In these days of high tuition prices and a still-lagging economy, students and their parents have hard questions for higher education: What are we getting from this investment of time and money? How can we ensure that our investment produces positive short-term and long-term outcomes for students?

Wagner College takes these questions seriously. For years now, the College has taken a leadership role in developing an educational plan — the Wagner Plan for the Practical Liberal Arts — that purposefully guides students toward learning experiences that benefit them the most in today’s world.

In 2013, the Association of American Colleges and Universities (of which President Guarasci is a board member) commissioned a survey to find out what employers think college students need to succeed in today’s economy. The top results align closely with the educational aims and outcomes of the Wagner Plan.

“Liberal education provides both broad knowledge in a variety of areas and knowledge in a specific major or field of interest. It also helps students develop a sense of social responsibility, as well as intellectual and practical skills that span all areas of study, such as communication, analytical, and problem-solving skills, and a demonstrated ability to apply knowledge and skills in real-world settings.”

— 94% of employers say it is important to provide this type of education for today’s students.

Outcomes that a large majority of employers consider important when hiring:

  • Ethical judgment and integrity
  • Comfort in working with colleagues, customers, and/or clients from diverse cultural backgrounds
  • Capacity for professional development and continued new learning
  • Interest in giving back to the community

 Outcomes on which a large majority of employers say colleges should place increased emphasis:

  • Critical thinking and analytical reasoning
  • Complex problem solving and analysis
  • Written and oral communication
  • Application of knowledge and skills in real-world settings
  • Location, organization, and evaluation of information from multiple sources
  • Innovation and creativity
  • Teamwork skills and the ability to collaborate with others in diverse group settings

Source: “It Takes More Than a Major: Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student Success” (April 2013). View the full report.


During the fall semester of 2013, we set out to see what's happening on the Wagner campus to prepare students for the future. We found a lot of evidence that Wagner students are getting the most out of the college experience, whether they are in class, in labs, in the city, or abroad.