The Role of Creative Coursework in Skill Development for University Seniors


  • Angie Miller Indiana University Bloomington


coursework, creativity, higher education, major field, skills, creative thinking, critical thinking, abilities


Previous research suggests that creativity training can be effective in academic settings and that teachers in particular can have an impact on creativity. Furthermore, creativity is one of many transferable skills in higher education that will benefit students when they enter the workforce. This study extends research on creativity training and transferable skills in higher education, using data from the Senior Transitions topical module of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). Responses from over 48,000 seniors at 227 different U.S colleges and universities were used to explore curricular differences across disciplinary fields as well as how exposure to creative coursework can predict confidence in numerous skills and abilities. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis provided support for a measure of exposure to creative coursework, and an ANOVA suggested significant differences by major fields, with arts majors showing a distinct advantage. Results from ordinary least squares regression models found that even after controlling for several demographic and institutional characteristics, creative coursework is a significant positive predictor of confidence in several different skills and abilities that are important for adapting to traditional and non-traditional work settings, including creative thinking, critical thinking, entrepreneurial skills, and networking abilities. Potential reasons for these patterns of results are discussed. These findings can help to inform curricular and programming enhancements for college students across all major fields, helping to better prepare them for their futures in various workplace settings.

Author Biography

Angie Miller, Indiana University Bloomington

Angie L. Miller is an Associate Research Scientist at the
Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research. She
does research and data analytic support for the National
Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and the Strategic
National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP). Her research
interests include creativity assessment, the utilization of
creativity in educational settings, factors impacting gifted
student engagement and achievement, and survey