January 31, 2018

Google’s Surprise Endorsement of Pacifica!

At Pacifica, we educate young people for all of life! A broad education (one that includes the robust study of BOTH the humanities and the sciences) providing a foundation for flourishing in college, life, work, and faith. 

Parents, as well as students, deeply resonate with our commitment to the development of the whole person. But lying slightly below the surface of most admissions conversations I have with families is a real concern about job-readiness. The concern is valid and will continue to grow as the landscape in higher education and the marketplace continue to change. The real good news for students and parents, is that the future has never been brighter for Pacifica graduates!

Over the past few years, countless articles have been written on research coming out of Silicon Valley, and around the nation, outlining the types of people needed to sustain our country’s global prominence as a thought and technology leader. The answer; the liberal arts!

In a recent study, Google set out to identify the eight essential qualities of their top employees, and they found that STEM expertise came in dead last. The top seven characteristics were soft skills — human skills. Things like speaking, listening, empathy, critical thinking, and integration. Sound familiar?

At Pacifica, we sit in circles! We sit eye-to-eye and knee to knee for more than 50,000 minutes so that our students can speak, listen, and empathize. Together they thoughtfully ask big questions, and then together, they answer big questions. 

Pacifica disagrees with the latest fad in education, one where we specialize a 15-year-old’s education and training in a particular area of interest and technology. Both the student’s interest, and the technology they learned, will undoubtedly be different by the time they enter and finish college. Instead, Pacifica prepares today’s 21st-century young adult with the transferable skills necessary to create, to contribute, to connect, to think critically, and to make wise and ethical decisions for the good of our world and God’s glory!

Students and parents should not be asked to choose between a quality education in math and science or the humanities. In fact, it is not good for them, or for society, to present students with such an artificial choice. As one of the few self-identified liberal arts schools, we provide our graduates with an integrated course of study that leads to flourishing personally, spiritually, and in the marketplace.

The conclusion of Google’s study is a significant endorsement for Pacifica’s mission and approach to human development, “Broad learning skills are the key to long-term, satisfying, productive careers. What helps you thrive in a changing world isn’t rocket science. It may just well be social science, and, yes, even the humanities and the arts that contribute to making you not just workforce ready but world ready.”

Our friends at Axis said it this way, “As counterintuitive as it might sound, the tech age is reminding educators the liberal arts are more important than ever because they foster well-rounded, deep thinking individuals who more easily adapt to and make sense of the ever changing world.”

It is true that we created Pacifica to increase the joy and freedom of young people. The good news for our graduates is that joy and freedom come from using our God-given gifts to create good and valuable things that contribute to the common good of society — and companies like Google and Apple agree!

David O’Neil

Head of School

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