Soft Skills Centrality in Graduate Studies Offerings

María del Pilar García-Chitiva, Juan C. Correa

Research output: Working paperPreprint

Abstract

Is it possible to measure how critical soft skills like leadership or teamwork are from the viewpoint of graduate studies offerings? This paper provides a conceptual and methodological framework that introduces the concept of a bipartite network as a practical way to estimate the importance of soft skills as socio-emotional abilities trained in graduate studies. We examined 230 graduate programs offered by 49 higher education institutions in Colombia to estimate the empirical importance of soft skills from the viewpoint of graduate studies offerings. The results show that: a) graduate programs in Colombia share 31 soft skills in their intended learning outcomes; b) the centrality of these skills varies as a function of the graduate program, although this variation was not statistically significant; and c) while most central soft skills tend to be those related to creativity (i.e., creation or generation of ideas or projects), leadership (to lead or teamwork), and analytical orientation (e.g., evaluating situations and solving problems), less central were those related to empathy (i.e., understanding others and acknowledgment of others), ethical thinking, and critical thinking, posing the question if too much emphasis on most visible skills might imply an unbalance in the opportunities to enhancing other soft skills such as ethical thinking.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2023
Externally publishedYes

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