Applied Studies in the Arts

by Rob Williams

For Andrea Tanner (BA ’07), the U of L Applied Studies program presented an opportunity to enhance her own job-related skills while exposing fellow anthropology majors to their career options.

Tanner helped plan and coordinate the Anthropology: Beyond the Books career conference in April 2007. The conference was a joint venture between the University of Lethbridge Anthropology Club and the Department of Anthropology.

With four interactive workshops and several keynote speeches, the conference provided a unique opportunity for undergraduate students to explore different careers within the anthropological community.

“The conference gave you more of a real idea of what you can do with your degree. We had a lot of workshop panelists who were doing a variety of things, from working on projects with Ten Thousand Villages to working with Indian and Northern Affairs,” says Tanner.

Tanner was involved with every aspect of the conference, from drafting funding proposals to ensuring that the dietary requirements of the keynote speakers were met. Since anthropology is a people-oriented discipline, Tanner believes this opportunity to further develop her interpersonal skills was invaluable.

While she plans to pursue a master’s degree in the future, Tanner also wants experience outside of the academic world.

“You always hear about the importance of communication skills and people tell you ‘network, network, network,’ but you don’t really get to develop those skills in a classroom setting,” says Tanner.

She encourages undergraduate students to explore the applied studies opportunities open to them.

“It’s a great opportunity to put your skills into practice. Being involved in an applied study really makes you stand apart from other students who don’t have the experience,” says Tanner

Listing increased self-confidence and improved communication skills as key benefits of the Applied Studies program, Tanner feels the practical experience she gained will be vital to her future success in academia or the private sector.

“While it’s obviously true for students of every major, practical experience is especially important with an undergrad degree in anything in the arts,” says Tanner. “An arts degree doesn’t necessarily get you a specific job like a computer science degree would – it’s almost because it’s a social science that you need the social skills to go along with your degree.”

To learn more about the Applied Studies program, please visit the website or drop by the Career Resources Centre located in room AH154, Anderson Hall.