A Degree in Indigenous Studies

A December 2016 THE article highlighted the rise in both the US and Canada of indigenous language coursework. That same month, CBC News ran a story on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s prioritization of indigenous languages through the imminent proposal of the Canadian Indigenous Languages Act, while The Globe and Mail reported on Trudeau’s pledge to work toward reconciliation with the indigenous First Nations, Inuit and Métis groups through annual meetings with their leaders.

Given the media buzz over indigenous studies combined with the initiatives fueling this buzz, the question follows: Why is this field so important, and are studies in this area right for you? Read on for five reasons to consider a degree in indigenous studies.

1. Indigenous studies offer a more comprehensive and honest representation of history.

Indigenous people have been marginalized in countries across the globe for many years. In most cases, they’re still being marginalized today.

According to Danielle Lorenz, a PhD candidate in educational policy studies, the best way to remedy ongoing ignorance and stereotypes about indigenous people is through indigenous studies. In addition to fascinating coursework in diverse areas ranging from literature to traditional ecological knowledge, Lorenz points out that there are more general takeaways for students in this field: “They can learn about the accomplishments and contributions Indigenous peoples have made to global society, they can learn that Indigenous peoples in North America survived the world’s worst holocaust, they can learn about the true history of Canada – not as peaceful (or dull) as commonly thought, and they can learn that, today, while challenges exist – Indigenous peoples are more than just their ‘issues.’”

2. Indigenous studies are interdisciplinary.

Indigenous studies comprise a breadth and depth of academic fields the humanities, social sciences and beyond. Not only do students learn how to integrate this information in order to broaden their worldviews, but in doing so they also hone and refine their critical thinking skills.

These skills aren’t just applicable to directly related work in areas like indigenous governance, indigenous literature, and indigenous social work, they’re also transferrable — and highly valued by employers.

3. They are a necessary part of achieving reconciliation.

Many national history curricula overlook the stories of indigenous people. In Australia, for example, while Aboriginal people created a unique and impactful civilization, it is largely disregarded today. Why? Because according to an article in The Conversation, “It does not easily fit with the colonial mythologies around which popular histories of Australia have traditionally been constructed. Indeed the very use of the term ‘civilisation’ in relation to Aboriginal Australia will no doubt confound some readers. Perhaps the most insidious myth perpetuated about Aboriginal society is the idea it was ‘primitive’, ‘stone age’, ‘nomadic’, or ‘unevolved’. This type of thinking feeds racist stereotypes and discriminatory attitudes which continue to marginalize and disassociate Aboriginal Australians from the national identity. The archaeology of our continent directly refutes this type of thinking, but until recently the monuments and achievements of ancient Australia have remained largely invisible to the mainstream public.”

Women In Changed Science

Did you know that February 11th is International Day of Women and Girls in Science? Whether you’re a woman working in this vital area or you have a sister/mother/daughter/aunt/friend/colleague who is, this annual observation is the perfect day to give yourself (or someone else) a pat on the back. It’s also an ideal opportunity to honor the many women whose contributions to science continue to improve our lives today.

We’re all familiar with the names Marie Curie and Maria Montessori, but they’re far from alone. Here’s a closer look at eight other pioneering women in science, along with why the contributions of women are more necessary than ever moving forward.

1. Virginia Apgar: Medicine

Determined to be a surgeon despite her gender and financial problems, Dr. Virginia Apgar persevered to become the first woman at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons to earn the distinction of full professor. In her work at Columbia, she designed and introduced the APGAR Score which is still used all over the world as a standardized method for evaluating newborn health. Apgar later earned a master’s degree in public health, and received many awards and honors for her work toward the prevention of birth defects.

2. Bertha Parker Pallan: Archeology

While Pallan followed in the footsteps of her archaeologist father, the inaugural president of the Society for American Archaeology, she earned recognition in her own right. According to Adafruit, “Bertha Parker Pallan Thurston Cody is notable in the field of archaeology for her role as a groundbreaker: she was one of the first (if not the first) Native American female archaeologists. She was certainly first in her ability to conduct this work at a high level of skill, yet without a university education, making discoveries and gaining insights that impressed the trained archaeologists around her.”

3. Annie Jump Cannon: Astronomy

For generations, the mnemonic phrase, “Oh, Be a Fine Girl — Kiss Me!” has been used by astronomers to remember the spectral classifications of stars. Its inventor? Annie Jump Cannon. Cannon was part of a group of “Pickering’s Women,” who worked with data and astronomical calculations at the Harvard College Observatory. She received many honors over the course of her 40-year career, including being the first recipient of an honorary degree from Oxford and the first woman officer of the American Astronomical Society.

