Humanities in the News
Humanities in the News is an up-to-date, curated newsfeed about university study of the humanities. And the news is, it’s not all bad news. Degrees in the humanities lead to jobs, nurture democracy, and benefit society. We all face new challenges in a global economy; this section is for news, voices, and commentary about how the humanities are responding. Please feel free to send suggestions and links for this page to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Top Eleven Reasons to Study the Humanities [click for slide show]
9 April 2018 (Danielle Ofri, Slate) -- Yes, Studying the Humanities Might Make You a Better Doctor
"The humanities might actually provide an indispensable language for exploring that strange, nuanced, and often nonsensical land called the human condition... It’s not just that we want hints of human emotion when we are sick. It’s that we want—and need—the ability to grapple with nuance and ambiguity that are inherent when our bodies and minds fail."
5 April 2018 (John Ibbetson, Globe & Mail) -- We need the humanities more than ever, despite all the shouting
"We live in a time when knowledge is money. We sell the humanities and social sciences short when we devalue the knowledge − the historical perspective, the critical thinking, the ability to weave disparate strands of information into a coherent whole − that a degree in one of these fields provides."
3 April 2018 (Betsy Corcoran, EdSurge) -- What's that Liberal Arts Degree Worth?
"Jobs that use the skills that liberal arts grads have may be growing faster than other economic sectors... software companies are increasingly creating a need for people with a “modicum of technical literacy,” people who can translate data, show a bigger picture result from snippets of information."
2 April 2018 (Peter J. Kalliney, The Chronicle of Higher Education) -- We Reversed Out Declining English Enrollments. Here's How.
"Attracting new majors is just as important as serving the ones who have already declared. Humanities courses have plenty to offer all students: we just need to get our best faculty on the job."
14 March 2018 (James McWilliams, Pacific Standard) -- The Humanities are Dead. Long Live the Humanities
"As such niches of enlightenment emerge in the vast realm of Internet content, as more and more archives enter the public sphere as digitized and freely accessible collections (see here and here), and as the humanities, decoupled from exclusionary institutions, shed the (perhaps undeserved) burden of elitism... we'll all be free to be as irrelevant as we want to be."
13 March 2018 (Ben Valentine, Hyperallergic) -- How the Environmental Humanities Can Heal Our Relationship to the Planet
"A reductive binary, neatly dividing nature and culture as two separate categories, is illusory, and we are starting to see its dangers now, as the sixth great extinction event comes into focus... the environmental humanities [are] research and practice programs that investigate the complicated intermingling between human activities and the environment... thinking through how to live well on a damaged planet."
7 March 2018 (Matteo Valleriani, The Conversation) -- Maths is revolutionizing the study of history -- here's how
"Although mathematical modelling in the frame of history is clearly at its first steps, its introduction already appears unstoppable. This is creating the conditions for the emergence of a new vision, according to which we might be able to develop general mathematical models to explain how ideas and knowledge changed from a social and historical perspective."
5 March 2018 (Scott Carlson, The Chronicle of Higher Education) -- What Gets Forgotten in Debates About the Liberal Arts
"Employers frequently say they want students to learn all of the classic "soft skills" that a liberal-arts education supposedly provides....But the real value of a liberal-arts training is still something of a black box... consider what majoring in philosophy or history says to a potential employer: This applicant is driven by curiosity, willing to take risks and to think broadly... a key component in students’ decision-making processes [is] passion... note what the liberal arts study that technical majors often don’t: cultural facets of society, and the valuable perspectives those lessons provide in a workplace — and a world — that is rapidly diversifying."
2 March 2018 (Michael Zimm, Wall Street Journal) -- If You Want Your Child to Succeed, Don't Sell Liberal Arts Short
"Throughout history it has been common for people to study subjects with no immediate relationship to their intended professions. In antiquity, education was intended to enrich students’ lives. Pragmatic benefits such as rhetorical ability, logical reasoning and business skills were welcome byproducts of a good education. The phrase “liberal arts” comes from the Latin word liberalis, meaning “worthy of a free person.” A liberal-arts education gives someone the freedom to participate fully in civic life."
23 February 2018 (Christian Madsbjerg, Fast Company) -- Thanks Robots! Now these Four Non-Tech Job Skills are in Demand
"The more we rely on robots, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning, the clearer it’s become just how much we need social scientists and humanities experts... These four skills... will rise in value in the coming years:
3. Critical Thinking
4. Ethical Judgement
Humanities experts can help unleash all of AI and machine learning’s positive potential–and curb its less desirable qualities."
22 February 2018 (The Conference Board of Canada) -- Getting to Work: Career Skills Development for Social Sciences and Humanities Graduates
"While graduates in social sciences and humanities (SSH) programs tend to go on to rewarding careers, for many recent graduates there can be challenges when transitioning into the workplace. These challenges include difficulty articulating the value of the skills developed in their SSH program to employers, a lack of understanding of possible career paths, and limited work experience.
This report examines the short- and long-term career outcomes of SSH undergraduate degree holders. It discusses SSH graduates’ struggle to find meaningful employment. It examines how post-secondary institutions in Canada and the U.S. are responding with initiatives tailored to students in these programs. The report offers eight recommendations for post-secondary education stakeholders in Canada to help more SSH graduates succeed in their career goals."
22 February 2018 (Review of Marilynne Robinson, What Are We Doing Here, The Economist) -- A defence of the humanities and humankind's "natural grandeur"
"Thought, she complains, has been surrendered to ideology... Ms Robinson castigates those who see education simply as a means of training workers for the economy, and cites Alexis de Tocqueville’s argument that the fostering of “poetry, eloquence, wit, imagination, depth of thought” is the lifeblood of democracy."
21 February 2018 (Ali Montag, CNBC News) -- Mark Cuban says studying philosophy may soon be worth more that computer science -- here's why
"Cuban expects artificial intelligence technology to vastly change the job market, and he anticipates that eventually technology will become so smart it can program itself... To remain competitive, Cuban advises ditching degrees that teach specific skills or professions and opting for degrees that teach you to think in a big picture way, like philosophy."
12 February 2018 (Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly) -- Trump Renews Bid to Eliminate Library Funding, NEA, and NEH
"In its FY2019 budget proposal, unveiled today, the Trump administration has once again proposed the permanent elimination of the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, as well as the elimination of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (and with it virtually all federal library funding)."
7 February 2018 (Psychiatry Advisor) -- Positive Personal Traits Correlated with Humanities Exposure in Medical Students
"Exposure to the humanities correlates with less burnout and higher levels of positive personal qualities... including empathy, tolerance for ambiguity, wisdom, emotional intelligence, self-efficacy, and visual-spatial skills. Additionally, exposure to the humanities was significantly and inversely correlated with some components of burnout."
7 February 2018 (Scott Carlson, Chronicle of Higher Education) -- Over Time, Humanities Grads Close the Pay Gap with Professional Peers
"humanities majors catch up over time — and humanities majors more effectively close the pay gap between younger and older workers... They don’t see their education tied to a specific field. That... means that humanities majors are open to pursuing a variety of jobs in a lifetime — like management or other high-paying positions."
7 February 2018 (American Academy of Arts & Sciences) -- The State of the Humanities 2018: Graduates in the Workforce and Beyond [download pdf file]
7 February 2018 (Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Education) -- Shocker: Humanities Grads Gainfully Employed and Happy
"A study being released today... shows humanities grads to be gainfully employed and holding positions of authority."
5 February 2018 (QS Wow News) -- Why we still need to study the humanities in a STEM world
"in humanities, one has the opportunities to gain better insights into oneself and others, better understand and deal with intricate moral issues and the complexities and intricacies of humanity. Humanities provide alternative views to issues and allow for better decision-making processes when diverse opinions and ideas are considered."
29 January 2018 (William Adams, American Academy of Arts & Sciences) -- Valuing the Humanities
"we ought to be looking at workplaces not simply in terms of making a living, but also in terms of how they contribute to the growth of certain basic “human capabilities".
24 January 2018 (Amy Lowry, Undergrad advisor, UC-Davis) -- Debunking Criticisms about the 'Real World' Value of the Humanities
"I work as a staff advisor... And that's why I want to debunk a few myths about humanities majors and the students who choose them."
Myth No. 1: Math- and science-oriented students don't do humanities
Myth No. 2: Being a humanities major is a waste of tuition money
Myth No. 3: Humanities classes aren't interesting
21 January 2018 (Richard Feloni, Business Insider) -- Microsoft's president says liberal arts majors are necessary for the future of tech
"Microsoft president Brad Smith and EVP of AI and research Harry Shum wrote in their new book "The Future Computed" that "one of the most important conclusions" of Microsoft's recent research into artificial intelligence is that lessons from liberal arts will be critical to unleashing the full potential of AI."
21 January 2018 (Richard Eldridge, Los Angeles Review of Books) -- What Was Liberal Education?
"Yet education is a historically evolved and evolving ensemble of practices, and it is also possible to wonder whether we might have lost our collective way. Do we really know what we’re doing in turning so strikingly toward STEM and away from the humanities? And are there good reasons for this turn?"
20 January 2018 (Carl O'Brien, The Irish Times) -- Are arts degrees past their sell-by date?
"Arts graduates may take longer to get there, but when they do, they reach senior positions within organizations... They develop the capacities to think critically, communicate effectively, observe carefully and to make connections between disparate sources of information... The World Economic Forum at Davos...forecasts that the skills likely to be in most demand over the coming years will include complex problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, people management, co-ordinating with others and emotional intelligence."
17 January 2018 (Mike Scutari, Inside Philanthropy) -- Score One for the Liberal Arts: Why That Big Campus Gift for Philosophy Matters
"Giving generally flows to the 'usual suspects' like endowments, blended curriculum, and digitization projects. All of which makes investor Bill Miller's $75 million donation to John Hopkins University's philosophy department both unique and tantalizing. 'I wanted the gift to go to something where it would have a significant impact, and change the trajectory... Philosophy has made a huge difference both to my life outside business, in terms of adding a great degree of richness and knowledge, and to the actual decisions I've made in investing.'"
10 January 2018 (Mandy Pipher, The Toronto Star) -- Devaluing a humanities education ultimately devalues humanity itself
"When done right, what students learn from a good English education is how to think and how to parse language. They learn how to identify nuance and complexity and subtle messaging. They learn about the complicated interactions between words, personal experience, and truth... critical thinking; analysis of language; insight into the minds of people from different places and times."
Winter 2017 (Justin Stover, American Affairs Volume 1, number 4, 210-224) -- There is No Case for the Humanities
"The result of this is deep conceptual confusion about what the humanities are and the reason for studying them in the first place... The way to defend the arts is to practice them. Vast expanses of humanistic inquiry are still in need of scholars and scholarship. Whole fields remain untilled. We do not need to spend our time trying to come up with reasons."
20 December 2017 (Valerie Strauss, The Washington Post) -- The surprising thing Google learned about its employees -- and what it means for today's students
"In 2013, Google decided to test its hiring hypothesis by crunching every bit and byte of hiring, firing, and promotion data accumulated since the company’s incorporation in 1998. Project Oxygen shocked everyone by concluding that, among the eight most important qualities of Google’s top employees, STEM expertise comes in dead last. The seven top characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills...We desperately need the expertise of those who are educated to the human, cultural, and social as well as the computational."
8 December 2017 (Jennifer Polk, University Affairs) -- Why PhDs are well-suited to working in government
"Broadly speaking, success in the civil service – or, to speak more precisely, success at public-policy analysis – requires several qualities. These are not secret: virtually every job advertisement for the civil service describes them. And they are qualities that the work of obtaining a PhD bestows.These qualities are research and analytical skills, communication skills, and project management skills."
5 December 2017 (Ryan Cordell, English, Northeastern University on ryancordell.org) -- Humorless Man Yells at English Major Jokes
"In short, that little fact we all know about English majors, that steady drum beat warning parents and students away, away, away: it simply isn’t true... Every English major joke is a small concession to the same logic that leads administrators to trim humanities programs, or leads lawmakers to strike the NEA and NEH from the budget as wasteful, though these offices claim at best fractions of fractions of our larger national expenses."
December 2017 (Ian Coutts, UC Observer) -- Move Over, Freud
"A philosophical therapist, Polley is part of a small movement of philosophers who are turning their abstract academic discipline into a method of helping people lead happier, better, more effective lives. They perhaps draw inspiration from Epicurus, the ancient Greek philosopher, who said, “There is no benefit in philosophy if it does not drive out diseases of the soul.”
21 November 2017 (Harry Begg, Washington Examiner) -- Enough of the 'STEM' obsession: We need more philosophers
"being more flexible and curious about the kind of knowledge we value in society is a practical imperative as we enter into what some have dubbed “the Fourth Industrial Age.” In a very real sense, emerging technologies do and will mean that what we know becomes less important, as machines are ever more able to fulfill our requirements for day-to-day tasks. Instead, we should be teaching people to understand, interrogate, and critique how we know."
21 November 2017 (Tim Cole, The Conversation) -- Why Being a Historian is about so much more than producing displays for museums
"What we were particularly interested in examining were those moments when arts and humanities researchers bring something more than their subject specialism to the table... The results were “big narratives” that provided novel ways of looking at, and thinking about familiar places... In our research, we discovered plenty of other academics from the arts and humanities who are using their knowledge and skills in unexpected – as well as expected – ways."
9 November 2017 (WIRE authors, Advanced Science News) -- Environmental Humanities and Climate Change: Equity and Justice beyond Humans
"The environmental humanities is a new interdisciplinary field that seeks to understand global environmental changes... It builds on insights from environmental history, geography, literature, philosophy and the creative arts and... adds ideas of ethics, responsibility and justice within transdisciplinary environmental studies... The idea that humans are now a geological force on earth is captured in the concept of the Anthropocene: a new epoch in Earth’s history where the activities of people have changed the physical ways of the planet works. There is now no difference between human history and natural history."
9 November 2017 (Marilynne Robinson, New York Review of Books) — What are we doing here?
“Why teach the humanities? Why study them? … The questions being put to us now—What good are the humanities? Why are they at the center of our education?—might, for all history can tell us, be answered decisively by this vision of the effects of learning, which took hold and flourished as the study of ancient poetry, philosophy and language, Scripture and theology, and of history itself… the beautiful persists, and so do eloquence and depth of thought, and they belong to all of us because they are the most pregnant evidence we can have of what is possible in us.”
7 November 2017 (Alok Soon, YourStory) -- How an English literature graduate built an advanced NLP engine: story of Priyadarshi Lahiri
"Priyadarshi wanted to study literature. He always knew that he could continue with his hobby of coding and working on computers... He says, 'It really helps me today with my work as I understand how language, grammar, annotation work and how you interpret a sentence and break it up. What we do today largely deals with Natural Language Processing (NLP) which is the art of making the computer understand the intent of human text.'”
7 November 2017 (Gary Saul Morson, Knowledge@Wharton) — Could a Bit of Tolstoy and Austen Improve Economic Forecasting?
“In their passion for mathematically based explanations, economists struggle in at least three areas: accounting for culture, using narrative explanation and addressing ethical issues that cannot be reduced to economic categories… When we argue that economics can learn from novels, we approach great literature as a source of wisdom and insight that cannot be obtained, or obtained so well, elsewhere.”
6 November 2017 (Amy X. Wang, Quartz) -- A liberal-arts degree--specializing in nothing--is actually great for your career
"It’s better to amass knowledge in a field as broad as possible, the researchers concluded, than to give one’s entire attention to a niche field that precariously may not exist in a few years... many subjects commonly perceived as low-paying—English, for example, or psychology—actually yield more over graduates’ lifetimes than ones that are instantly recognizable as lucrative."
6 November 2017 (Goal Sathe, Gadgets360) — Why Tech Companies Need Humanities Students Along with Engineers
“ZERO consideration seems to be given to the ethical implications of tech. They don't even have a pat rehearsed answer. They are shocked at being asked. Which means nobody is asking those questions… Technology needs more diversity, not just of race and gender - but of ways of thinking.”
1 November 2017 (Sarah E. Bond, Hoyt Long, Ted Underwood, Chronicle of Higher Education) — ‘Digital’ is Not the Opposite of ‘Humanities’
“Over the past 15 years, the humanities have undergone dizzying changes. Scholars are now blogging, learning to code, writing collaboratively, and mining vast digital libraries. Many of these changes are bound up with computers, and observers often characterize them collectively as "digital humanities." But so far, digital humanities hasn’t become a separate field or even a distinct school of thought… "Digital humanities" describes not only new research methods; the term also covers new forms of public outreach that have affected museums, journalism, and libraries as much as academic departments… a critical literacy of information technology allows humanists to teach and collaborate with the public in unprecedented and meaningful ways."
25 October 2017 (Josephine Livingstone, New Republic) — University History Departments Have a Race Problem
“White nationalists have a long and storied history of abusing the premodern past for their own ideological ends… Bernal is not against Europe or Eurocentrism, but he is against “the idea that purity ever exists, or that if it does exist, that it is somehow more culturally creative than mixture.” Here, he means both ethnic “hygiene” and intellectual blinkeredness. Bernal’s “purity” and Beard’s “certainty” have a great deal in common: Both words describe the homogenization, reduction, and appropriation of the past for the political purposes of the living.”
