Students would benefit from an emotional intelligence course at UK


Kernel Opinion SIG

Kristi Fitzgerald

Many universities, UK included, assert that they provide their students with a “well-rounded” education, promising to lay a sturdy foundation for students to build a career upon. However, it seems that most college curriculums are coming up short.

A liberal arts education promises to provide students with “general knowledge and to develop intellectual ability.” UK students are required to take several classes in different areas of study. These classes are referred to as the “UK core requirements”. All students, regardless of their major, must complete these requirements in order to graduate from UK. The core requirements include courses in Statistical Reasoning, Arts & Creativity, Humanities, Quantitative Foundations and Foreign Language. These classes give students a look into many different fields of academic study. Unfortunately, the required classes are lacking when it comes to providing information that will transcend the classroom.

There are certain life skills that are never taught in school that would greatly improve lives if those skills were taught. There should be a class on “emotional intelligence” added to UK core requirements. The definition of emotional intelligence is, “the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.” The addition of this course would help students in their professional lives as well as their personal lives. Providing classes that offer skills outside of academics is, arguably, the true meaning of a “well-rounded” education.

The addition of a class in which students are taught how to identify their emotions and the emotions of others, discern why they are feeling what they are feeling and properly process their emotions would make UK graduates better equipped to handle the real world. If students were given the tools to understand and process emotional information, it would make them superior to those who do not across any field of work. Our emotions play an immeasurable role in guiding our decisions. Someone who understands their feelings and can make decisions based upon logic will almost certainly have a more successful career.

Eric Street, a UK alumnus and current professor at Midway University in the sports management department, said that emotional intelligence is “far more relevant to personal and professional success than a formal education.”

UK senior and engineering major Laurel Small said UK should “absolutely” add an emotional intelligence class to the curriculum. 

“Adding a course that teaches the fundamentals necessary to evaluate situations and experiences and react appropriately with the least amount of emotional strain for everyone involved would eliminate a lot of the stress that students face outside of class,” she said.

She that the class would lead to a “more open, honest and anxiety-reduced” campus.

“Unfortunately, empathy and understanding is something that a lot of adults lack and it tends to be the source of many interpersonal issues post-college. Taking steps to eliminate that now could only benefit us in the future.”

If students were required to take a course on emotional intelligence, their lives in and out of the classroom would improve and UK graduates would be able to interact with the world in a more thoughtful and productive manner.

UK students would graduate with a truly well-rounded education that would light a path to a tactful career and a more mindful life. Emotional intelligence is invaluable, and it is up to the university to give its students an advanced education that will provide a solid foundation on which to build a career. An education on emotional intelligence will only increase the strength of that foundation and provide benefits for years to come.