, which you may have developed through study abroad or experiential learning, or in one of the many amazing courses with the IC designation, helped you to maintain an open mind, deal with uncertainty, and accept that some events are simply out of our control. The challenges of pivoting from face to face courses to remote learning required you to be able to draw on those inner strengths, be understanding and, most importantly, be patient as your colleagues and your professors worked through their own doubts and concerns.  

Therefore, as you prepare to go on the job market, or continue your studies at the graduate level, know that you are probably the most prepared class to talk about how a Liberal Education can benefit the whole person.  When someone asks you what you bring to their profession, you need only to look them in the eye and say, “I am the class of 2020 from Miami University.” 

Good Luck!

Shelly Jarrett Bromberg, PhD

Director of Liberal Education

Miami University