18 October 2017 (Valerie Strauss, The Washington Post) — Why we still need to study the humanities in a STEM world
“A new book by George Anders titled You Can Do Anything: The Surprising Power of a ‘Useless’ Liberal Arts Education says… ‘The more we automate the routine stuff, the more we create a constant low-level hum of digital connectivity, the more we get tangled up in the vastness and blind spots of big data, the more essential it is to bring human judgment into the junctions of our digital lives.’ "
12 October 2017 (Ilona Bershon and Noah Berlatsky, Pacific Standard) — Studying Humanities teaches you how to get a job
“The skills you learn in the humanities are exactly the skills you use in a job search. The humanities teach students to understand the different rules and expectations that govern different genres, to examine social cues and rituals, to think about the audience for and reception of different kinds of communications. In short, they teach students how to apply for the kinds of jobs students will be looking for after college… Even politicians crafting anti-humanities propaganda are using techniques associated with the humanities as part of their job application process.”
2 October 2017 (Pieter E. Stek, QS-wow News) — Branding the Humanities in Asia
“The humanities are perceived as having less competitive admissions, and in many countries, attract significantly more female than male students. But humanities are an important field… In Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea, just to name a few examples, there are strong calls to increase humanities and social sciences in the university curriculum, to raise research funding for the humanities and in fact new liberal arts-focused universities are being created… how can we brand the humanities in Asia to win favour with the Asian consumer? How do we tell the humanities story to collectivist individualists who are also functional hedonists, value shopaholics and traditional futurists?”
25 September 2017 (Mizuho Aoki, Japan Times) — Japan shouldn’t neglect humanities studies in favour of other disciplines: Oxford professor
“In Japan, national universities have curbed the overall capacity of their humanities and social science departments in recent years, even though such academic pursuits have been increasingly popular with students. Instead the institutions are beefing up departments collectively known as rikei, including science, engineering and agriculture.”
24 September 2017 (Vanessa Miller, The Gazette) — Liberal arts, humanities degrees sustain value even as marketplace shifts
“many in the field insist the degrees remain valuable in this ever-morphing global marketplace — in large part — because they produce well-rounded graduates. Equipped with broad communication, leadership and thinking skills, those students also increasingly are thinking outside the box — pairing a humanities major with a technical specialty, and planning for a diverse and well-rounded career across several fields… Humanities and, more generally, liberal arts majors often end up with higher lifetime earnings than specifically trained employees — according to field experts and recent research — thanks to their well-rounded background and academic foundation.”
20 September 2017 (Jon Marcus, The Atlantic) — How the Humanities Can Train Entrepreneurs
“a new program at McMaster’s DeGroote School of Business proposes a business major aimed at turning out what it says will be future corporate leaders, for which students also are required to take philosophy, language, culture, and other humanities courses… ‘We did the research about what employers are looking for and we kept coming back to the same things: critical thinking, communication, cultural perspective.’”
18 September 2017 (Wajiha Rasul, University of Toronto News) — Health Humanities: The U of T expert behind the multidisciplinary program
“University of Toronto's Andrea Charise is the lead developer of Canada’s first undergraduate program in health humanities, which looks at the impact of the humanities and critical social sciences on health… ‘Bioethics, health law, health communication, disability studies, medical illustration, art-based therapy, and health design are just a few potential career pathways; Health humanities is also part of the curriculum of a growing number of health professions including medicine, nursing, and rehabilitation sciences.'”
10 August 2017 (Jessica Heller, Wordy by Nature, the official blog of Sigma Tau Delta) — So you want to teach?: Non-Teaching Careers for English Majors
“I had no idea what I wanted to do, or could do, with my degree… Then one day I was given some of the best advice I have ever received…
1. Make a list of what you want.
2. Make a list of what you can do (transferable skills).
3. Be creative when considering employment possibilities.
I love seeing an English, Communications, or other Liberal Arts degree on a resume because it comes with a long set of skills transferable to the business environment.
8 August 2017 (Scott Stirrett, Globe & Mail) — It’s human skills — not technical skills — that we need the most in today’s work force
“the skills that Canadians require to have successful careers are rapidly changing, and Canadian workers will need to adapt to stay ahead of the curve. Increasingly, attributes such as critical thinking, communication and emotional intelligence, all of which are often described as soft skills, are critical for career success.”
2 August 2017 (Vala Afshar, HuffPost) — The Importance of Liberal Arts in the AI Economy
“Those tasks that are non-routine, or highly variable, or require creativity or empathy, will be human-led. Those tasks require complex problem solving and flexibility, and the way we prepare for those tasks is through broad-based Liberal Arts education with an emphasis also on technical literacy.”
July-August 2017 (JM Olejarz, Harvard Business Review) — Liberal Arts in the Digital Age
“From Silicon Valley to the Pentagon, people are beginning to realize that to effectively tackle today’s biggest social and technological challenges, we need to think critically about their human context—something humanities graduates happen to be well trained to do… choosing a field of study is less important than finding ways to expand our thinking.”
QS World University Rankings places the Arts and Humanities at the University of Toronto at #19 worldwide for 2017.
28 July 2017 (Jennifer Brown, Quartz) — Tech Firms are Forgetting about STEM and Focusing on STEAM
“It’s not just big tech companies that have taken to the idea. Michael Litt, co-founder of video platform startup Vidyard, said he is hiring more humanities graduates than those who are from STEM-based backgrounds and is trying to fill in the gaps in his own engineering education by reading up on philosophy and psychology. Indeed, the arts are already more important to tech than you might think. Data compiled by LinkedIn in 2015 found that between 2010 and 2013, the growth of liberal-arts graduates entering the industry outpaced that of computer science and engineering majors by 10 percent.”
15 July 2017 (Michelle Litt, Fast Company) — Why this Tech CEO Keeps Hiring Humanities Majors
“the whole point of that data dive is to help us build an effective marketing campaign, which means predicting how a massive number of people will react and behave based on snippets of information we’ve collected. This level of qualitative analysis can’t come from the data alone. It requires instinct, critical thinking, and a deeply contextual understanding of human nature… the jobs of the future will involve coding and tech skills, but the ones that AI won’t replace—and the ones that I’ll be hiring for—will require creativity, adaptability, and artistry in equal measure.”
14 July 2017 (John Laidler, Harvard Gazette) — Finance meets humanities — really
“Reframing finance in moral and humanistic terms for practitioners and outsiders requires us to abandon the caricatures that are so prevalent — “business and finance are evil” or that “the humanities are divorced from the real world.” Abandoning those caricatures is the way forward for the profession and for our society.”
14 July 2017 (Isaac Kaplan, Artsy) — The Way We Judge Humanities Professors is Broken—This Initiative Could Fix It
“HuMetricsHSS wants to develop a metrics framework from values. Currently, there are five listed on the initiative’s website: equity, openness, collegiality, quality, and community… the team will develop two pilots over the course of the next 18 months, one focused on annotations and the other on syllabi… For metrics to be meaningful and valuable in academia… the people being measured need a say."
13 July 2017 (National Humanities Alliance) — Interior Subcommittee Strongly Rejects Trump’s Efforts to Defund the NEH
“The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies approved a bill that would provide $145 million each for the NEH and the NEA in FY 2018. While this is a $4.8 million reduction from the FY 2017 levels, we read this number as the subcommittee’s strong rejection of the president’s proposal to defund the Endowments.”
10 July 2017 (Tracy Chou, World Economic Forum, for Quartz) — Without the humanities, great tech cannot exist
“Ruefully—and with some embarrassment at my younger self’s condescending attitude toward the humanities—I now wish that I had strived for a proper liberal arts education. That I’d learned how to think critically about the world we live in and how to engage with it. That I’d absorbed lessons about how to identify and interrogate privilege, power structures, structural inequality, and injustice. That I’d had opportunities to debate my peers and develop informed opinions on philosophy and morality. And even more than all of that, I wish I’d even realized that these were worthwhile thoughts to fill my mind with—that all of my engineering work would be contextualized by such subjects.”
10 July 2017 (Medieval Art) — The Index of Christian Art becomes The Index of Medieval Art in Princeton University
“As of July 1, 2017, 100 years after its foundation... the Index of Christian Art has formally revised its name to become The Index of Medieval Art… Index records have expanded to encompass both religious and secular imagery, including Jewish and Islamic works, from the first centuries of the Common Era until the sixteenth century.”
5 July 2017 (Mike Scutari, Inside Philanthropy) — Can the Humanities Play a Role in Community Development? One Foundation Thinks So
“The Orton Foundation, which is headquartered in Vermont, is employing the Heart and Soul method in four Pennsylvania towns in partnership with the Pennsylvania Humanities Council… This approach uses stories as a means to engage and give ownership to previously disenfranchised residents [to infuse] many of the key characteristics associated with the humanities—critical thinking, problem-solving, self-expression—into the community planning process.”
5 July 2017 (Holly Else, Times Higher Education) — Humanities and social sciences ‘undervalued’ by assessment metrics
“Government knowledge performance indicators rely on patents and commercialisation of research… Other metrics used by governments and ranking organisations include the number of journal articles that researchers publish, or how often they are cited by others and the amount of work institutions do with industry partners. These metrics... do not adequately capture all the work that universities do.”
4 July 2017 (Elaine Tuttle-Hansen, South China Morning Post) — How the humanities, not STEM, can lead Chinese students towards creative innovation
“Why am I excited that some of the world’s brightest pre-college students are pursuing rigorous non-STEM courses? Because future global citizens who study the humanities – including language, literature, history and philosophy – will be best prepared for success in a world that increasingly depends on innovation and creativity… A key educational outcome if we want to foster creativity is “flexible thinking”, the ability to test and transfer knowledge within and across domains. In the humanities, we don’t just learn about historical events or parse Shakespeare’s words; we discuss, interpret and communicate complex ideas – skills necessary to solving today’s problems.”
30 June 2017 (Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic) — Learning to be Human
“true study and appreciation of the humanities is rooted in slowness—in the kind of deliberate education that can be accrued over a lifetime. While this can seem almost antithetical at times to the pace of modern life… studying the humanities is vital for the ways in which it teaches us how to be human.”
28 June 2017 (Tracy Chou, Quartz Magazine) — A leading Silicon Valley engineer explains why every tech worker needs a humanities education
“I now wish that I had strived for a proper liberal arts education. That I’d learned how to think critically about the world we live in and how to engage with it. That I’d absorbed lessons about how to identify and interrogate privilege, power structures, structural inequality, and injustice. That I’d had opportunities to debate my peers and develop informed opinions on philosophy and morality… It worries me that so many of the builders of technology today are people [who] haven’t spent anywhere near enough time thinking about these larger questions of what it is that we are building, and what the implications are for the world.”
28 June 2017 (Charles Isherwood, Town & Country) — Why a Liberal Arts Degree Still Matters
“In a data-swamped world, when communication mostly takes place via bite-size factoids or shouted debates, what we need is more historians decrying the perils of cultural amnesia from our proverbial mountaintops: cable television. We need more literature lovers who can translate the imaginative empathy their studies cultivated into real life empathy.”
27 June 2017 (Amy Chen, Arts & Science News) — Understanding and advocating for Indigenous law in Canada
Interview with JHI Undergraduate Fellow (16-17) Sasha Boutilier
19 June 2017 (Amy X. Wang, Quartz Magazine) — Donald Trump’s presidency is saving the history degree
“Trump’s win has broken through an apathy barrier of sorts. People who’d become disengaged with politics suddenly started paying attention again. It has spilled over into education: search data reveals a surge of interest in studying history in the latter half of 2016.”
19 June 2017 (Anisha Singh, New Delhi TV) — UG Admission 2017: Why Choose Humanities for Higher Studies
“India, as a country, is fascinated with the engineering and medical streams… In recent years, there have been raging debates about the relevance of Humanities… Contrary to popular perception, Humanities students have more career options available than those who complete a degree in engineering, pharmacy or other such streams.”
17 June 2017 (John Thomas, Indianapolis Business Journal) — The water we all swim in
“judging by the budget’s proposal to cut funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities, many in Washington apparently can’t see something that absolutely envelopes them… In short, the humanities are the water through which our civilization swims.”
12 June 2017 (Valerie Bolden-Barrett, HR Dive) — Wall Street looking to include humanities graduates among future hires
“Asset management firm BlackRock is looking to hire liberal arts graduates along with science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) majors… The firm plans to hire people with "soft skills," such as humanities and social science graduates… Automation has eliminated many of the "backoffice" roles in finance, meaning the roles that are left are human-centric and require good communication skills. For a company to separate itself from the pack, good customer service will be key."
2 June 2017 (Lydia Dishman, Fast Company) — How a Degree in Scandinavian Mythology Can Land You a Job at One of the Biggest Tech Companies
“Quantum computing… opens up a whole new economy. In order to get ready for that world, workers need critical thinking, analytical ability, reasoning, and writing… With the rise of AI,… a device has a societal responsibility and needs to behave in an ethical way. This opens up a world of possibilities for liberal arts graduates to be able to get jobs at tech companies without a computer science degree.
Spring 2017 (Humanities Magazine, 38:2) — Martha C. Nussbaum Talks About the Humanities, Mythmaking, and International Development: the 2017 Jefferson Lecturer in Conversation with NEH Chairman William D. Adams
“Nationalistic emotion can be very bad. It all depends how you construct the story of the nation, because, after all, the nation is not just an entity. It’s a story. It’s a story of what’s salient, what brought us together, what we are willing to live and die for.”
31 May 2017 (Kim Luke, Faculty of Arts & Science) -- Jackman Humanities Institute Celebrates its Tenth Anniversary and Welcomes a New Director
30 May 2017 (Christopher Schaberg, Inside Higher Ed) — Humanities at the Airport
“my course is about representations of airports and how we communicate and think about airports… Not only air travel but also contemporary life at large need more, not fewer, people taking humanities courses -- adult learning that is dedicated to reflection, understanding across differences and respectful discourse."
30 May 2017 (Kim Luke, Faculty of Arts & Science News) — Environmental humanities: the transformative promise of a new way of thinking
“The idea of de-centering human beings is central to the course and students explore a wide variety of creation and apocalypse myths from ancient sources — Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, and Anishnaabe traditions. We explore how North American thinkers have represented the human relationship to the world through fiction, essays, poetry, film, and new media,. and ask how the stories we tell about our relationship to the earth have shaped the ways we encounter and enjoy, destroy and restore, use and abuse the natural world.”
26 May 2017 (Peter Boisseau, Faculty of Arts & Science News) — Digital humanities project conveys story of colonial settlement and Indigenous resistance in Northwestern Ontario
25 May 2017 (Michael Collins, Arts & Science News) — African Studies students travel to Rwanda to learn horrors of genocide and path to justice
24 May 2017 (Elaine Smith, Arts & Science News) — Students experience history-in-the-making in Uganda
19 May 2017 (Kim Luke, Faculty of Arts & Science News) — Humanities grads look back on the sometimes surprising ways their degrees have proved useful
17 May 2017 (Sarah Cascone, artnet news) — Why Art School Could Save Your Job From the Robots
16 May 2017 (Elaine Smith, Arts & Science News) — Pages Count: A&S undergraduates produce their own academic journal in the humanities
15 May 2017 (Peter Boisseau, University of Toronto News) — Who’s Who of ancient Athens: U of T undergrads contribute to classics research
10 May 2017 (Chris Hampton, University of Toronto Mississauga News) — Curatorial studies program teaches art ‘from the ground up’.
“From the ground up is one of three artworks installed around the University of Toronto Mississauga campus as part of the show Ground/works, the first-ever student-curated exhibition to come from a curatorial studies class at UTM. It’s the culmination of a semester-long pilot course called “Curating Now: Turning Concepts into Curatorial Projects”, part of the new Curatorial Studies Certificate Program launching officially in the fall.”
8 May 2017 (Matt Asay, TechRepublic) — STEM is great, but here’s why an English degree might be a smarter bet
“As venture capitalist Scott Hartley has posited, "we need to double down on the liberal arts" because "they are what give us the context with which we apply the new tools and our very human comparative advantage, even in a world in which machines continue to get smarter and smarter." In other words, STEM jobs are nice but somewhat subject to robotic replacement, while liberal arts majors will always be needed to apply human reasoning to the machines.”
1 May 2017 (Sarah Cascone, artnet news) — Despite Trump’s Best Efforts, NEA Lives to See Another Day—and Event Gets a Funding Increase
“The worst fears of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) came to pass in March, when President Donald Trump announced his intentions to defund both the NEA and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in his proposed budget for the federal government. Like many of Trump’s planned initiatives for his first 100 days in office, however, this plan did not pan out. Under the budget agreement passed by Congress today, NEA and NEH funding will continue, for the time being—and even enjoy a modest increase compared to 2016 levels.”
April 2017 (Paul B. Sturtevant, Perspectives on History) — History is not a Useless Major: Fighting Myths with Data
“the American Community Survey (ACS), tells us much about the lives of history majors… [they] go on to become much better educated than the average person, filling roles in a wider range of careers than holders of many other degrees. The worst that can be said of this situation is that many of those careers are socially undervalued. But that does not mean that a degree in history is any less valuable.”
