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Message from the Dean

Dr. Ken CruikshankA message from Dean of Humanities, Dr. Ken Cruikshank

At McMaster, Humanities means leadership.

Our engaging faculty – leaders on the frontiers of knowledge — believe that all of our students have the potential to be effective and just leaders. Indeed, we believe that in the 21st century, all of our graduates will be called upon, at one time or another, to lead, whether at the workplace, in their communities, or in their neighbourhoods.

Look at any list of the attributes of effective leaders in the twenty-first century, and what do you find?

Effective leaders must have strong personal and ethical values.

They must know themselves, AND they must be able to see the world from the perspective of others.

They know when to lead, and when to follow.

They know how and when to communicate complex ideas in clear and inspiring ways.

They know how and when to listen, to really listen, and to learn.

They respect and seek to understand diverse cultures and peoples.

They are curious, creative and constructive. They question everything, not for the sake of asking question, but to build a better world.

These are what some people call “soft skills”.   The “soft skills” build careers. The “soft skills” build leaders in our communities, in our neighbourhoods, in our classrooms, in our social agencies, in our arts organizations, and yes, in businesses, from corporations to startups.

And you know what? Employers in all sectors are finding that these soft skills are hard.   Hard to find. Hard to train on the job.

That’s where Humanities comes in.

In our disciplines, we focus

on ethical values,

on knowing yourself

on looking at the world from many different perspectives

on developing persuasive and rational arguments,

on communicating complex and challenging ideas,

on collaboration, creativity, and critical and constructive thinking.

That is why our graduates go on to successful leadership roles as lawyers, doctors, teachers, policy analysts, journalists, museum curators, artists, musicians, translators, speech language pathologists, professors, and business executives, to name just a few.

At McMaster, Humanities means leadership.