Tips and Advice Blog

What are Powerful Combinations?

Amy Tiberio, Vice President for Enrollment Management

When I go to the movie theater, I like to get popcorn and Reese’s Pieces – one without the other won’t do (in my opinion!). It’s all about the salty and sweet combination. Life is a lot like this – combinations complement each other. The addition of one thing makes the whole experience better. In other words, sometimes 1 plus 1 equals more than 2. This is true of college academics, as well, which is the reason behind what we at Roger call Powerful Combinations. Powerful Combinations are the intentional pairing of academic programs – double major, major + minor(s), and also the pairing of classroom-based learning with dynamic real-world learning, that creates a distinctive and valuable experience for RWU students. It’s why 100% of students have the opportunity to graduate with more than one academic program, and 100% graduate with at least one engaged learning experience (internship, research, service, etc.) 

The world of work is already changing and evolving at a rapid pace. We are entering what’s called the “fourth industrial revolution,” in which the advent of intelligent technology is blurring the lines between physical and digital spaces. In a time of Artificial Intelligence, robotics, Web3 and other technologies that sound like science fiction, humans will need to double-down on what makes us human. The embracing of these technologies requires a greater emphasis on critical thinking, creative problem solving, social justice advocacy, sustainable and equitable design, ethics, and empathy. Employers get this, and they are seeking college graduates with these abilities. In fact, according to a recent report from Bain & Company, essential skills (versus “hard” skills) such as empathy and the ability to frame and scale concepts will be dramatically elevated in importance.

Here’s the key: these essential skills and abilities are honed at the intersections of academic disciplines. This is why nearly every RWU student pursues more than just one academic program: Powerful Combinations are the key to both short- and long-term career success.

What does this look like at RWU? Architecture students with Sustainability minors, Legal Studies and Sociology + Anthropology double majors, Business majors with Psychology minors, and Marine Biology majors with Public Health minors.

Think about it this way:

  1. People who design, build, and renovate buildings must understand the role of climate change and its future impact on the natural and built environments.
  2. People who create, enact, and enforce the law should understand the history and impact of inequities in our society.
  3. People who lead successful businesses must understand how to care for and retain their employees.
  4. People who work to protect the ocean and its habitats should understand how local and federal policies impact their health and ability to thrive.

There are tons of combinations like this. If that seems overwhelming, know that you are not on this journey alone. Advising, guidance, mentorship, career coaching, and the faculty relationships that are forged when virtually all your classes have 20-30 students in them are your supports along the way. We take our responsibility of preparing students to be citizens and changemakers of the future world very seriously. The Powerful Combinations you curate, with our support, are designed exactly with this in mind.

Tips and Advice Blog