25 April 2017 (Jay Rosenzweig, HuffPost Canada Business) — In the Era of Artificial Intelligence The Liberal Arts Grad is King
“It is important to point out that for most, a liberal arts degree is, in the best sense of the word, foundational. Philosophy majors, by and large, do not become philosophers, any more than anthropology majors become anthropologists or history majors become historians. But ideally they all will have developed the foundational skills of critical thinking, problem-solving, researching and effectively communicating… In an increasingly automated world, it is the qualities that make us most human that will be valued highest in the workplace of the future. And the liberal arts -- also known as humanities -- may well offer the clearest path to success.”
24 April 2017 (Emma Pierson, Wired) — Hey, Computer Scientists! Stop Hating on the Humanities
“The fact that so many computer scientists are ignorant or disdainful of non-technical approaches is worrisome because in my work, I’m constantly confronting questions that can’t be answered with code… this effect—where algorithms entrench societal disparities—is one that occurs in domains from criminal justice to credit scoring… Ethics training is required”
21 April 2017 (Marguerite Ward, CNBC MakeIt) — Google Exec, Mark Cuban agree that these college majors are the most robot-resistant
“While liberal arts majors such as philosophy, sociology or English have been deemed some of the worst in terms of job prospects, Cuban says that they will be more valuable in the future… Jobs that require strong cognitive abilities and analytical thinking will be very difficult to replace with AI, according to the Google exec… "I would tell people to follow their passion, even if it's in something that doesn't have an obvious job prospect," Rosenberg says, "but teaches you how to think."
19 April 2017 (Gadi Amit, Fortune Magazine) — Silicon Valley’s Techies Need a Serious Lesson in the Humanities
“What is it that the tech world doesn’t ‘get’ about humans? How is it that so many smart, well-educated and highly-paid techies manage to make people mad, resentful and eventually fail to launch major tech products?… many tech leaders have engineering, math and science backgrounds and there’s a lack of representation across other subjects, especially from the humanities, arts and culture… The humanities should be codified in tech’s development practices just as regulatory tests and environmental impact research are already the norm across all major projects.”
18 April 2017 (Laura Van de Walle, Huffington Post) — My Humanities Degree is Anything But Useless
“I write so that the world and people around me can relate to one another… I read so that I can learn from history, and make smart decisions about the future… I study English because there are infinite ways to view the world… It is not impractical to enjoy what you study, it’s smart.”
10 April 2017 (Universities Canada/Universités Canada)— What are you going to do with an arts degree? [video]
“Liberal arts students from across Canada highlight the value of gaining an education in the arts and humanities and share their individual experiences.”
6 April 2017 (Eve L. Ewing, The New York Times) — Why Authoritarians Attack the Arts
“artists play a distinctive role in challenging authoritarianism. Art creates pathways for subversion, for political understanding and solidarity among coalition builders. Art teaches us that lives other than our own have value… We need the arts because they make us full human beings. But we also need the arts as a protective factor against authoritarianism.”
4 April 2017 (Olivia Clement, Playbill) — 12 Unions, Including AEA, Appeal to Congress to Save the NEA and Regional Theatre
“The Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE), a coalition of 12 national unions including Actors Equity Association, has penned a letter to members of Congress in defense of sustaining funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)… which also rallies against budget cuts to the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and privatization of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).”
4 April 2017 (Anna Orso, BillyPenn) — How Philly’s arts community is fighting the budget cuts Trump wants
“The Cultural Alliance has also launched a “#SaveTheArts” advocacy campaign, including an entire portion of their website dedicated to helping constituents call their legislators and get involved in social media campaigns aimed at rescuing federal funding for arts and humanities.”
4 April 2017 (Democracy Now!) NYC: Hundreds Rally to Protest Proposed Cuts to Arts & Humanities
“in New York City, hundreds of artists, librarians, broadcasters and museum workers gathered at City Hall Monday for a rally aimed at stopping federal cuts to the arts and humanities.”
3 April 2017 (David Byrne, personal website) — What Good are the Arts?
“there is undeniable and indisputable monetary and social value to the nation as a whole in the publicly funded arts. It is by far one of the best investments the government can make… In 2013, the production of arts and cultural goods added more than $704 billion to the U.S. economy. This amounts to 4.23% of GDP. The arts and cultural sector contribute more to the national economy than do the construction, agriculture, mining, utilities, and travel and tourism sectors.”
3 April 2017 (Cameron Kitchin, Deborah Elmont Scott and Rafaela Platow, Cincinnati.com) — The Arts and Humanities are patriotism in action
“We, as stewards of Cincinnati’s art museums, now call upon our federal, state and local elected leaders to double down on our defining strengths… Cincinnati’s universities, concert halls, museums, schools, and design centers are patriotism in action. They define who we are as a people and a nation.”
31 March 2017 (Jan Petter Myklebust, University World News) — An action plan to address the crisis facing humanities
“Education and Research Minister Torbjørn Røe Isaksen outlined an action plan to address critical issues confronting the humanities at Norwegian universities… the main messages were: Mobilization of more researchers in the humanities… [and] national cooperation within smaller languages, sharing the responsibilities between the universities.”
30 March 2017 (Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times) — President Trump vs Big Bird
“the humanities are far more powerful than most people believe. The world has been transformed over the last 250 years by what might be called a revolution of empathy driven by the humanities… I’ve seen people die for ideas… The humanities do not immunize a society from cruelty and overreaction… But on balance, the arts humanize us and promote empathy. We need that now more than ever."
28 March 2017 (Andrew Nestingen, Chair, Scandinavian Studies, University of Washington, for The Seattle Times) — Ronald Reagan understood ‘the humanities teach us who we are’— what’s happening today?
“the NEH costs only 62 cents per taxpayer each year… Far from being elitist, the humanities unite us. They instill in all of us empathy and compassion, along with critical thinking and communication skills.”
25 March 2017 (Betsy Newman, Letter to the Editor, The State) — Why Humans Need the Humanities
“The National Endowment for the Humanities funds scholars, documentary filmmakers, universities, libraries, museums and archeological sites… S.C. Humanities supports writers, speakers, libraries, filmmakers, festivals, conferences, workshops, traveling exhibits, student research fellows and an annual Humanities Festival. How much poorer we would be and how much less we would know of ourselves without their contributions… Attacks on institutions that enrich and unite us have little or nothing to do with money. They are ideological assaults.”
24 March 2017 (Charles McNulty, LA Times) — Embattled and Emboldened: Arts and culture in the age of Trump
“Trump’s recent budget proposal has put the arts and humanities in his crosshairs. His administration sees no public interest in supporting the way Americans make sense of the world through creative and intellectual expression… Yes, the arts create jobs. But even more important, they support the human infrastructure of our society. There’s more at stake in the fight to preserve the NEA and the NEH than the next ‘Hamilton.’"
24 March 2017 (Owen Williams, Folger Library; In the Medieval Middle) — Why the Humanities?
“As humanities thinkers, our goal should be to challenge received ways of thinking—including our own—through productive and generative discussion… Reaching out to those who don’t already agree with us is a radically extensible idea when we agree to let non-specialists set the topic and lead the approach. We need to move beyond valorizing only what we have mastered and meet the public where their interests are by formulating the questions and seeking the answers along with them.”
23 March (Peter Salovey, President, Yale University; World Economic Forum) — Why we need the humanities more than ever, by the President of Yale
“We develop our emotional intelligence—and learn skills of empathy, imagination, and understanding—through the humanities.”
23 March 2017 (William Fenton, PC Magazine) — 2 Years to Get a Humanities Essay Published? Not Anymore
“While Hybrid Pedagogy is registered with the Library of Congress as a peer-reviewed journal—a quick search on Google Scholar returns dozens of articles—many institutions are reluctant to accept the publications toward tenure review. Resistance often has as much to do with the journal's digital form as its partisanship.”
22 March 2017 (National Endowment for the Arts) — Frequently Asked Questions Fact Sheet [pdf]
“The NEA remains open. The President’s FY 2018 budget blueprint proposes the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts. The President’s budget request is a first step in a very long budget process.”
22 March 2017 (Chris D’Angelo, The Huffington Post) — Neil deGrasse Tyson Crunches the Numbers on Donald Trump’s Plan to Defund the Arts
“Tyson pointed out in a series of tweets that the agencies’ combined budgets are roughly equivalent to what Americans spend annually on lip balm, and would fund fewer than five hours of military spending.”
22 March 2017 (John Fea, Times Higher Education) — Trump’s attack on the humanities threatens US’ national identity
“Trump, it seems, wants the government to get out of the business of funding projects that might lead to compassion for those, such as refugees and immigrants, who are in need… Do we really want to trust the treasured traditions, stories and markers of our collective group identity to a capitalist market?”
21 March 2017 (Britt Julius, Rolling Stone Magazine) — How Arts Organizations are Bracing for Trump’s Possible NEA, NEH Cuts
“We underestimate how fundamental governmental grants are to the survival of the arts in this country… for many local organizations, governmental grants serve as the only reliable funding source for programs in the arts… These proposed cuts essentially draw a line in the sand, suggesting cultivation of the arts and humanities are only necessary for certain Americans in certain parts of the country… they are seen as neither valuable nor fundamental to the strength and vitality of this country by the Trump administration.”
21 March 2017 (Adam Epstein, Quartz Magazine) — Trump’s proposed cuts to the humanities strike at the heart of what actually makes America great
“No academic discipline has done more to promote democratic ideals or cultivate America’s cultural identity than the humanities. Without the NEH, America’s understanding of its own importance in the world would be decidedly less complete. To erase it is to literally erase centuries of history. Donald Trump has spent two years telling the American people he will make America great again. If you want to know what made America great in the first place, and continues to make America great as long as it still exists, check out an NEH exhibit.”
20 March 2017 (Pauline Yu, President, American Council of Learned Societies) — Act to Support the National Endowment for the Humanities
“The funds expended by these agencies are modest but catalytic: they leverage additional support through matching funds raised and institutional cost-sharing of the work supported. These wise investments should not be impulsively discarded.”
20 March 2017 (Joel Connelly, Seattle PI) — Colonial Dames decry Trump’s cuts to arts, humanities, historic preservation
“The 125-year-old National Society of The Colonial Dames of America quietly owns, operates and supports some 80 historic sites, museums and collections that celebrate origins of our venerable republic”
20 March 2017 (Matt Shipman, PhysOrg) — Critical thinking instruction in humanities reduces belief in pseudoscience
“At the end of the semester, students took the pseudoscience assessment again. The control group students did not change their beliefs - but students in both history courses had lower beliefs in pseudoscience.”
20 March 2017 (Raynard S. Kington, Inside Higher Education) — A scientist speaks for the Arts and Humanities
“If you want to know what a society values, look at how it spends its money -- it is hard to imagine a clearer statement of the devaluing of the power and importance of knowledge than the budget proposed last week by President Trump.”
20 March 2017 (Francine Berman and Cathy N. Davidson) — Saving Our Heritage
“The cultural legacy of a nation is its memory, its heart and its distinct identity… It takes time to create a collective history. It is far easier to lose one -- through fires, floods, terrorism or politics.”
18 March 2017 (Carl O’Brien, Irish Times) — Analysis: What’s the point of an arts degree?
“With arts graduates, it may take them longer to get there, but when they do, they reach senior positions within organisations… Starting salaries are not as good, but after five years arts graduates can and do earn good money.’ Donohue says employers recognise that arts courses develop critical thinking, analytical, logic and presentation skills and communication.”
18 March 2017 (Alastair Dunning, Available Online: Digitization & Research Data in the UK, Europe & Beyond) — The US has been a pioneer in the Digital Humanities
“The work the NEH did in this area was established new ground. Their Advanced Topics projects has brought together people on (amongst many other fields) 3D modelling of cultural heritage, digital sound, Native American studies and data curation. Elsewhere they have galvanised research on preserving computing software, textual mark-up, Shakespeare, World War One veterans, Egyptology. The list of topics they have enabled is long. The NEH not only established common ground for the digital humanities but has also been groundbreaking.
18 March 2017 (Alissa Wilkinson, Vox) — Ken Burns’1990 Civil War documentary makes a strong case for preserving public humanities funding
“In 2016, Burns was selected to deliver the annual Jefferson Lecture, which is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities… ‘the United States of America is an enduring humanistic experiment… The humanities provide us high ground and perspective to see with clear eyes these fads and trends and unnecessary conflicts for what they are.’ But it’s also the subject of the film, not just its funding sources, that makes it so timely. As Burns himself said in his lecture, the Republic is fragile and divided — and his film documents another time when that was strikingly, searingly true.”
17 March 2017 (Michael Cooper and Sopan Deb) — Republicans Start Lining up to Fight for the NEA and NEH
“But even with one-party control in Washington, the fates of the arts endowment and the National Endowment for the Humanities are far from sealed.
Several key Republican lawmakers are expressing support for the programs, which, since their near-death experiences during the culture wars of a generation ago, have taken pains to counter accusations of coastal elitism by making sure to distribute their grants widely across all 50 states…
Members of Congress will hear next week from hundreds of activists who were already planning to gather in Washington on Monday and Tuesday to lobby for the arts."
17 March 2017 (Holly Else, Times Higher Education) — US Budget: academics warn of ‘devastating’ impact of Trump’s cuts
“Mr Trump also proposes axeing funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts, which fund scholarly research and training, as well as community projects. Amy Ferrer, executive director for the American Philosophical Association, said that eliminating the NEH would “deal a heavy blow to humanities research and scholarship” in the US. Robin Kelsey, dean of arts and humanities at Harvard University, said that although the amount of funding available from the NEH and the NEA is modest compared with that for the sciences, losing it would “deal a blow that would be felt from coast to coast”. In the face of such cuts, research efforts would become “even more concentrated in places such as New York and Los Angeles”, he added.”
17 March 2017 (Christopher P. Long, Education, Politics, the Liberal Arts, The Long Road) — “…No Arts; No Letters; No Society”
“Thomas Hobbes grapples with the question of sovereignty and considers the human condition in a state of nature… In returning to Hobbes, we gain purchase on a future that only now begins to dawn as we in these United States consider abandoning completely our public support of the arts and letters upon which our very commonwealth depends… It requires us to think about what a total renunciation of the National Endowment of the Arts and the National Endowment of the Humanities says about who we are and what we aspire to be.”
17 March 2017 (Caitlin MacNeal, Talking Points Memo) — Advocates Raise the Alarm Over Ripple Effects of Eliminating NEH, NEA
“Advocates were particularly concerned that because the small grants issued by the NEA and NEH attract additional fundraising from private sources, the federal government would be nixing a cost-effective investment in the arts and humanities by eliminating the endowments. They warned that rural and poor communities would be hit hardest because those areas have fewer sources of private funding to fill the endowments' void.”
17 March 2017 (Jim Leach, The Daily Beast) — Why we Must Save the National Endowment for the Humanities
“one of the myths of our times is that the humanities are impractical, unrelated to jobs and a work environment. Actually, they are not only practical but central to long-term American competitiveness… The humanities are America’s stock and trade. They are a national asset that we shortchange at our peril.”
17 March 2017 (Sarah Emerson, Motherboard) — National Parks Posters Remind Us Why Government Funding is Beautiful
“Today, as we struggle to keep public arts programs alive, our country is still covered in WPA works that remind us of their potential for economic and cultural profit.”
17 March 2017 (Eva Bruné, Forward) — Why Trump’s Cuts Would be Deadly to Jewish and American Culture
“Jewish cultural organizations throughout the country would be severely, negatively impacted by the elimination of the NEH, IMLS, and NEA. These agencies fund every pocket of America… the list is endless… To abandon the arts would diminish us all."
17 March 2017 (Mark W. Robbins, Corpus Christi Caller Times) — Government Support for the Humanities: An American Tradition
“These programs are expressions of the broader legacy of an ideology that is as old as the nation itself. Many of our founding fathers envisioned the United States as having an educated citizenry that would bring out the best in our government and in our society… By contrast, public humanities support coming from private corporations is more prone to reflect private interpretive agendas and is less likely to be evaluated in an environment of open inquiry than its government counterpart.”
17 March 2017 (National Humanities Alliance) — Protect the Role of the Humanities in Public Life!
This page includes links for direct communication with the United States Congress regarding cuts to the National Endowment for the Humanities, International Education Programs, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
17 March 2017 (Lee Gardner, The Chronicle of Higher Education) — Why it Matters That Trump Wants to Kill the NEA and NEH
““This administration is saying we do not value the study and research in fields like history and literature,” says Rosemary G. Feal, executive director of the Modern Language Association. “We do not value the arts. We do not value educational opportunities for large swaths of Americans.””
17 March 2017 (Andrea K. Scott, The New Yorker) — Trump’s NEA Budget Cut would put America First, Art Last
“The communities that will be hardest hit by this disastrous decision are those in places like… the Hydaburg Cooperative Association, whose members belong to the Haida tribe in Alaska. The H.C.A. used its forty-thousand-dollar grant to pair master carvers with apprentices to create totem poles, as the Haida people have been doing for thousands of years.”
