UOG in the News: President Robert Underwood
There are two common points of conversation about universities when it comes to economic development. The first is the role that universities play in providing professionals to work in the economy. The second is the role of universities in economic growth. On Guam, most of the conversations center on the first. The second is generally misunderstood or ignored.
The most common theme about the role of higher education is to contrast its role in developing intellectuals for a community with the provision of prepared professionals ready to engage the world of work. Most people assume that this is a controversial point in universities. It isn’t.
This contrast seems especially irrelevant in a world where professional skills are almost out of date at the time diploma is awarded. Everybody puts down getting a degree in history or sociology because they don’t offer a direct professional nexus. On the other hand, every degree in computer science and business administration seems out of sync with the real professional world when recent graduates get a position. According to Forbes Magazine, employers think that good teamwork, decision-making, problem solving and communication skills are more important than technical skills in new hires. A good philosophy program can teach these attitudes and skills as easily as a professional degree. In fact, professional degrees are increasingly being assessed on critical and creative thinking measures.
As the world watches to see the outcome of today's talks between North and South Korea, tiny islands in the middle of the Pacific are hoping it will mean a stop to the constant threat of a nuclear attack.
Guam, only 3,400 kilometres from Pyongyang, was thrust onto the geopolitical stage in August when Kim Jong-un said he was "carefully examining" a plan to strike the US Pacific territory.
The US armed forces own about 30 per cent of Guam's entire land mass, and there are about 7,000 American troops stationed there.
"I frequently compare this to having a ten-foot giant living in your house," University of Guam president Robert Underwood said.