Putting Liberal Arts to Work
HDO teaches students to use the disciplines of the liberal arts—the humanities, and the social and behavioral sciences—to understand workplace interactions and how organizations can best serve their employees, customers, and clients.
This major is intended for students who envision themselves solving human-centered problems in organizations including business, government, nonprofits, and the military. Career paths from HDO include human resources, people management, nonprofit leadership, project management, and government service, among others.
The Liberal Arts have always taught critical thinking skills and effective communication, which are crucial to success in organizations. These disciplines also provide a deeper understanding of culture, motivation and behavior, group dynamics, and individual psychology.
The HDO bachelor’s program focuses on understanding organizational dynamics and behaviors—how organizations work—which is an essential skill in today’s rapidly changing work environment. To succeed, leaders need more than good functional skills; they need to communicate well across silos, understand complex organizational interdependencies, and adapt to ambiguous and rapidly changing business environments.
HDO’s Founding Director and Psychology Professor Art Markman provides an overview of the HDO Bachelor’s Degree.
“Most employers look for people who are human-oriented and can later learn the skills needed for a specific job. HDO fosters personal development and creates well-rounded individuals.”
“HDO students stand out because they are equipped to change the world.”
“HDO doesn’t limit you to just one area of education, it empowers you to learn about many topics. I like to do a lot of things, and this major allows me to do that.”
Students with a deep knowledge of these areas of study are well-suited to address the problems that factors like globalization, regulation, linguistic diversity, and cultural differences can cause.
The HDO Bachelor’s Degree provides a broad-based exploration of liberal arts as applied to organizations. It allows students to:
• Develop effective, persuasive oral and written communication skills;
• Understand ethical behavior in the workplace;
• Broaden their knowledge of the types of cultures that influence organizations;
• Measure human behavior to inform decision-making, and
• Consider how key lessons from the humanities and the social/behavioral sciences can be applied in organizational settings.
It is this last learning outcome that distinguishes HDO from the traditional disciplines that make up UT Austin’s College of Liberal Arts.