16 March 2017 (John Fea, History News Network) — Historian John Fea’s twitterstorm in defence of the NEH
“The argument goes something like this: ‘We don’t want our tax dollars going to fund a study of the Oxford comma in late 19th-century Victorian literature’… But criticizing the public funding of the humanities and the mission of the NEH based on its work with academic scholars fails to acknowledge the fact that most NEH money goes to programs that, whether we realize it or not, often have a direct or indirect influence on our lives."
16 March 2017 (Jojo Karlin, CUNY Academic Commons) — Visualizing the Local Impact of the NEH
“These exploratory graphs are not a conclusion, but this preliminary analysis has shown the impact of the NEH not only on our own institution, but also on middle America—states and people that Trump claims he is most concerned with.”
16 March 2017 (Sopan Deb, The New York Times) — Trump Proposes Eliminating the Arts and Humanities Endowments
“This is the beginning of a long road,” said Ms. Eyring, executive director of the group, which represents more than 500 nonprofit theaters around the country. “Now advocates and people in the arts community will communicate with their legislators and really try to make clear the value of this relatively modest but very important investment in our country through the arts.”
16 March 2017 (Theola Debose, National Endowment for the Humanities) — NEH Chairman William D. Adams Statement on the Proposed Elimination of NEH in FY18 Budget
“as an agency of the executive branch, we answer to the President and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Therefore, we must abide by this budget request as this initial stage of the federal budget process gets under way. It will be up to Congress over the next several months to determine funding levels for fiscal year 2018. We will work closely with OMB in the coming months as the budget process continues. The agency is continuing its normal operations at this time.”
16 March 2017 (Philip Kennicott & Peggy McGlone, Washington Post) — Trump Wants to Cut the NEA and NEH. This is the worst-case scenario for arts groups
“The budget plan, which calls for the elimination of four independent cultural agencies — the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting — also would radically reshape the nation’s cultural infrastructure.”
16 March 2017 (Staff, Forward Magazine) — 7 Vital Programs that would be Gutted by Trump’s Arts and Humanities Cuts
1) The Dead Sea Scrolls
2) Historic Movies
3) American Literature
4) Critical Research
5) Individual Artists and Writers
6) Vital Television Programs
7) National Arts Organizations
15 March 2017 (Erin Blakemore, SmartNews Smithsonian.com) — Five Things You Didn’t Realize Were Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities
“In 1963, a group of university presidents, professors, art experts, businesspeople and even the chairman of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission came together to form a national commission… they wrote that Americans—and U.S. democracy—needed the humanities as a way of gaining wisdom, vision and world leadership: ‘Upon the humanities depend the national ethic and morality, the national aesthetic and beauty or the lack of it, the national use of our environment and our material accomplishments.’”
14 March 2017 (Nick Romeo, NationalGeographic.com) — 6 Great Archaeology Discoveries Funded by the U.S. Government
“Since its founding in 1966, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded more than 1,400 grants to archaeological projects worldwide, including some of the most important archaeological discoveries made by American researchers over the past decade… Here are a few of the biggest discoveries in archaeology that have been brought to you in part by the U.S. Government:”
13 March 2017 (Jessica Wynne Lockhart, Toronto Star) — Liberal Arts degrees are here to stay
“despite their decline in popularity, general arts programs are arguably the ones best equipping graduates… with the skills most sought-after by today’s employers. According to a 2016 survey conducted by the Business Council of Canada, when it comes to evaluating entry-level hires, employers value soft skills — such as communication and relationship building — over technical knowledge.”
13 March 2017 (Mkhosana Bingweni & William Ntabazimbili, The Southern Times) — Africa: call for a Return to the Base
“The absence of philosophy, history, literature and the arts that help Africa to critically navigate the world and recover from the political and economic traumas of slavery and colonialism is an indictment of the universities in Africa… In a strong way, Ngugi was asking for a return to African humanism hence the title of his lecture series, “Secure the Base” and the message that Africans must remember that in colonialism and slavery, “what the sword did to the body” of the African “colonial languages did to the mind” of the Africans.”
12 March 2017 (Ann Arnold, ABC News Australia) — Recruiting Outside the Box: You can get a job at a big firm with any degree
“arts graduates are more valuable than ever to the corporate world… Faced with continually changing technical requirements and operating in a global economy, employers are realising they need diversity and flexibility.”
11 March 2017 (Paul Corrigan, Corrigan Literary Review) — Want a Job with that English Degree?
“with an English major, you’re literally more likely to become a CEO or legislator than to end up serving coffee or French fries… At the same time, most English majors actually work in fields you might not automatically associate with English… Don’t panic! But do start taking some practical steps to prepare yourself. You’re going to have to do a little work to get a job and build a meaningful career.”
9 March 2017 (Drew Gilpin Faust, President, Harvard University for New York Times) — Killing a Program that Brings History to Life
“Few Americans anywhere are untouched by an N.E.H.-sponsored project or program. In 1990, for example, Ric Burns and his brother Ken produced an 11-and-a-half-hour documentary on the Civil War that was broadcast over five consecutive nights and seen by more than 40 million viewers. For much of the nation, it was an early form of binge-watching. The humanities endowment made that film possible. Like its sibling the National Endowment for the Arts, the endowment brings the humanities into parts of the country that might otherwise never get to see a world-class museum exhibition or hear a lecture by a Pulitzer-Prize winner.”
7 March 2017 (Scott Stirrett, Globe & Mail) — Why liberal arts degrees are more valuable than you might think
“diversity unlocks innovation by creating an environment where ‘outside the box’ ideas are heard.” Companies where everyone thinks similarly are less likely to innovate and more likely to embrace tunnel vision and group think.”
6 March 2017 (Kim Duff, LinkedIn Pulse) — Five Things an Academic Does Well in Business: Lessons from a PhD Turned Corporate
“One could argue that completing a PhD in the Humanities is not the most direct path to a rewarding career in business. Certainly, many academics get trapped in academia… But there are some academics, myself included, who escaped that cat's cradle. The reasons some of us have escaped are varied, but the outcome is the same: many of us are no longer valued for our mastery of a given subject, but rather the skills we learned along the way to such mastery.”
3 March 2017 (Mariët Westermann, Executive Vice-President, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, www.mellon.org) — Why We Need the NEA and the NEH
“‘Democracy demands wisdom and vision in its citizens. It must therefore foster and support a form of education, and access to the arts and humanities, designed to make people of all backgrounds and wherever located masters of their technology and not its unthinking servants’… In a period of uncertainty and mounting challenges for humanity, as well as the great yet also dangerous potential for harnessing technology and big data, the founding mission of the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities remains as important as it was in 1965. We are proud to work with the National Endowments for the Humanities and the Arts, but we do not have the resources to replace them. More importantly, we cannot play their fundamental role of serving as impartial national assessors, catalysts, and guarantors of the vibrancy of the arts and humanities in America, and as equitable distributors of support for programs that nurture, inspire, and employ millions of people across every district of our republic.”
28 February 2017 (Graham Bowley) — How to Block Trump Arts Cuts? Groups Look for G.O.P. Help
“Today, supporters say, the agencies cost so little that killing them would be empty symbolism. What’s more, after the earlier conflicts, they emphasize that they have participation and support across the country, including Republican strongholds like Nebraska.”
24 February 2017 (Dave Powell, Market Watch) — Funding the arts and humanities is worth fighting for
“protecting their work long after they are gone is an act of preservation that keeps us tethered to the people who came before us. Ironically, conservatives bent on denying funding for the arts and humanities seem unable to realize that the argument for protecting these programs is a profoundly conservative one.”
22 February 2017 (Thomas P. Campbell, Director & Chief Executive, Metropolitan Museum of Art; New York Times) — Why Art Matters to America
“As the planet becomes at once smaller and more complex, the public needs a vital arts scene, one that will inspire us to understand who we are and how we got here — and one that will help us to see other countries, like China, not as enemies in a mercenary trade war but as partners in a complicated world.”
17 February 2017 (Abby Jackson, Business Insider) — CUBAN: Don’t go to school for finance — liberal arts is the future)
“I personally think that there is going to be a greater demand in 10 years for liberal arts majors than there were for programming majors and maybe even engineering, because when the data is all being spit out for you, you need a different perspective in order to have a different view of the data. And so having someone who is more of a freer thinker.”
13 February 2017 (Gina Barreca, English, University of Connecticut for The Seattle Times) — Society Needs Humanities Majors
“The importance of a good education, especially one heavy in the humanities, is about being able to survey, understand and either strengthen or dismantle the apparatus that underlies our civilization, culture and society… how we envision the world depends on how we construct our description of it. Language makes you see things in a certain way — and once you’ve seen it that way, you can’t unsee it. Words can be as irrevocable as an action. They can cut as deeply as a surgeon’s scalpel.”
7 February 2017 (Hanne Christensen, Western Herald) — Job Prospects are not as grim as they seem for humanities majors
“Initially it might seem that humanities majors might be disadvantaged, but when you look at the long term, five or seven years out, you see them pulling up equal to their peers in terms of earnings… the top skills that employers consistently seek out are ones cultivated and promoted particularly well in humanities fields.”
6 February 2017 (James Shulman, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Shared Experiences Blog) -- A Good Job for Humanists
"the work of making the data meaningful cannot happen without the sensitive eye of the business translator. These translators need to be like people who live on the borders of two countries and, by necessity, speak the language of both... people on the borders are sensitive to the ethics—the norms, mores, and values of the cultures involved. Humanists can do this, and it matters."
6 February 2017 (PEN America) — What do the NEA and NEH Do?
“The NEH is one of the largest supporters of U.S. research, education, public programming and historical preservation in the humanities through grants and fellowships for scholarly work as well as community, cultural, and educational institutions. Their work encompasses a variety of disciplines vital to historical and cultural knowledge, including languages, history, literature, archaeology, philosophy, the law, religion, journalism, and art history.” (petition link included)
6 February 2017 (Scott Wallsten, Morning Consult) — Arts and Humanities are Key Parts of Ensuring Innovation in America
“Arts and humanities are crucial to innovation by promoting creativity and original thinking — the seedcorn of discovery… STEM skills are necessary in a high-tech economy. But STEM alone is not enough. It must be paired with creativity, for creativity yields breakthroughs. And that means recognizing the importance of arts and humanities.”
2 February 2017 (Algernon D’Ammassa, KRWG TV/FM Public Media for Southern New Mexico & Far West Texas) — If you Cherish Freedom, Support the Humanities
“Among these endangered programs is the National Endowment for the Humanities, which funds and promotes museums, libraries, research and educational programs, and public participation, all at a cost of $0.46 per capita… Choose a "hot topic," be it abortion, refugees, energy, the environment, trade, foreign relations, or job creation in your community, and notice that having a real discussion about any of them involves the humanities. Without them, we cannot know what we value or what our principles are, and we grope in darkness.”
1 February 2017 (Robert Archambeau, The Walrus) — With Trump, a New Case for Why the Humanities Still Matter
“Perhaps what is really needed, in the Trump era of fake news and alternative facts, is a rethinking of the nature of truth and how it intersects with narrative, rhetoric, new forms of media, and new relationships between speakers and their publics.”
30 January 2017 (Graham Bowley, New York Times) — Trump Arts Plan: No More Money?
“If you last visited the Washington headquarters of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts in 2014 and returned to say hello today you might be surprised. Both agencies moved out of the Old Post Office building on Pennsylvania Avenue to make way for a new tenant: the Trump International Hotel. It opened last fall after a renovation that cost more than $200 million, which, of course, is more than the budget of either of those agencies.”
29 January 2017 (Algernon D’Ammassa, Las Cruces Sun-News) — If you Cherish Freedom, Support the Humanities
“The humanities allow us to know what we value, how to talk to other people, and even how we might govern ourselves instead of being ruled. Choose a "hot topic," be it abortion, refugees, energy, the environment, trade, foreign relations, or job creation in your community, and notice that having a real discussion about any of them involves the humanities.”
26 January 2017 (Julie Zeigler, Humanities Washington) — Eliminating the Humanities
“Since they were founded 50 years ago, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts have, through involvement at the most grassroots levels, touched nearly every American. They are not a luxury. They are not a partisan issue. The humanities enable us to learn about and tell the stories of our communities and our nation.”
26 January 2017 (Steven Mintz, Inside Higher Ed) — Reinventing the Humanities Ph.D.
“How can graduate schools best prepare doctoral students in the Humanities for an uncertain future?”
23 January 2017 (Scott Jaschik, Times Higher Education) — Are arts and humanities facing the Trump chop?
“A Republican Study Committee report offers this rationale (here in its entirety) for killing the NEA and NEH: ‘The federal government should not be in the business of funding the arts. Support for the arts can easily and more properly be found from non-governmental sources. Eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts would save taxpayers $148 million (£119 million) per year and eliminating the National Endowment for the Humanities would save an additional $148 million per year.’ Many political observers noted that, in the context of a federal budget of $3.899 trillion, the funds spent on the NEH and the NEA are a rounding error.”
16 January 2017 (Canadian Historical Association) — The Value of a History Degree
“What can you do with a history degree? As these profiles show, far more that you think, precisely because historical training teaches you how to think, analyze, communicate, write, organize and create.”
13 January 2017 (William Fenton, PC Magazine) — Digital Humanities: The Most Exciting Field You’ve Never Heard Of
“When I attended last weekend's annual Modern Language Association… I was heartened to see a lively mix of theoretical and practical panels. Perhaps most reassuringly, I found panelists honestly engaging with how to downsize digital humanities and integrate digital teaching practices and archival research without vast institutional resources or support.”
12 January 2017 (Michael Stoner, Inside Higher Education) — Challenge for Liberal Arts Communicators: Telling True Stories Well
“What we need as part of our stories about the liberal arts is not simply an outline of what jobs someone’s had, but examples of how their education prepared them to think differently, challenged them to learn quickly about something new they encountered, or helped them to understand another’s point of view because they listened deeply to what someone else was saying.”
10 January 2017 (Jim Logan, The UC-Santa Barbara Current) — A Pioneering Netizen
“Since 1994, when he created Voice of the Shuttle (VoS), a “Website for humanities research,” [Alan] Liu has been a leading proponent of incorporating the digital world into the humanities… Liu says today’s humanities scholar must understand how the internet works. In his classes he requires students to “get under the hood” of the internet by using some tool — some simple coding, for example — as a tactical exercise. “If you think about it,” he said, “it is completely insane that any humanist today would not be interested in the entire system of the internet, which is our version of the printing press, in the same way Gutenberg was interested in the system back then.”
9 January 2017 (Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Education) — Making the Case for Liberal Arts Colleges
“research does back the common belief that liberal arts graduates earn less than others, but only for the first few years after graduation… the liberal arts college experience [not only] prepares students for a life well lived, but [also] for a life of financial success.”
6 January 2017 (Neal Koblitz, Mathematics, U. Washington: Chronicle of Higher Education) — Why STEM Majors Need the Humanities
“Often overlooked is that for STEM majors, as much as for other future professionals, a broad background in the humanities is likely to give them a tremendous advantage in their career… success in achieving our objectives often depends on the ability to tell a story… a good piece of technical work is not a disembodied sequence of formulas and calculations, but rather is part of a narrative that has a long plot line and a large cast of characters… How can a student learn to tell a story well? First and foremost, by reading great literature… through the study of history… [and] through the study of foreign languages and literatures.”
1 January 2017 (Jeremy C. Young, History, Dixie State University; History News Network) — What’s Wrong with the Way We Have Been Defending the Humanities
“Understanding the politics of the humanities requires grappling with this curious fact: those Americans who attack the academic humanities are often among the most eager consumers of history books, literary classics, and philosophical treatises… [they] don’t view the humanities as ever-expanding sites of intellectual inquiry. Rather, they believe the humanities are already dead: essential bodies of knowledge, but essentially complete in their present form."
13 December 2016 (Jillian Berman, MarketWatch) — English majors now earning more money now that so few students want to be English majors
“Communication skills are still very highly valued, the question always is, the majors with the technical skills — business, engineering, computer science — do the communications skills come with them?… In some instances, they don’t… students (and their parents) are often drawn to the perceived employability of a business degree, making it consistently one of the most popular majors. The reality though, is that many business majors don’t end up particularly high earners."
5 December 2016 (Gauri Kohl, Hindustan Times) — Humanities graduates have an edge over MBAs in interpersonal skills
“Leaders with humanities and social sciences qualifications do better than their peers from any other discipline in communication… those who have studied liberal arts often think out of the box and have broader perspectives.”
2 December 2016 (Marie Myung-Ok Lee, Quartz) — History classes are our best hope for teaching Americans to question fake news and Donald Trump
“History classes matter because they help students learn to question the stories that are handed down to us… historical thinking and historical understanding is imperative to civic culture.”
29 November 2016 (Terry Dawes, xantech letter) — Canada’s Innovation Agenda should focus more on humanities, say researchers
“In the government’s haste to diversify Canada’s economy away from the resource sector towards the “resourcefulness” sector… it would be easy to forget the value of post-secondary education in creating well-rounded citizens with fully developed critical faculties.”