International Masters Degree

There’s no magic to a master’s degree—but the right one at the right time and in the right place can make a significant difference in your overall happiness, salary, and career opportunities.  What can sweeten the pot? How about an international master’s degree?  Graduate studies abroad can give your undergraduate degree a big boost, but adding more years to your education is a big decision. So, what in it for you?

You Can Improve Your Career Opportunities

Do your research.  If your prospective master’s degree is tied to a specific type of job that you want, then you’ll definitely have a broader reach of opportunity.  Consider occupational therapy, in which a master’s degree is the key to success, or business management, where that MBA will certainly give you a competitive edge.  Public school teachers will experience almost immediate benefits with a master’s.  In some fields, where a master’s is a terminal degree, such as an M.F.A., you’ll be able to teach at the university level.  Clinical psychology is another great example of pursuing a master’s in a specific field so that you can do the job you want.

You Can Earn a Better Salary

A graduate degree doesn’t always mean extra money, but in some fields, it’s the only way to make more of it.  If you choose to study medicine or law, of course, you’ll need an advanced degree, but those of you who have your bachelor’s and are contemplating the endeavor?  You can plan on making at least $400,000 more over your working lifetime with a graduate degree.  Teaching is one profession for which you’ll automatically get paid more. Graphic design, marketing, finance, and therapy are other fields in which you’ll definitely see a better salary—and more professional marketability – with a master’s degree.

It’s a Chance to Do Your Research at a Respected University

When considering an international master’s degree, it is important to choose the right university. When it comes to research and graduate studies, location isn’t everything but it can help. After all, you can’t spend all your time in a lab or behind a book. Consider Helsinki, Finland, where you’ll find a safe, green city surrounded by stunning natural beauty and a vibrant student scene alongside one of the world’s top research universities: the University of Helsinki.  You’ll earn a world-class education at one of Europe’s leading research institutions, and a major international reputation.  With over half a million friendly faces, a vibrant urban atmosphere, and 60,000 students from around the globe, Helsinki is a perfect place to pursue that master’s degree and immerse yourself in a culture of motivated, inspirational, and brilliant people.  Did we mention the saunas and omenalörtsy?

You Can Build on Your Undergraduate Studies…or Explore Something New

Whether you want to expand on your undergraduate degree or move into a different, but related graduate program, consider the University of Helsinki. The university offers 28 master’s programs in English with a wide range of possibilities. Not sure where to start? These six programs build on many common undergraduate majors, offering something for nearly everyone.

1. Master in Environmental Change and Global Sustainability

If your undergraduate degree is related to environmental science or sustainability studies, select a master’s and focus on issues sustainability that interest you. Solve socio-ecological problems that affect you and the world around you.  Jobs in policy, education, advocacy, and science await!

2. Master in Food Science

If you have a bachelor’s in food science or the molecular biosciences and you want to reshape how the world views food—from agriculture to processing to innovation and policy—consider a Master’s degree in Food Science at the University of Helsinki, one of the highest ranked food science programs in the world.

3. Master in Microbiology and Microbial Biotechnology

With antibiotic drug resistance and superbugs at the forefront of global concern, a Master’s degree in Microbiology and Microbial Biotechnology will help to ensure your role in preventing the destruction of the human race through microbes.  Cutting-edge research and technology, and the opportunity to have a lasting effect on the world’s future make this master’s program an ace in your pocket.

4. Master of Life Science and Informatics

Earn a master’s in one of the University of Helsinki’s leading research programs: Life Sciences and Informatics.  Combine mathematics, computer science, statistics, ecology, evolutionary biology, and genetics—and you’re guaranteed to find a job as an expert in life science research for either the public or private sector.  This degree also puts you at a significant advantage to earn your doctorate in chosen field of study.

5. Master in Particle Physics and Astrophysical Sciences

Enjoy the secrets of the world with a master’s degree Particle Physics and Astrophysical Sciences. You will enjoy a career in research, or an infinite range of possibilities in the private sector.  If you studied mathematics, physics, engineering, or astronomy as an undergraduate, consider unlocking the secrets of the cosmos with an advanced degree in Particle Physics and Astrophysical Sciences.

Management Needs Unique Educational Models

While it may not seem obvious, sports management degrees focus less on athletics and more on finance, management, marketing, and law—as they pertain to the sporting industry.  Students graduate with the abilities to manage amateur, collegiate, and professional organizations and sports professionals while capitalizing on sports-related opportunities.  While many students choose sports management as undergraduates, it’s not uncommon to see mid-career business professionals transition to advanced sports management degrees—they’re interesting and lucrative.

The keys to success?  A positive attitude.  Self-reliance.  A willingness to push forward.  The Johan Cruyff Institute has it all.  According to Jordi Cruyff, the late Johan Cruyff’s son, former footballer, and current manager for Maccabi Tel Aviv, “My father always told me that when I had doubts about a certain situation, to follow my intuition and do what I thought was humanly correct and professionally correct.  I always follow that advice.”

