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ABSTRACT. The perceived purpose of college education keeps shifting. There was a time that its purpose was seen as teaching ethics/morality/values to students. Today, the focus is on delivering skills and competencies to succeed in life as well as a career. This paper posits that the ideal university ensures that all courses regardless of discipline work together to enhance the skills of students. This ensures that students will be resilient and productive regardless of how often the nature of their work changes. The accounting major is used as an example to demonstrate how a skills-based education together with a disciplinary major produces the ideal accountant. The outdated distinction between intellectual and vocational majors is meaningless since any major can be enhanced once there is an emphasis on delivering skills together with the content. pp. 104–121
JEL codes: I23; D83

Keywords: competency-based education; skills; 4 C’s of education; college majors; organizational agility; critical thinking; adaptability; collaboration; communication skills; lifelong learning; outcomes assessment; storytelling

How to cite: Gerstein, Miriam, and Hershey H. Friedman (2016), “Rethinking Higher Education: Focusing on Skills and Competencies,” Psychosociological Issues in Human Resource Management 4(2): 104–121.

Received 20 April 2016 • Received in revised form 22 May 2016
Accepted 23 May 2016 • Available online 10 June 2016

doi:10.22381/PIHRM4220165

MIRIAM GERSTEIN
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Department of Accounting,
Murray Koppelman School of Business,
Brooklyn College,
City University of New York
HERSHEY H. FRIEDMAN
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Business Management Department,
Murray Koppelman School of Business,
Brooklyn College,
City University of New York

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