28 November 2016 (Catherine Baab-Muguira, Quartz) — Yes, you can earn millions with your English degree—but it’ll come at a price
“Life is all about disappointing yourself in manageable ways”
25 November 2016 (Paul Benneworth et al., University World News) — Crucial role of arts and humanities in societal change
“This argument rejects two simplistic claims. The first – often made by arts and humanities researchers – asserts their intrinsic value… that arts and humanities research is good for its own sake. The second – the economic value argument often looked upon favourably by policy-makers – argues that arts and humanities research is worth billions of euros to the creative and cultural industries. We argue that the real value of this research lies elsewhere – in its influence on societies’ capacities for transformation.”
19 November 2016 (Joe Humphreys, The Irish Times) — Teach philosophy to heal our ‘post-truth’ society, says President Higgins
“The teaching of philosophy is one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal to empower children into acting as free and responsible subjects in an ever more complex, interconnected and uncertain world… It is so important, then, that all of our citizens be encouraged to think critically rather than merely reproduce the information pushed towards them by proliferating media sources… that they learn to articulate their thoughts and provide justifications for them.”
14 November 2016 (Jim Haas, Education Week) — For the Sake of Humanity, Teach the Humanities
“In totalitarian societies, schools indoctrinate; in democracies, schools illuminate—or should. In the Western tradition, illumination is the purpose of the liberal arts and sciences as the common core of learning for those who would govern themselves. "Liberal" derives from the Latin root liberalis, "worthy of a free person," and the humanities and natural sciences give students the tools of liberty… The humanities, and the sciences in the service of humanity, can help students navigate an uncharted future by empowering them with the rich legacy of diverse cultures while signaling opportunities to build a satisfying life for themselves and to contribute to the common good."
9 November 2016 (Liam Otten, the Source) ‘Now is the time’ Jean Allman on rethinking the humanities doctorate
“Do we still need the 300-page manuscript? Are there ways to incorporate digital or collaborative work? What if you published a series of articles, or made a film or documentary?… But if you change the nature of the dissertation, you have to recognize that you’re also impacting people who stay in academia. Many institutions still consider the single-author monograph to be the proof of tenure worthiness. I think those rules will need to change, too.”
3 November 2016 (Rachel DiCarlo Currie, Independent Women’s Forum) — Yes, There is Life After Majoring in English
“The trouble is that, in our collective obsession with STEM, we’ve unfairly maligned the humanities and lost sight of what a college education is—or should be—all about. We’ve also painted a misleading picture of the job market… For starters, there is no “STEM shortage”—in fact, America churns out far more STEM graduates than it has available STEM jobs. In 2014, the Census Bureau reported that nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of people with a STEM bachelor’s degree were not working in a STEM occupation… For another thing, employers increasingly value the social skills that a liberal arts curriculum can help students develop—skills related to communication, critical thinking, and creativity.”
2 November 2016 (Nikki Wiart, MacLean’s) — Add tech to a humanities degree to bridge the employment gap
“Subjects like philosophy, history, literature and psychology teach students skills that are “transcendent.” Adding a technical background makes them really useful—and, according to one report, helps students make more money.”
31 October 2016 (Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed) — Where Ph.D.s Work and What They Earn
“An analysis released today by the Humanities Indicators Project shows how different job patterns are for those with humanities Ph.D.s (where academic work remains the norm) compared to other fields… Not surprisingly given some of the fields that employ nonhumanities Ph.D.s, people with humanities Ph.D.s earn less than Ph.D. recipients in other fields. The new analysis also shows substantial gender gaps in the pay of Ph.D.s across disciplines.”
27 October 2016 (Katherine Hazelrigg, Council of Graduate Schools) — CGS Announces Multi-University Project to Collect Data on Career Pathways of Humanities PhDs
“CGS will select 15 doctoral institutions to pilot surveys of humanities PhD students and alumni, gathering information about their professional aspirations, career pathways, and career preparation.”
25 October 2016 (Nikki Waller, The Wall Street Journal) — Hunting for Soft Skills, Companies Scoop Up English Majors
“Employers are newly hot on the trail of hires with liberal arts and humanities degrees. Class of 2015 graduates from those disciplines are employed at higher rates than their cohorts in the class of 2014, and starting salaries rose significantly… Degree holders in area studies—majors like Latin American Studies and Gender Studies—logged the largest gains in full-time employment and pay, with average starting salaries rising 26%... for the class of 2015, compared with the previous year’s graduates. Language studies posted the second-highest salary gains [and] degrees in English and in foreign languages also brought home bigger paychecks, with starting salaries rising 14.3% and 13.6%, respectively.”
21 October 2016 (Sam Siegelbaum, CounterPunch) — Once More, the Value of the Humanities
“The four assessments of the value of the humanities can be categorized as liberal, conservative, neoliberal, and neoconservative. They are in principle mutually exclusive though sometimes deployed in tandem or even expressed by a single individual or institution… Each of these arguments are flawed in their own particular ways but the problem common to all of them is that they reify the humanities, treating it as an abstract yet objective entity that bestows (or fails to bestow) certain things (skills, experiences, perspectives) upon its recipients. In focusing exclusively on the consumer-facing life of the humanities, they each overlook the reality of what the humanities actually is – a product of academic labor. Therefore, it is to the conditions of production of the humanities where we must seek the source of its value.”
18 October 2016 (Martha C. White, Time.com/Money) — Things are Finally Looking Up for Liberal Arts Majors
“students who graduated in 2015 with bachelors degrees in area studies (like anthropology or international relations), languages, English, history and philosophy all saw employment gains of between roughly 1% and 6%, compared to the class of 2014… Starting salaries for these humanities majors rose by an average of 13%, with increases ranging from 4% for history grads to an impressive 26% for area studies majors.”
4 October 2016 (Luiz Brasil, The Brock Press) — Study finds Humanities and Social Science graduates have more stable careers
“A recent study of 82,000 graduates has found that students in the humanities and the social sciences often have more stable careers than their peers. Earnings from more lucrative fields, such as computer science, were found to be more vulnerable to shifts in the economy… Students in the social sciences and humanities had a low degree of volatility; their incomes generally trended upward throughout the years regardless of the graduating year… The one thing we do know is that the needs of today are never the needs of tomorrow; you have to train people to learn.”
4 October 2016 (Andrew Moore, University Affairs) — We need to challenge the primacy of “productivity” as an educational metric
“by repeatedly making the case that liberal arts grads do “pretty well” after graduation, we implicitly concede that economic gain is the proper measure of educational value… The liberal arts produce public goods.”
2 October 2016 (John McCumber, Chronicle of Higher Education) — How Humanities Can Help Fix the World
“humanity doesn’t just exist; it has to be created, over and over again. If our violent history shows anything, it is that we are not born with an innate sympathy for, or understanding of, all humankind; and without those, "humanity" is just a word. So humanity has to be built, and the only way to build it is to show young people, already rooted in their own birth culture, that they can move beyond that culture without abandoning it — that what is foreign to that culture can remain foreign and still be worthy of thought and respect. Humanists thus build humanity, one work of art at a time.”
2 October 2016 (Constance Grady, Vox.com) — In conversation with Junot Díaz: on the force field of privilege and the power of art
“Díaz, who won a Pulitzer for The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and received a MacArthur Genius Grant in 2012, writes about everything from love and fidelity to America’s legacy of colonialism to nerd culture… Díaz recently spoke at the National Endowment for the Humanities’ 50th anniversary conference, Human/Ties. Before the conference, I spoke with him on the phone about his work, the role of the humanities today, the ongoing importance of science fiction, and the campus trigger warning debate.”
October 2016 (The Editors, Scientific American) — STEM Education is Vital, but not at the expense of the Humanities
“Promoting science and technology education to the exclusion of the humanities... is deeply misguided… A seeming link between innovation and the liberal arts now intrigues countries where broad-based education is less prevalent… a survey of 318 employers with 25 or more employees showing that nearly all of them thought that the ability to “think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems”—the precise objectives of any liberal arts education—was more important than a job candidate's specific major.”
28 September 2016 (Alison DeNisco, TechRepublic.com) — IdeaFestival 2016: Why science and tech need the humanities to create maximum value, explains MIT physicist
“The realm of science and technology requires input from the humanities in order to be applied successfully to our human society, according to MIT professor Alan Lightman at an IdeaFestival 2016 talk on Wednesday… Both scientists and artists seek out beauty and simplicity of design in their creations… Steve Jobs and Edwin Land espoused similar views, emphasizing the need for both technology and the liberal arts to create the best products.”
20 September 2016 (Scotty Hendricks, bigthink.com) — What Do You Do with a B.A. in the Humanities? A Lot, Actually
“Data from PayScale shows that art, theatre, language, history, and philosophy majors can all expect to make above the median income by mid career… According to a 2013 study by Georgetown, the unemployment rate for humanities majors is lower than the national average… students of philosophy tend to get higher marks on the GMAT than do many business-oriented students. Humanities students also have higher rates of medical school acceptance then many science majors.”
19 September 2016 (Alan Shepard, President, Concordia University; special to the Montreal Gazette) — The cynics are wrong about the value of an Arts degree
“The next-generation university recognizes that learners will be back for more. No mystery why: Technology is accelerating change; knowledge becomes outdated faster. What sticks are the general and particular skills: problem solving, cultural literacy, the ability to communicate, digesting research to see the big picture, decision making, leadership. In survey after survey, employers report seeking these skills. But the most important skill is learning how to learn — which also means recognizing your shortcomings, when to retool, and how.”
13 September 2016 (Peter McGuire, The Irish Times) — Arts degrees: are they worth doing any more?
“So what explains the pay gap?… With arts graduates, it may take them longer to get there, but when they do, they reach senior positions within organisations. Starting salaries are not as good, but after five years arts graduates can and do earn good money.”
11 September 2016 (George Anders, The Wall Street Journal) — Good News Liberal-Arts Majors: Your Peers Probably Won’t Outearn You Forever
“Once people reach their peak-earnings ages of 56 to 60, liberal-arts majors are earning… about 3% ahead of the earnings pace for people with degrees in vocational fields such as nursing and accounting… Even more striking, however, are earnings trends for ultrahigh achievers.”
2 September 2016 (Steven Pearlstein, Washington Post) — Meet the parents who won’t let their children study literature
“Parents are becoming more deeply engaged in nearly every aspect of their children’s lives, and it’s carrying over even to their choice of major… This focus on college as job training reflects not only a misreading of the data on jobs and pay, but also a fundamental misunderstanding of the way labor markets work, the way careers develop and the purpose of higher education… The good jobs of the future will go to those who can collaborate widely, think broadly and challenge conventional wisdom — precisely the capacities that a liberal arts education is meant to develop.”
27 August 2016 (Rich Clayton, Economic Times) — Wanted: Data Scientists with liberal arts training
“We need people who can cross domains, and bring longitudinal and latitudinal perspectives to data and business decision making. Great leaders marry communication with analysis, and the resulting story leads to great outcomes. The inverse is also true: if you ca not tell the story nothing happens, and this seems to often be the case with big data… I predict that future analytics leaders will have their education more based in liberal arts training than solely pure maths.”
26 August 2016 (Katie McNally, UVA Today) — Mapping the Humanities
“Neatline – designed for humanities projects – is meant to help scholars think about their research and data in spatial terms. Overlaying portions of text and research information with maps and timelines make it easier to spot patterns and identify new avenues for inquiry… “It’s not simply mapping something,” Booth said. “It’s coordinating the spatial with the textual and the argumentative. That’s what makes it Neatline and not just putting points on Google Earth.”
22 August 2016 (Sharon Florentine, CIO.com) — Why liberal arts degrees are valuable in tech
“Experts agree that technical skills can be taught much more easily than soft skills. If you have workers with great communication, negotiation and interpersonal skills, hold onto them… Those kinds of skills always have been emphasized in liberal arts education, and nowadays even technology-focused programs and institutions are integrating these tenets into their curriculum… the future of the U.S. digital economy is not in creating more programmers, but well-rounded individuals who can think strategically and perform more complex cognitive tasks.”
18 August 2016 (Melissa Dinsman, LA Review of Books) — The Digital in the Humanities: An Interview with Richard Grusin
“there are a number of interesting projects that are beginning to use DH to do critical multicultural work or are bringing underrepresented groups into the practice of digital humanities. And I think that the more those things happen, the better the field will be, and the closer we will come to what I would like to see, which is not the digital humanities as separate from the humanities, but the understanding of DH as the humanities under this particular historical formation of technology.”
15 August 2016 (Lisa V. Adams, Leslie Anderson, and Glenda Shoop, New Republic) — Training Good Doctors Starts with the Liberal Arts
“To succeed at their trade, doctors not only need to have a sophisticated knowledge of biology, they also must master the complex clinical micro- and macro-systems in which their patients live and they work.”
10 August 2016 (Melissa Dinsman, LA Review of Books) — The Digital in the Humanities: An Interview with Ted Underwood
“The underlying assumption there is that you would only do something new if the old thing had failed. It’s a weirdly agonistic model. Of course close reading is still relevant. And nothing could be more relevant than human history. Distant reading is not a replacement for anything outmoded. It’s just an opportunity to do something additional that might enrich our understanding of the past… The bizarre thing about the concern that distant reading is displacing close reading is that we’re talking about maybe one percent of the people in literary studies. So where is the fear coming from? There’s a slippery-slope theory behind it, I suppose, but I don’t think traditional critical practices are as fragile as that theory would imply.”
7 August 2016 (L.D. Burnett, Chronicle of Higher Education) — Holding on to What Makes Us Human: Defending the humanities in a skills-based university
“Policy makers and the public view the purpose of college as purely vocational, and see humanistic inquiry — the study of literature, the arts, history, anthropology, philosophy — as a waste of time and money… But what could be more elitist than turning these subjects into luxury goods? What could be more elitist than deciding that first-generation or working-class students going to community colleges and state colleges don’t need or deserve the same opportunities for intellectual growth and exploration available to privileged students at elite private universities?"
5 August 2016 (Nancy Shepherdson, Pacific Standard) — The Humanities Behind Bars
“It is a place that is ripe for desperation and despair. Yet, in a battered classroom on prison grounds, a serious college-level discussion is taking place… “Yes, they have long sentences, but getting a degree is so important because most of them are role models for children. It is also important for self-esteem and coping skills, which will make Stateville a safer place. We are not therapists, but for sure the humanities give the men a lot of tools for relating the experiences of others to their own lives. It’s a way to survive by thinking things through.”
28 July 2016 (Paul Keen, University Affairs) — Articulating the public value of the humanities
This article is a review of the conference, “Future of the PhD in the Humanities” held in May 2016 at Carleton University.
26 July 2016 (Nikki Wiart, Macleans Magazine) — Revenge of the Arts: Why a liberal arts education pays off
“The findings challenge the age-old rhetoric around a liberal arts education: That a degree or diploma in the field leads to a minimum-wage job… they probably learned critical thinking or problem solving. When people go into the labour market they are doing okay, so those skills must be worth something.”
25 July 2016 (Tania Lombrozo, NPR) — Embracing the Humanities: A Perspective from Physics
“As a country, we are at a pivotal point in figuring out the future of higher education, and it's a national conversation that we need to have. The old ideal of a liberal arts education might be lofty and outdated. But without denying the economic reality of the need to a make a living, and without detracting from the possibility of obtaining an education that will prepare them for the workforce, I think that we should try very hard to preserve among students and parents alike, a sense of the non-instrumental value of education, i.e., a sense of value that of education that isn't just about livelihood.”
23 July 2016 (Melissa Dinsman, LA Review of Books) — The Digital in the Humanities: An Interview with Jessica Marie Johnson
“Johnson’s interest in social media networks and archives as overlooked spaces of digital culture in discussions of the digital humanities is essentially tied to her research into and recovery of lost narratives of marginalized people. And if these narratives and digital work fail to count as “digital humanities” then we are, as she rightfully claims at the end, “having a faulty conversation.”
10 July 2016 (Melissa Dinsman, LA Review of Books) — The Digital in the Humanities: An Interview with Sharon M. Leon
“I don’t think the humanities need saving. I think there is a false rhetoric of crisis… I think we have made huge strides in digital work… Now there are millions and millions of open-access primary sources available for the world to use. That level of access has enabled a whole set of other developments in digital culture — the idea of remix culture: that people can take stuff, recombine it, ask their own questions, and do their own work… The other positive thing digital humanities has done is to embrace an open source ethos that has made tools and methods and platforms freely available for people to use. Those tools are now in the world and they are changing the ways that people are presenting their scholarship and the kinds of questions they are asking. More and more, everything is tilting toward open access and open source.”
8 July 2016 (David Mayall, Times Higher Education) — Why are the humanities always under fire? We need them more than ever
“With Brexit and the danger of slipping further into what has been termed a Little England mentality, we, more than at any other time, depend on a discipline that is based on principles of openness, an inclusiveness of all societies and cultures, and an outward-looking approach… The discipline and its subjects are more accurately portrayed as innovative, forward thinking and progressive and known for producing graduates who are highly skilled and ideally suited, not necessarily to a specific vocational route, but to a range of employments as diverse as the jobs’ market itself… Like any other discipline but perhaps even more so, the humanities faces challenges. Not only do we not mind that, we actively welcome it. Challenge is imprinted in our DNA. It is an exciting and important time for the humanities.”