What does the Johan Cruyff Institute have that other sports management programs don’t?  A unique, student-centered model that pushes sports management students as hard as any professional athlete.  A combination of passion and practicality, an understanding of the world, a global network, and the blood, sweat, and tears to make it happen.

1. Passion

Passion for sports comes first, above all else.  That’s why the Johan Cruyff Institute requires that its students care deeply about sports—many of the students are athletes themselves.   The Johan Cruyff Institute offers students the unique opportunity to translate passion for a sport into growth, development, and business acumen. According to Johan Cruyff, the founder of the Institute, “My vision on sport management is quite simple. I think people with a passion for sport are the best to lead sport organizations.”  Without it, why focus on sports?  Those who love the sport do well by their charges.

2. Practicality

At the heart of the Johan Cruyff Institute’s educational model: learning by doing.  The Institute offers a Corporate Internship Program that places students at the heart of the sports industry.  Students access the behind-the-scenes work of sports management, and experience the reality of what it means to management a sports team.  Students gain the skills necessary to compete in tight job markets—adapted to their passions, interests, skills, and needs.  Additionally, students have the opportunities to learn from and interact with faculty directly from the sports industry.

3. Global Awareness

Sporting is international—different cultures approach sports management in different ways.  The Johan Cruyff Institute prepares students for the transient life of sports management professionals by offering students opportunities that maximize their understanding of cultural differences in the sporting world.  The Johan Cruyff Institute prepares students for international endeavors by offering several campuses in different cities around the world.  On-campus and blended programs in the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Mexico, and Peru, combined with the flexibility of online courses make the Johan Cruyff Institute unique.  Students can combine their studies and travel to different cities and countries to maximize their learning—and their capacity to understand.

Europes Digital Innovators

Dr. Till Wahnbaeck, CEO of Germany’s hunger-fighting NGO Welthungerhilfe, recently penned a piece for The Guardian in which she reiterated the critical need for innovation. But what, exactly, is innovation? Her explanation is a surprisingly simple one, “Innovation is the answer to a simple question: Is there a better way?”

Apply this concept to the digital world and its meaning is exponentially amplified. Because we are just dipping a toe into the digital pool, there’s no question that there is a better way. In other words, the answers are limitless. The bigger issue? Finding the people with the ken and capacity to drive these answers. Here’s a closer look at why digital innovation matters, along with three strategies for positioning yourself to become a digital innovator in this brave new world.

Why Digital Innovation Matters

Contemporary business success largely hinges on an organization’s ability to adapt to the rapidly evolving digital space. Take companies like Amazon and Netflix, for example.  Their business models inherently rely on continuously expanding and enhancing their digital products and services to remain competitive. But this evolution doesn’t happen on its own.

Says global management consulting firm North Highland Worldwide Consulting’s Alex Bombeck, “Everyone recognizes the importance of digital in today’s business environment, but the landscape is littered by companies that have been left behind the digital curve. Leaders must figure out how to meet the high expectations of customers and deliver a unique human experience, or risk becoming obsolete.”

In addition to the usual suspects of leadership like vision and managerial skills, the next generation of business leaders will also need to understand the fundamentals of digital innovation, including the economic and technological factors powering it; the intersection of former, current and future business models; differences between digital models and how they interact with each other; best practices for organizing and leading digital product and service innovation efforts;  the role of crowdsourcing; and other topics.

Echoes North Highland Global CIO Ben Grinnell of what it takes to thrive in the new digital world, “To enable digital transformation, old legacy systems are not going to cut it. Silos must be broken down and an agile mindset needs to take hold. This means building cross-functional teams that can be nimble, move fast and quickly produce results.”

Three Steps to Becoming a Digital Innovator

Now that we’ve covered how important digital innovation is, along with why having the right skill set is critical for people looking to innovate in the digital space, a final question remains: How do you prepare yourself to become one of them? These three steps are a great starting point:

1. Be international.

Digital innovation has no physical borders. And with companies like Turner increasingly prioritizing international digital innovation, it makes sense for those looking for an inside edge to cultivate a global perspective — preferably through first-hand experience.

In fact, according to a recent Erasmus Impact Study which looks into the effects of international study on the skills and employability of students, 65 percent of employers consider international experience important in job applicants, while a full 92 percent are looking for transversal skills developed through international experiences, including “openness to and curiosity about new challenges, problem-solving and decision-making skills, confidence, tolerance toward other personal values and behaviors.”

2. Know the best course of study.

We’ve already established that international experience is a major plus. What else should you be looking for in terms of degrees and certifications? Not only will you need training in key digital technology areas, but you’ll also need to develop innovation and entrepreneurship skills.

Another plus? Real-world experience, which will allow you to practice applying your newfound skills while simultaneously building a network of professional relationships.