30 June 2016 (Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic) — Learning to be Human
“The irony of the humanities’ declining prestige is that what they teach seems to be urgently needed in a polarized culture. “The humanities are such an important vehicle for widening the world … for teaching empathy for people outside yourself,” Faust said. “In this time of increasing tribalism, this seems like such a critical role.” History teaches students about the context of choices made in the past. Philosophy forces them to think about morality. Theater, literature, and film put students into the mindset of others. In difficult times, people inevitably turn to the humanities to try to understand adversity.”
30 June 2016 (Melissa Dinsman, LA Review of Books) — The Digital in the Humanities: An Interview with David Golumbia
“There is money available in the digital humanities in a way that there has never been money in English departments, ever. With very limited exceptions, the idea that one could get a six-figure grant for doing something in English is just unheard of… there has been a very interesting set of pro-DH and anti-DH pieces that have appeared in the popular press. In both cases DH is typically advertised as the replacement for the kind of political and theoretical work that is to me the heart of the humanities… What DH has accomplished is to have changed the way English looks at itself and making it appear to be a much less politicized — much less engaged with cultural politics — discipline than it used to be.”
17 June 2016 (Iain Hay, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management) — Defending letters: a pragmatic response to assaults on the humanities
“This paper is a mainly pragmatic response to utilitarian criticisms of the humanities. It first outlines political, public, and practical fronts on which the humanities are under assault, identifying critics and their conspirators. Then, as a part of its defence of the humanities, it expounds some of their central strengths… Finally, the paper suggests that humanists must not only continue valuable conceptual and empirical conceptual work but must add the very defence of the humanities to professional activity.” [access available to institutional subscribers]
17 June 2016 (Daniel Falcone, Counterpunch) — On the Slow Death of the Humanities
“The point is that even within the humanities, there is an extreme effort to quantify them and make them competitive and achievement oriented instead of collaborative, intellectual and enriching.”
9 June 2016 (Goldie Blumenstyk, Chronicle of Higher Education) — Liberal-Arts Majors Have Plenty of Job Prospects, If They Have Some Specific Skills, Too
“Employers really value soft skills that are the bedrock of a liberal-arts education… But many employers are also looking for applicants with additional, specific skills, such as knowledge of Java or other programming languages, or proficiency with graphic-design tools like InDesign or Adobe Suite... It’s not a matter of shutting down the classics department and turning it into a business degree.”
6 June 2016 (Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed) — The Disappearing Humanities Jobs
“New analysis shows dramatic decreases in open positions for professors. Health professions faculty jobs, once equal in number to those in humanities, now far outnumber them.”
5 June 2016 (Robert B. Townsend, History News Network) — How Are History PhD Programs Responding to the Job Crisis?
“To test how programs are serving the diverse employment markets, I sent out a brief survey to all 154 PhD-granting history departments—replicating three questions from a 2001 survey… The results show only slight changes in the intervening years… For those concerned about career diversity or “alt-ac” employment for history PhDs, the most telling response from the departments came to a question about perceived preparation of their graduates for a range of job sectors. Notably, a larger share of departments in 2016 felt their students were well prepared for every area of academic employment.”
1 June 2016 (David Kalt, The Wall Street Journal) — Why I was Wrong About Liberal-Arts Majors
“it’s evident that individuals with liberal arts degrees are by far the sharpest, best-performing software developers and technology leaders. Often these modern techies have degrees in philosophy, history, and music – even political science, which was my degree… A well-rounded liberal arts degree establishes a foundation of critical thinking. Critical thinkers can accomplish anything. Critical thinkers can master French, Ruby on Rails, Python or whatever future language comes their way. A critical thinker is a self-learning machine that is not constrained by memorizing commands or syntax.”
31 May 2016 (Natalie Samson, University Affairs) — Experts press for more flexible PhD programs, shorter completion times
“The key to making change happen, he said, will be by “not mandating the change from above, not being prescriptive about it, but to go back and say ‘Here are the pathways,’ and allow them to implement them in their own ways."
30 May 2016 (James Grossman, Los Angeles Times) — History isn’t a ‘useless’ major. It teaches critical thinking, something America needs plenty more of
“the most useful degrees are those that can open multiple doors, and those that prepare one to learn rather than do some specific thing… History students, in particular, sift through substantial amounts of information, organize it, and make sense of it. In the process they learn how to infer what drives and motivates human behavior from elections to social movements to board rooms.”
25 May 2016 (David Matthews, Times Higher Education) -- Which universities would lose out from Brexit?
“Newer universities tend to be among those most exposed, although bigger universities with larger research budgets also rely on EU sources for a sizeable minority of their funds… In addition to university-level reliance on the EU, the data show heavy overall subject-level dependence on EU funds. Education, law and legal studies, philosophy, ethics and religion, environmental, information and computing sciences are all more than a third dependent on EU funds.”
25 May 2016 (Irina Dumitrescu,University of Bonn; Zocalo: Connecting People and Ideas to Each Other) — “Frivolous” Humanities Helped Prisoners Survive in Communist Romania
“the stereotype of the fluffy, useless liberal arts was a lie. If the study of literature or history were really that pointless, a government trying to control the minds of its subjects would not go to the trouble of putting humanities students and professors in jail. For educated prisoners, the love of language, art, and scholarship was no mere hobby. It was a lifeline, sometimes the only thread tying them to their identities, their dignity, their shredded sense of humanity. Nothing could be more practical.”
24 May 2016 (Stephanie Storey, Huffington Post) — To Succeed in Business, Major in Art History
“art history students are developing a visual vocabulary and learning to tell compelling stories with a single image. An art history major can look critically at smash TV shows, viral videos, or marketing campaigns and deconstruct that content in visual terms. No matter what your numbers guys tell you, they cannot predict what will work and what won’t based on a focus group. But someone with a command of the visual language can to tell you whether an image will have an impact.”
21 May 2016 (J. Bradford Hipps, The New York Times) — To Write Better Code, Read Virginia Woolf
“I’ve worked in software for years and, time and again, I’ve seen someone apply the arts to solve a problem of systems. The reason for this is simple. As a practice, software development is far more creative than algorithmic.”
20 May 2016 (Lorraine Daston, The Point) — Can Liberal Education Save the Sciences?
“one need only murmur the words “climate change” to understand why it is more urgent than ever that free citizens be educated to grasp scientific issues and modes of reasoning… not only to promote the civic freedom that has always been the driving force behind a liberal education, but also to promote—and perhaps save—the freedom and values internal to science itself.”
17 May 2016 (Paul Yachnin, McGill University; University Affairs) — Where are our PhD grads? A report on the TRaCE Project
“By telling the stories of their educational and professional lives, PhD grads are raising the profile of the many pathways that lead to and through the PhD and into a wide range of fields, including but far from limited to higher education. New stories appear on the website regularly. A community that didn’t know it existed is slowly becoming visible to itself.”
Spring 2016 (Danielle Allen, Humanities Volume 37, number 2) — The Future of Democracy: How Humanities Education supports civic participation
“there is a statistically significant difference in the rates of political participation between those who have graduated with humanities majors and those who graduate with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) majors… [we] have a tantalizing suggestion that the work of the humanities is intrinsically related to the development of 'participatory readiness.'”
28 April 2016 (Danielle Allen, Pacific Standard) — The Humanities are More Economical: What teaching political philosophy and efficiency have to do with each other
“the humanities have been so durable, across millennia, precisely because they are a remarkably economical or efficient tool for human development fully understood… Humanists… have rightly held on to the principle… that it is better to do many things simultaneously than one thing insistently. For this reason, measurement becomes a significant challenge.”
26 April 2016 (Simona Chiose, Globe and Mail) — Engineering, science PhDs least likely to work as professors, study finds
“What can you do with a PhD in English? Lots, it turns out, but our students don’t know where to tap into those domains.”
25 April 2016 (Lydia Dishpan, Fast Company) — Which Degree Will Make You A Better Leader?
“Humanities graduates did better than MBAs in a number of areas essential to performing as a leader… Beyond interpersonal skills, those with humanities degrees had stronger entrepreneurial skills and were more results-oriented.”
24 April 2016 (Melissa Dinsman, LA Review of Books) — The Digital in the Humanities: An Interview with Laura Mandell
“The digital realm is an opportunity for us to figure out other ways for students to learn about humanistic discourse that involves visual and physical learning… verbal literacy is not enough, we need mathematical literacy as humanists. We need humanists working in, and having an impact on, tech and other industries. The digital humanities is getting graduate students into other fields of work outside of the academy where they can have substantial impact. For me, the digital humanities has a kind of energy about it which is exciting and revitalizing.”
24 April 2016 (Tracy Carlson, Boston Globe) — Humanities and business go hand in hand
“So let’s see. Sharper skills, broader perspective, better customer understanding, a greater ability to solve complex challenges, and an enhanced work experience — all by taking advantage of what the humanities have to offer.”
22 April 2016 (Paula M. Krebs, Inside Higher Education) — Adding Good Data to Good Stories
“We wanted to bring employers into the conversation to help them to understand what our students are learning and to help us to learn what they value in new employees… if we can show that humanities degrees have value in the workplace, we can assure working-class students, first-generation students and students of color that following a passion for history, philosophy, literature or music can lead to a good job, too.”
18 April 2016 (Dave Chase, Forbes) — Why An Anthropologist, Not A Technologist Was The Best Choice For HHS CTO Role
“choosing her was a surprisingly perfect decision for the needs of the healthcare system. Whether conscious or not, it’s apparent she draws on the archaeology courses she mentions in her writing… It’s simply a matter of taking the mindset of an anthropologist/archaeologist to uncover the solution… ’We say technology, but we mean innovation. We say interoperability and open data, but we mean culture change. And this is why the HHS CTO is an anthropologist.’”
13 April 2016 (David Matthews, Times Higher Education) — What should you study to stop robots stealing your job?
“English and history generally seem a better bet than the sciences… he advised students to ‘do things which machines as yet can’t do… machines are bad at interpersonal communication, empathy and problem-solving’ and to steer clear of areas that involve ‘rote learning and vast amounts of information’.”
4 April 2016 (Steven Lindner, NY Daily News) — Even in the age of STEM, employers still value liberal arts degrees
“Employers' demand for professionals with a liberal arts background might actually be greater than generally perceived, largely because their broader scope of knowledge and skills learned can differentiate themselves from the pool of candidates.”
27 March 2016 (Melissa Dinsman, LA Review of Books) — The Digital in the Humanities: An Interview with Alexander Galloway
“Well the old cliché from the first internet boom was that if you wanted a mediocre job at a dot-com, study computer science, but if you wanted to run the company, study semiotics. At the time an astounding number of people in the dot-com scene had studied under Donna Haraway, or written their thesis on Roland Barthes. And this is still true today… And the whole idea that the humanities are in decline is simply false. Contrary to popular wisdom, humanities departments routinely cross-subsidize other parts of the university.”
25 March 2016 (Christine Henseler, Chair, Dept of Modern Languages, Union College NY, for Huffington Post Business) — Are the Arts and Humanities Worth Your Investment? Making the Case for our Shared Health and Wealth
“When we harness partnerships between businesses, publics, and spaces, the Arts and Humanities can attract and immerse sold out audiences,… preserve our cultural heritage by immersing ourselves in play,… [and] determine how we wish to live and how we wish to die… Are we really the loss or the minus in our nation’s investment portfolios? Or is it time to take control of our communities’ health and wealth by proactively building on the exhilarating currents and currencies of our shared investment in the Arts and Humanities?”
24 March 2016 (John S. Rosenberg, Harvard Magazine) — Teaching Humanities at West Point
“literature can help… to foster the creative imagination, mental discipline, and improvisational skills essential for strategic leadership… The fundamental paradox of military preparation is that the more exhaustively and exclusively one prepares for a particular event, the more one unfits oneself for any other… how best to prepare soldiers for the inevitability of their own unpreparedness is a conundrum with which anyone responsible for their education must reckon.”
20 March 2016 (Ben Wildavsky, The Atlantic) — The Rise of Liberal Arts in Hong Kong
“[Liberal arts education] produces graduates “who are critical and creative thinkers, problem solvers, gifted communicators, team managers, and ethical leaders… the result is pragmatic: skills for which employers are willing to pay the highest salaries.”
15 March 2016 (Don Butler, Ottawa Citizen) — Selling the (under appreciated) value of a liberal arts education
“Finnie’s research… tracked the average annual earnings of 82,000 people who received undergraduate degrees from the University of Ottawa between 1998 and 2010… [It demonstrates that] the early outcomes for students from liberal arts are very strong, that they’re very durable and that they frankly increase substantially over time.”
9 March 2015 (Oliver Staley, Quartz) — If you majored in the humanities, you really should apply to Harvard Business School
“Scholars of the humanities are comfortable with problems that don’t have just one correct answer, Leopold said. “They’re used to managing ambiguity,” she said. “They have an ability to think broadly, an ability to take a stand, and yet know there are other approaches.” What Leopold wants are students with leadership potential, who are curious about the world, and can navigate complex, nuanced issues. ”These are essentially human problems,” she said. “You can learn how to do accounting. But it takes judgment to do what we do here.”
8 March 2016 (Universities Canada) — Liberal arts degrees are a good investment
“The real value of education becomes more apparent in the long run… employers want to hire young people with a strong complement of soft skills, such as adaptability, collaboration, teamwork, communication, and critical thinking abilities.”
2 March 2016 (Melissa Dinsman, LA Review of Books) — The Digital in the Humanities: An Interview with Franco Moretti
“this tension between the traditional and computational, between close and distant readings — and Moretti is always the best of close readers even when reading the distant — is what makes Moretti’s scholarship so impressive and important to the 21st-century humanities.”
1 March 2016 (Steven T. Corneliussen, Physics Today) — New York Times calls attention to the increasing privileging of STEM in academe
“just as it’s unjust and unwise to disdain humanities graduates as frivolously self-condemned to lives of menial labor—“You want fries with that?”—it seems unjust and unwise to disdain STEM as a mere “regime of information” that can “sport” facts and “precise information” but is “locked out” from enlightening and even ennobling students and practitioners in the moral and philosophical realms. In any case, the Times report shows that forces from within Snow’s contrast are driving changes in public policy.”
29 February 2016 (Janet Rowe, University of Toronto Faculty of Arts and Science Research News) — Professor Andrea Most Wins the 2016 Northrop Frye Award
“That’s where the humanities comes in,” she says. “What really shapes the way we live our lives is the stories we tell about who we are, about what it means to live a moral life, or a successful life. And what I’m asking my students to do in every class I teach is to take on the responsibility of telling new stories. Only by doing that do we even have a prayer of making real change.”
25 February 2016 (Amanda Bosworth, Cornell Chronicle) — NEH Chair calls for the restructuring of academic humanities
“Adams said that scholars need to re-engage in new ways in the public realm, writing work that is accessible to the public… A further direction for the humanities is to collaborate with STEM fields in teaching areas of common interest, such as medical ethics.”
24 February 2016 (Carolyn Thompson, Windsor Star) — Awards celebrate value of humanities
“‘The study of the humanities is about learning and studying things that affect and shape who we are as individuals. It shapes who we are and how we’re then going to contribute to a society,’ Wildeman said, adding numerous studies have shown humanities graduates find good jobs and have good lifetime earnings.”
20 February 2016 (CBC News, Prince Edward Island) — UPEI course teaches liberal arts students the value of a humanities education
“there is a lot of credible evidence supporting the value of a liberal arts degree and the transferable skills that students gain from this type of education.”
17 February 2016 (Paul Keen, University Affairs) — Reimagining the humanities PhD, take two
“The first issue is the practical question of the structure of doctoral programs… A related issue is the challenge of preparing our students for the wide range of non-academic career paths that the vast majority of them will pursue… Then there is the larger question of how we might do a more effective job of articulating the public value of the humanities to audiences within and outside of the university.”
16 February 2016 (Elizabeth McMillan, CBC News Nova Scotia) — Humanities declines show university enrolment should be cut, professor says
“the value of university education has long been that it creates the possibility of revolutionary thought and opens up students to new perspectives, something that can't always be measured in economic terms.”
25 January 2016 (Helene Meyers, The Chronicle of Higher Education) — Feeding English Majors in the 21st Century
“What if, rather than offer platitudes about the value of the liberal arts to students who are justifiably anxious about their economic future, we actually taught them to market themselves and their degrees with integrity? What if, alongside teaching our disciplines, we taught students to identify and articulate the usefulness of their educational choices?”
24 January 2016 (Simona Chiose, Globe & Mail) — More PhDs finding jobs as tenure-track professor, study says
“We hope to do some myth-busting and to show that humanities students find meaningful employment. Flexibility about career outcomes is key to the PhD remaining relevant.”
7 January 2016 (Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed) — ‘Manifesto for the Humanities’ author [Sidonie Smith] discusses her new book
“repetitive talk of crisis obscures an historical perspective on crisis and change in the academy and leads too easily to a sense of enervation, and a nostalgic view of “the old” 20th-century academy. Invocation of “the crisis” is not enough now. Intervention is all. Which brought me to the mantra that the times are good enough… To make change in good enough times, we need to move beyond critiques of crisis to reports from the field on the impact of changes, large and incremental.”
5 January 2016 (Canadian Press, CBC News) — George Elliott Clarke tapped as new parliamentary poet laureate
“The poet laureate's duties include composing poetry for use in Parliament on occasions of state, sponsoring poetry readings, advising the parliamentary librarian on the library's cultural collection and related duties at the request of the two Speakers or the librarian. Clarke, who lives in Toronto and teaches literature at the University of Toronto, recently ended his tenure as that city's poet laureate.”
31 December 2015 (Jennifer Wilson, Al Jazeera America) — How Black Lives Matter saved higher education
“What I saw in the 2015 student protesters is that they are using the tools we teach in college classrooms to engage critically with the world around them. Fueled by the intersection of history and politics at the core of the Black Lives Matter movement, they are making the university and college campuses politically relevant in a way that they have not been since the 1960s. At a time when the value of a college education, particularly a humanities education, is under attack, the Black Lives Matter campus protesters of 2015 have shown, through their own display of historically informed and intersectional politics, that universities matter.”
10 December 2015 (Simon Blackburn, Mariana Alessandri, and John Kaag, Times Higher Education) — Can philosophy survive in an academy driven by impact and employability?
“They find some tools, in elementary logic and critical thinking, and they are given intense practice in taking care to say what they mean. They will find that their first thoughts about the kinds of ideas I mentioned are not likely to be the best, so they find a whole world opening up as they learn how their apprentice stabs at showing that they know what they are talking about can nearly always be improved.”
9 December 2015 (Suzanne Bowness, University Affairs) — Taking the doctorate in new directions
“The often quoted statistic that only 20 percent of doctoral graduates attain tenure-track positions, and the growing awareness that a good number of PhDs leave academia altogether, is finally prompting discussions.”
7 December 2015 (Emily Smith, Campus News) — Oh, the humanities!… In defence of the English major
“employers prefer problem-solving candidates with strong critical thinking skills and information filters – that is, employees who question data and double-check the facts. Luckily, these are the exact skills English majors are taught… The sudden desire for English majors may be reflecting the change in contemporary work environments.
5 December 2015 (staff, The Economist) — The Ivory Tower is too white
“it is taking black South Africans longer than they had hoped to catch up with white levels of prosperity. The faculty at the country’s elite universities are still mostly white. Their curricula, traditions and culture are also largely European. Activists complain that this makes black students and academics feel unwelcome. They demand, among other things, fewer classes on Shakespeare and more books by African authors.”
11 November 2015 (Wilson Pedan, Association of American Colleges & Universities) — The Myth of the Unemployed Humanities Major
“For the last time: No, earning a degree in English, philosophy, art history, name-your-humanities-discipline will not condemn you to a lifetime of unemployment and poverty…the skills employers value most in the new graduates they hire are not technical, job-specific skills, but written and oral communication, problem solving, and critical thinking—exactly the sort of “soft skills” humanities majors tend to excel in.”
28 October 2015 (Jack Grove, Times Higher Education) -- Threat to humanities and social sciences in Japan 'endangers internationalisation efforts’
“‘Departments like mine – those doing modern languages, literature, history – are the ones who have the best contacts with overseas academics,’ he explained… Top international corporations are increasingly looking to recruit humanities and social science graduates with international experience, rather than scientists, Professor Pinnington added. ‘Seventy per cent of our graduates go into top companies,’ he said.”
21 October 2015 (Will Martin, Business Insider) — Science graduates actually don’t make more money than humanities students
“new research from pay-data website Emolument just completely crushed this assumption as it found that students who study arts based subjects actually end up earning more than their science studying peers.”
19 October 2015 (Gretchen Busl, English, Texas Womens University; The Guardian) — Humanities research is groundbreaking, life-changing… and ignored
“Humanities scholars explore ethical issues, and discover how the past informs the present and the future. Researchers delve into the discourses that construct gender, race, and class. We learn to decode the images that surround us; to understand and use the language necessary to navigate a complex and rapidly shifting world.”
15 October 2015 (Jon Marcus, The Atlantic) — The Unexpected Schools Championing the Liberal Arts: Military academies and chef schools say the humanities are essential to their graduates’ success
“People without a liberal-arts background really have no place to go with their skill sets… They lack an overall knowledge, and an ability to relate to people and make educated decisions, and not to jump to conclusions.”
5 October 2015 (Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed) — Humanities Majors’ Salaries
“the typical humanities major is, if not wealthy, much better off than having not obtained a bachelor’s degree at all.”
3 October 2015 (Jeff Kingston, The Japan Times) — Universities fending off attacks on the liberal arts
“‘The humanities and natural sciences are interdependent, not mutually exclusive,’ says Christopher Simons, a literature professor at Tokyo’s International Christian University. ‘Humanities education has a bright future in Japan, but only if authorities have the courage to throw away old stereotypes and binary thinking.’”
22 September 2015 (Daniel Porterfield, President of Franklin & Marshall College, The Washington Post) — College rankings crush liberal arts education. It’s time to revalue it.
“But in today’s world, enhancing earning power simply isn’t enough. There are at least four other ways that liberal arts education offers great value to students and society — arguably, more value than in the past… liberal arts education is a vast American resource for developing our talent and protecting our culture."
13 September 2015 (Alyssa W. Christensen, Dear English Major) — How Much Money do English Majors Make?
“Our English degrees equip us with a long list of skills that are transferable to a variety of careers… You can make money with an English degree. (!)”
7 September 2015 (Adam Mayers, The Toronto Star) — Why an Arts Degree still gets you a great job
“the skills learned while exploring philosophy, history and literature are exactly those needed for an interesting, challenging, and well-paying career… such things as identifying links and patterns, writing with analytical depth, working in groups, meeting deadlines, and learning how to communicate in writing and orally.”
7 September 2015 (Alan Wildeman, President & Vice-Chancellor, University of Windsor; The Globe and Mail) — We ignore the liberal arts at our peril
“Increasingly around the world, the liberal arts are not being seen as passé, but rather as essential… It is one of society’s best investments in helping to ensure that our self-reflections are broad, and that in this Age of Justification, we do not forget the importance of enlightenment and reason.”
7 September 2015 (John Cassidy, The New Yorker) — What is College Worth?
“only about a fifth of recent graduates with STEM degrees got jobs that made use of that training… Being more realistic about the role that college degrees play would help families and politicians make better choices. It could also help us appreciate the merits of a traditional broad-cased education… For liberal arts, the claim is… that it will enrich your life and provide lessons that extend beyond any individual job.”
3 September 2015 (Bouree Lam, The Atlantic) — The Earning Power of Philosophy Majors
“it’s the top humanities bachelor’s degree… We hear again and again that employers value creative problem solving and the ability to deal with ambiguity in their new hires, and I can’t think of another major that would better prepare you with those skills than the study of philosophy.”
Summer 2015 (Meric Gertler, President, University of Toronto; UofT Magazine) — The Enduring Relevance of the Humanities
“In the digital age, facts are instantly available to anyone with an Internet connection. But one must also be able to analyze information critically and marshal key points to form persuasive arguments. And this is just a starting point. The study of the humanities empowers us to question our assumptions, to communicate and to collaborate, to understand our history and culture and those of others, to evaluate what is and to imagine what could be.”
31 August 2015 (Havannah Tran, PayScale) — Why I Chose to Study English
“humanities majors are able to examine technology in a number of perspectives… are useful useful because of their ability to translate complex ideas and technical processes into simpler terms… I see my English degree as the complete opposite of what everyone else does: highly applicable and extremely lucrative.”
30 August 2015 (Valerie Strauss, The Washington Post) — Why the tech world highly values a liberal arts degree
“Skills. Breadth. Critical thinking. And the ability, like Abelard, to push forward, beyond received wisdom and practice and to create a new world. This is still the aim.”
29 August 2015 (Gerry Turcotte, President, St. Mary’s University, Calgary Herald) — Searching for Success? Get a liberal arts degree
“what employers look for are candidates with deep reasoning skills; finely honed problem-solving abilities; and a wide-ranging understanding of local and global issues that have bearing on everything from advertising campaigns, to investment, to the flow of oil. In other words, they are looking for students with training in the humanities and the liberal arts.”
25 August 2015 (Alice Ma, LinkedIn Official Blog) — You Don’t Need to Know How to Code to Make it in Silicon Valley
“we looked at LinkedIn data to understand the prevalence of these “social alchemists” with liberal arts degrees joining the tech workforce… As our data shows, liberal arts grads are joining the tech workforce more rapidly than technical grads… the philosophy behind liberal arts, which encourages diversity of skills and flexible critical thinking, transfers to the workplace in various forms.”
23 July 2015 (Jack Linshi, Time) — 10 CEOs Who Prove Your Liberal Arts Degree Isn’t Worthless
“getting out of Brooklyn and earning a college degree gave me the courage to keep on dreaming… I learned how to condense a whole lot of information down to the essence. That thought process has served me my whole life… I’m one of these people who believes we should be teaching people music, philosophy, history, art…”
16 July 2015 (Tom Livermore and Jamie Gallagher, The Guardian) — Should PhD students be classed as employees?
“Queen Mary University of London wants to change the status of its PhD students to that of employees. A current and a former PhD student argue for and against this change.”
9 July 2015 (Yun Qin, The Washington Post) — Want to keep ex-cons from returning to prison? Given them a liberal arts education.
“Education gives BPI students a new identity. Instead of being “prisoners,” they are “students,” people destined to improve society. Education also gives them a unique space inside prison walls, where respect, trust, knowledge and intelligence reign. As students in that environment, they can redefine their lives. It inspires them to be better people. As one BPI student said: “At this point of my life, how I performed in the program, I thought that was how I would measure myself as a human being.”
9 July 2015 (Simona Chiose, Globe & Mail) — International students to receive additional funding from Ontario
“starting this fall, up to a quarter of new graduate spots will be funded by the province. Province wide, this means that up to 130 spots can be reallocated for international graduate students.”
25 June 2015 (Holly Else, Times Higher Education) — Queen Mary University of London considers making PhD students employees
“A research-intensive university is having preliminary discussions about changing the status of its PhD students… individuals, who are “making a critical contribution” to research, could be thought of as fellow researchers in the early part of their careers.”
24 June 2015 (Liz Suman, PayScale Career News) — Liberal Arts Proponents Fight Back Against the Haters
“Whatever undergraduate major they may choose, students who pursue their major within the context of a broad liberal education substantially increase their likelihood of achieving long-term professional success," enthuses a report on the relationship between employment and liberal arts and sciences majors released by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) in 2014.”
22 June 2015 (Richard Shaw, Hawke’s Bay Today) — Value of arts degrees on the rise
“The Rate My Qualification (RMQ) initiative announced in this year's Budget, will allow employers and graduates to express their views on the relative merits of qualifications… the evidence is that the pathway to leadership often includes a Bachelor of Arts or a Master of Arts.”
19 June 2015 (Kathryn Lynch, The Washington Post) — Cutting the liberal arts undermines our cultural traditions
“The humanities offer a larger and more significant value to our culture that is not captured in their pure utility. The humanities include the very fields that permit us to maintain an informed historical perspective on our lives… Permit the utilitarian winds of today to blow unchecked, and tomorrow we will wake up with our cultural heritage in shreds.”
16 June 2015 (Gabriel Sanchez Zinny, Huffington Post) — Defending Liberal Education in a Technology Driven World
“In other words, cutting out the humanities in order to focus on the ‘practical’ fields of science is a false choice. Liberal studies goes far beyond just career development, to the deeper purpose of why we as a society value education at all.”
11 June 2015 (Tara García Mathewson, Education Dive) — Humanities deans cope with shifting value proposition
“The delusion that people have is that humanities simply cost money and it’s just not true.”
8 June 2015 (Anne Krook, Practical Workplace Advice) — Interview questions for graduate students interviewing for non-academic jobs
“If, having studied for or finished a PhD, you seek work outside of academics, you will probably have to answer some questions about your graduate work your non-academic job interview. I’ve provided a list of such questions that you should be able to answer, some of which are specific to your situation but many of which apply to all candidates.”
8 June 2015 (Anne Krook, Practical Workplace Advice) — References for non-academic jobs
“If you apply for non-academic jobs, particularly those outside your current field of research, you will need references that differ in some ways from academic ones. Those differences will affect whom you ask to provide references, how you help prepare your referees, and how they submit their references for you.”
4 June 2015 (Patrick Lindsay, US News) — Humanities Degrees Popular Among Leaders
"The world needs leaders who can handle complexity and give diverse perspectives on the challenges we all face," Rebecca Hughes, the British Council's Director of Education told Inside Higher Ed. "Globally, we need to go beyond a simple 'two cultures' binary outlook these days and as this research suggests, it is those with backgrounds that enable them to draw from multiple cultural reference points, and the academic training that encourages them to explore the human dimensions behind empirical data, who have tended to succeed and reach positions of leadership."
3 June 2015 (Sergei Khlebnikov, Forbes) — The Rise of Liberal Arts Colleges in Asia
“Just as the U.S. begins to move away from traditional liberal arts programs and turn to specialized online programs, Asia is discovering there is benefit in the creativity and well-rounded perspective that comes from a liberal arts education.”
2 June 2015 (Libby Nelson, Vox Education) — These charts show what jobs liberal arts majors actually get
“As student debt has increased, states, the federal government and outside groups are increasingly asking whether students are getting their money's worth. Usually, this debate breaks down into two camps: People who believe that salaries can at least partially measure the value of a college degree, and those who'd rather focus on the bigger, less tangible picture of the benefits of college. Groups that measure salaries often look at just the first few years of a students' career. Schmidt argues that approach doesn't capture the full picture for humanities majors. He wants the data on majors to show not just long-term earning potential, but the many options that a degree in history, English or philosophy can offer.”
27 May 2015 (Julie Rovner, NPR) — A Top Medical School Revamps Requirements to Lure English Majors
“Science is the foundation for an excellent medical education, but a well-rounded humanist is best suited to make the most of that education.”
26 May 2015 (Nicky Agate, Connected Academics, MLA Commons) — From Being to Doing: Mobilizing the Humanities (pdf file download of speech by career consultant Anne Krook)
“coursework and exams are over, and now I face the great white whale of the dissertation. But this material shows me that I have more skills and employment alternatives that I thought I did. My dissertation is not my only path; good to know.”
23 May 2015 (Sachin Maharaj, The Toronto Star) — The myth of the skills gap
“the median salary of science and technology grads is actually lower than those in non-STEM fields, and the unemployment rate in STEM and non-STEM fields is virtually identical.”
15 May 2015 (Doug Saunders, Globe and Mail) — Why university should be universal
“As enrolment expanded dramatically, so did the value of a degree… Not only is it clear now that the benefits of higher education continue, and even improve, as the enrolment numbers increase, but there are fairly conclusive signs that Canada still does not produce enough degree holders.”
12 May 2015 (Zeehan Aleem, Policy.Mic) — Here’s which humanities majors make the most money after college
“History is the most lucrative humanity. Among people who graduate with humanities and liberal arts degrees, history majors fare best, with median wages of $54,000 annually. Theology majors rank lowest, at just $43,000 a year. Philosophers take in $51,000 annually, as do area specialists like Latin American studies majors.”
11 May 2015 (A. Joan Saab, University of Rochester, The Conversation) — Without a humanistic inquiry, we will lose our creativity
“There has been a lot of talk lately about the “worth of the humanities” and of the creative arts in particular… In the America of the 1930s, artists and their labor were considered to be important cultural assets. This expanded definition of art and its worth presents an opportunity for us today to reconsider how we designate cultural value.”
11 May 2015 (Vashikha N. Desai, Columbia University, The Hindu) — The case for liberal arts education
“What is lost in the debates over meritocracy and access, or excellence and equity is the fact that in India, ever since the time of the country’s Independence, we have privileged technical knowledge and applied sciences over a well-rounded liberal arts education… There is an unspoken but well understood assumption that you pursue liberal arts or the humanities in college only if you could not get into the desired fields of science and commerce… There is a feeling that learning about philosophical systems or great literary classics, political theory or imaginative poetry is an intellectual luxury at best and waste of time at worst… we learn these things because they give us insight into what it means to be human, and they prepare us for leading a meaningful life, not just the next job. They teach us what it means to have a moral compass and how to think critically about life’s choices.”
7 May 2015 (Robert Matz, Slate; originally published in Inside Higher Ed) — Prose by Any Other Name
“Conservatives have suggested that the hybridity of the modern English major is responsible for declining interest in the major. That claim cannot be proved. Anecdotes and intuitions are insufficient to do so. Data on trends in the number of majors over time can only show correlation, not causation. And in terms of correlation, here are four more likely drivers of the decline in the percentage of students majoring in English: students are worried about finding jobs and are being told (wrongly, according to the actual statistics) that the English major is not a path to one; students now have many new majors to choose from, many no longer in the liberal arts; English has traditionally had more female than male majors, and women now pursue majors, such as in business or STEM fields, from which they used to be discouraged (a good change); political leaders have abandoned the liberal arts in favor of STEM and career-specific education and are advising students to do the same.”
4 May 2015 (Puja Pednekar, Hindustan Times, Mumbai) — Survey finds 75% students in India want humanities in college
“I am not surprised by the findings of the survey. Career opportunities in humanities have grown in the last few years, while commerce is becoming more and more towards accounting and chartered accountancy (CA), which is tough to crack,” said Jyoti Thakur, external co-ordinator, Jai Hind College, Churchgate. “Students choose streams based on the work options available… the smarter lot are drifting towards humanities, especially law, economics and media.”
4 May 2015 (Andrew Robertson, Training.com.au) -- Humanities Degrees still popular with employers
“The relevance of gaining a humanities degree is being increasingly questioned by students, politicians and even from within tertiary institutions themselves… Employers, on the other hand, insist that humanities graduates have a valuable role to play in business and industry."
30 April 2014 (Deborah K. Fitzgerald, The Boston Globe) — At MIT, the humanities are just as important as STEM
“Whatever our calling, whether we are scientists, engineers, poets, public servants, or parents, we all live in a complex, and ever-changing world, and all of us deserve what’s in this toolbox: critical thinking skills; knowledge of the past and other cultures; an ability to work with and interpret numbers and statistics; access to the insights of great writers and artists; a willingness to experiment, to open up to change; and the ability to navigate ambiguity.”
29 April 2015 (Amy Mount, The Guardian) — When politics meets poetry: what the humanities bring to policymaking
“why, in this era of evidence-based policy, we don’t make more use of insights and expertise from the humanities to bolster our case? How can humanities-based arguments gain more traction in the policy world, without losing their richness? Insights from the humanities are especially useful for conversations about values and purposes. Why bother to save the planet? What’s worth saving? But perhaps the greatest gifts the humanities offer are linked to process, more than content. I like to think there are three interacting practices across the humanities that are particularly valuable… criticism, creativity and curating.”
26 April 2015 (Glenn Whitehouse, news-press.com) — FGCU programs critical to success of students in workplace
“The stereotype that humanities and social science degrees are impractical comes from common but mistaken belief: the myth of “one major equals one job”. Since many college majors now bear the name of a specific job — nursing, golf course management — people assume that all degrees prepare a student for one and only one career. That’s not true — liberal arts graduates succeed in a wide variety of professions.”
26 April 2015 (Tully Barnett, The Conversation) — Are the humanities in crisis? in Australia, the sector is thriving
“Perhaps inconveniently for a global media project intent on portraying the humanities as a sector in crisis, the Australian report shows that the humanities, arts and social sciences are “currently in good health”.
20 April 2015 (Katherine Miles, The World Post) — We Need the Liberal Arts More Than Ever in Today’s Digital World, Fareed Zakaria Says
“Liberal arts subjects — such as English, philosophy, and political science — teach people how to think, write, and communicate; those skills remain useful through the many twists and turns of a career in today’s ever-changing digital economy… it is dangerous to overemphasize STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education as separate from or more important than the liberal arts.”
20 April 2015 (Sean Bettam, U of T News) — German history expert receives both Killam and Guggenheim fellowships
“Professor James Retallack’s deep dive into pre-World War One Germany illuminatinates a time when the promise of democratic reform and social justice was not yet derailed by fascism and communism… [He] will use the fellowships to research and write The Workers’ Emperor: August Bebel’s Struggle for Social Justice and Democratic Reform in Germany and the World, 1840-1913. A biography of the leader of the Social Democratic Party in pre-World War One Germany, the book will offer a life-and-times account of the country’s missed opportunities to implement liberalism and democracy and steer away from Nazism."
19 April 2015 (Mark Sample, SampleReality.com) — “Warning: Infected Inside, do not enter”: Zombies and the Liberal Arts
“The liberal arts—that is, the pursuit of knowledge and creative expression for the sake of sustenance and discovery—is a kind of zombie discipline in their eyes. It reanimates questions about the past, about history, about the powerful and the powerless, about prosperity and its costs, when all they want, they’ll tell you, is for people to get jobs… We, you and me, the people who study language, literature, history, culture, communication, we are the infected... Place our questions, practices, and experiments first—before labels, titles, fields, majors, departments—place them first, and we will demonstrate that the mere survival of the liberal arts is insufficient.”
16 April 2015 (Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times) — Starving for Wisdom
“So, to answer the skeptics, here are my three reasons the humanities enrich our souls, and sometimes our pocketbooks as well.”
13 April 2015 (Madeline Will, Chronicle of Higher Education) — For the Humanities, Some Good News is Mixed with the Bad
“Financial support for academic research in the humanities, which is typically dwarfed by spending to support other fields, has increased in recent years, and there are signs of rising interest in the humanities at the high-school and community-college levels.”
12 April 2015 (E. Bruce Pitman, Dean of Arts & Sciences, U Buffalo; The Buffalo News) — A liberal arts education has tremendous value
“The data suggest a different story. In survey after survey, employers say they look to hire workers who can analyze carefully, think creatively and communicate effectively – precisely the traits of a liberal arts graduate. A 2014 study by the Association of American Colleges and Universities examined the earnings and career paths of students majoring in science, engineering, arts and humanities, social science and professional and preprofessional programs such as education and business. The findings demonstrate that majoring in the liberal arts fields – and in particular in arts, humanities and social sciences – leads students to successful careers in a wide range of professions.”
10 April 2015 (Nate Hompson, Council of Graduate Schools) -- CGS Builds on Efforts to Understand Career Pathways
“Over the next nine months, with input from a range of stakeholders in the higher education community, CGS will develop a survey instrument and guidelines for data collection across a broad range of fields. These guidelines will be designed to help universities gather long-term career information from their PhD students and alumni with the goal of improving PhD programs… results of the project will be shared with the higher education community in December 2015.”
9 April 2015 (Thomas Docherty, Times Higher Education) — The Humanities, Higher Education, and Academic Freedom: Three Necessary Arguments by Michael Berube and Jennifer Ruth
“One of the greatest scandals besetting the higher education sector worldwide is that even as tuition fees rocket, the position of those teaching becomes less secure and less formally legitimised. This book explores the consequences of that scandal.”
8 April 2015 (Business Day, businessinsider.com.au) — Why companies are desperate to hire anthropologists
“The problem with standard corporate research… is that it's incredibly difficult to get around your own preconceptions. Even if your analytics are fresh, you'll read old assumptions into them. By applying the humanities, however, you can get around them… making an empathetic understanding of a character in a novel is very much like trying to understand a customer… It's anthropological research… that allows for understanding the customer's world.”
2 April 2015 (Valerie Strauss, The Washington Post) — What the ‘liberal’ in ‘liberal arts’ actually means
“the liberal in liberal arts and liberal education does not stand in contrast to conservative. Rather, it derives from the Latin liberalis, associated with the meaning of freedom. Liberal, not as opposed to conservative, but as free, in contrast to imprisoned, subjugated, or incarcerated. Free citizens studied the trivium and quadrivium as part of their liberal education, as these skills were considered the ones that would enable them to function successfully as free citizens in society.”
April 2015 (Humanities Indicators, The American Academy of Arts and Science) — The State of the Humanities: Higher Education 2015
“Drawing on information gathered for the Academy’s Humanities Indicators and its Departmental Survey (administered in 2008 and 2013), this report highlights a variety of measures of the health of the humanities in higher education—numbers of departments, students, and faculty, as well as data on digital engagement, research spending, and the publication of new academic books in the field—and supplies the most current data available in early 2015.”
29 March 2015 (Alex Preston, The Guardian) — The war against humanities at Britain’s universities
“what some of us are fighting for is the principle that not everything that is valuable can or should be monetised. That universities are one of the custodians of centuries of knowledge, curiosity, inspiration. That education is not a commodity, it’s a qualitative transformation. You can’t sell it. You can’t simply transfer it… humanities degrees… can do critical thinking, they can test premises, they can think outside the box, they can problem-solve, they can communicate, they don’t have linear, one-solution models with which to approach the world.”
29 March 2015 (Daniel Paul O’Donnell, personal blog) — Could we design comparative metrics that would favour the humanities?
This is a thought experiment about how we measure the quality and impact of research in the humanities and in the sciences, and what the results might be for humanists if we measured be Average Length of Contributions, Length of Citation Record, and Diachronic Citation Trend.
16 March 2015 (Kevin Reilly, Charles Steger, James Barker, J. Bernard Machen, The Conversation) — Why do we need the humanities?
“Employers send a consistent message about what they look for in a college-educated employee: the ability to write clearly, speak persuasively, analyze data effectively, work in diverse groups, and understand the competitive global knowledge environment. These characteristics are all nurtured and tested in a purposeful liberal arts education. Employers want these capacities in their hires. And, critically, American democracy needs them in its citizens. Because of the overwhelming jumble of information and misinformation that surrounds us, a citizen without the kind of rangy mind the liberal arts cultivate is likely to have her citizenship hijacked.”
12 March 2015 (EurekAlert!) — The Holberg Prize names Marina Warner as 2015 Laureate
“I have tried to explore long-lasting but often disregarded forms of expression such as popular stories and vernacular imagery in order to understand the interactions of culture and ethics. The prize gives me and my fellow researchers wonderful, surprising encouragement in this endeavor, which lies at the heart of arts and humanities scholarship."
10 March 2015 (Dave Waddell, The Windsor Star) — Universities claim liberal arts degrees still hold value in the modern economy
“The question is how do we recognize the value the humanities bring? They teach people to think, read, critique and find solutions to complicated problems… in the push toward practical training and the need to get a job right away, I think we’ve forgotten the value of that.”
3 March 2015 (Joshua Allen Holm, OpenSource.com) — Open Source in the digital age
“The digital humanities is where traditional humanities scholarship—or, the academic study of arts, language, history, and the like—meets the digital age. By using technology in new and innovative ways, digital humanities scholars can create research projects that explore topics in ways that were not possible (or were extremely laborious undertakings) before computers… In February this year, several interesting developments came to pass.”
2 March 2015 (Laura Skandera Trombley, President, Pitzer College, Huffington Post) — The Enduring Power of the Humanities
“the humanities are organically as much a part of who you are as the Mississippi is central to this continent. That's how I think of the humanities -- like the deep and nourishing waters of the Mississippi to the delta… My English major trained me to think critically and prepared me to develop the portfolio of skills that I practice as president: negotiating a $30 million dollar construction contract; stretching the institutional budget to create improved benefits and healthcare; convincing the college community to engage in tactical planning; becoming expert in governance and practiced in Robert's Rules of Order; and refinancing bonds for better interest rates.”
26 February 2015 (Marcia Cantarella, Huffington Post) — Don’t Ask ‘What Can I Do With This Major’?
“It is the wrong question. It assumes that the subject is what you will do. The question is what skills will I get from this major that I will use in my multifaceted career. Actually, most students don’t know that they will have multifaceted careers. They could have 8 different jobs before they are 30 and maybe 3 different careers before they retire.”
23 Feb 2015 (Ethan Epstein, The Weekly Standard) — The Uselessness of Selecting a ‘Useful’ College Major
“In fact, a lot of 'useful' majors are useless on today’s job market – and a lot of people who majored in something 'useless' are doing just fine… Indeed, recent humanities grads have a nearly identical unemployment rate to those who majored in uber-'useful' computer-related fields.”
20 February 2015 (Kevin Temple, University of Toronto Arts & Science News) — Philosopher Changes Course of Canadian History by Informing Recent Supreme Court Assisted-Death Decision
“I have always held the view that philosophers should try to make a difference in matters of public policy, that we have skills that we can bring to the table and that it’s a shame if we don’t do that on whatever issue happens to animate us.”
19 February 2015 (Heather Loney, Globe & Mail) -- Searching for a job? Make sure you have these skills on your resume
“Everyone you know with a liberal arts or humanities degree now might be nervous about where it’s going to get them by 2025, or beyond, but next time you hear someone griping, remind them that the opportunities that come with an education in soft skills are often self-made, and defined by their times rather than any absolute rules.”
18 February 2015 (Elaine Smith, University of Toronto News) — Innovative Teaching wins Northrop Frye Award
“I like to help students become better writers, because doing their own research makes them want to communicate it. The best research tells a really good story based on evidence.”
17 February 2015 (staff, The Trend: Blog of the MLA Office of Research) — Where are they now? Occupations of 1996-2011 PhD graduates in 2013
“the findings do tell us that, overwhelmingly, language and literature PhDs find professional employment, often beyond teaching as a tenured or tenure-track faculty member. The forms of professional success PhDs find are varied. Doctoral programs and their students need to be able to embrace success in the full variety of occupations where graduates in fact find it.”
15 February 2015 (Jocelyn Chesson, The Cavalier Daily) — The stigma surrounding liberal arts: Applying liberal arts degrees in the working world
“A liberal arts education does prepare you for the new emerging world of work as well as vocational education. Employers are demanding that students have critical analysis, communications and presentation skills [as well as] research skills… and these are the skills you get from a liberal arts education.”
14 February 2015 (Nian Hu, Harvard Political Review) — The Case in Defense of the Humanities
“The best hope of a job comes from training the mind and learning transferable skills, not learning specific sound bytes of information… one of the most attractive aspects of doing a liberal arts education, as opposed to a vocational education is the extension to pretty much any discipline or career path you choose. If you want to be a banker or lawyer or doctor or shop owner or politician or teacher or scholar, the humanities prepares you for all of that.”
13 February 2015 (Melanie Fullick, University Affairs) -- About Those Stats...
“There’s been comparatively little systematic investigation into the conditions of employment for contract faculty in Canada, even though their numbers have increased in the past 20 to 30 years.”
11 February 2015 (Frank Bruni, New York Times) — College’s Priceless Value: Higher Education, Liberal Arts, and Shakespeare
“It’s impossible to put a dollar value on a nimble, adaptable intellect, which isn’t the fruit of any specific course of study and may be the best tool for an economy and a job market that change unpredictably.”
5 February 2015 (Voxpop, Design Week) — Will an arts degree stop you from getting a good job?
“Using high-level terms such as ‘arts and ‘science’ render them meaningless: you can have a great career with either. What is even more idiotic is pitching them against one another when what we actually need are people with the confidence to blend both.”
5 February 2015 (Oliver Chau, South China Morning Post) — Arts boom at HKUST sees 1,600 students study music
“We want students to appreciate the thinking process and the power of imagination of composers – which can be applicable to all sectors, including business and engineering.”
2 February 2015 (Paul Fraumeni, University of Toronto News) — U of T’s Pamela Klassen wins major German grant
“We are really asking: how does the past inform the present at a time when living with religious diversity is an everyday reality for many at the same time that religious difference is blamed for serious conflicts that strike at the heart of our societies?”
30 January 2015 (Colleen Flaherty, Slate) — Major Exodus: How do post-recession English departments attract students in a field losing popularity?
“data on the number of English majors at the University of Maryland–College Park—down some 40 percent in a little more than three years—are pretty hard to dispute. What happened?”
30 January 2015 (Jane Wells, TopBestMost-CNBC/Yahoo Finance) — A philosophy degree earns more than an accounting degree
“Research from Payscale.com, Bankrate.com and TheRichest.com suggests that people with degrees in the humanities can go on to well-paying jobs.”
28 January 2015 (Stefano Faustini, Pronexia) — Are you a Humanities Grad for Hire?
“Those very basic things that academia teaches you which don’t translate too easily via paper onto a CV — critical thinking, hardcore discipline, and rigorous self-motivation — are the key to standing out, regardless of industry or position.”
22 January 2015 (Belinda Jack, Oxford, Timese Higher Education) -- The Rise of the Medical Humanities
"The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates claimed that 'wherever the art of Medicine is loved, there is also a love of Humanity', suggesting both that medicine is an 'art' and that there is a crucial association between medicine and the 'human' dimension of the humanities."
15 January 2015 (Associate Press, New York Times) -- Humanities Endowment Seeks to Fund Research on Public Issues
"The nation's challenges are not especially scientific in nature... but are about values, beliefs, history and culture -- the domain of the humanities"
11 January 2015 (Tunji Olaopa, allAfrica) -- Nigeria: Philosophy, Humanities, and the National Question in Nigeria
"The humanities will eventually die unless we begin to rethink the issue of relevance."
6 January 2015 (Daniel Munro, Conference Board of Canada) -- Where are Canada's PhDs Employed?
"Only 18.6 per cent of PhDs are employed as full-time university professors, and fewer still hold tenured or tenure-track positions. Where are the other 80 to 90 per cent of Canada’s PhDs employed?"
16 December 2014 (Phil King, Head of Drama, Bedales School, The Guardian) -- A Winter's Tale: Don't Overlook the Value of Drama in School
"Why theatre is unique in the way it prepares students for further study and work"
1 December 2014 (Simona Chiose, Globe & Mail) -- Yes Virginia, Studying Literature Can Win You A Rhodes Scholarship
“Literature deepens my understanding of the differences between how I experience the world and how others experience it.”
25 November 2014 (Simona Chiose, Globe & Mail) -- Humanities Students Less Vulnerable to Job-Market Booms and Busts, study says.
"The one thing we do know is that the needs of today are never the needs of tomorrow; you have to train people to learn.”
20 November 2014 (Jeffrey Dorfman, Forbes) -- Surprise: Humanities Degrees Provide Great Return on Investment
"The humanities have been selling themselves