The Decline and Fall of the Humanities Major
The Greeks did not bother themselves with debating the worth of studying their myriad fields of inquiry. The enrichment of the mind, and clear societal benefits such enrichment fostered, was sufficient justification alone. Apparently, such is not the thinking during an economic crisis in modern times.
Dovetailing closely with Stanley Fish's red flag in the Times last month on perils facing the humanities, the Books section warns readers today that a liberal education may soon fall prey to the economic crisis. Professional opportunities are evaporating across the board. The MLA noted a 21 percent decline in English, literature and foreign language jobs in 2008, and prospects outside academia are equally grim.
Universities, especially ones without bottomless endowments, are increasingly asking humanities departments to justify their "practical and economic value." In short, institutions must prove to society a much stronger link between their schools of arts and sciences (arts especially) and the benefit they can deliver to the American people.
An Association of American Colleges and Universities conference at Clark University in March will address precisely this challenge. Still, detractors say making such links is a needless exercise. Former Harvard President Derek Bok noted, "there’s a lot more to a liberal education than improving the economy. I think that is one of the worst mistakes that policy makers often make..."
So big thinkers, how can we address the real challenges facing the humanities? How do we emphasize the "practical and economic value" of a foreign language degree in a nation that is largely monolingual—or where many of the most lucrative professional opportunities in foreign languages are leveraged by the military where many humanists do not quite fit in? And how do we convince universities, the final guardians of humanities at the institutional level to produce, and pay for, more humanists?
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
Rwanda is pioneering the regulation and use of drones - such as delivering blood
Even the optimists among us would have to admit 2018 was a challenging year. The fractured world that became the focus of our 2018 Annual Meeting a year ago came under further pressure from populist rhetoric and rising nationalist agendas. At the same time, the urgent need for coordinated global action in areas such as climate change, inequality and the impact of automation on jobs became more intense.
Research by neuroscientists at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory helps explain how the brain regulates arousal.
The big day has come: You are taking your road test to get your driver's license. As you start your mom's car with a stern-faced evaluator in the passenger seat, you know you'll need to be alert but not so excited that you make mistakes. Even if you are simultaneously sleep-deprived and full of nervous energy, you need your brain to moderate your level of arousal so that you do your best.
You can use these to get ahead, no matter your age.
Blackstone's Byron Wien, Vice Chairman of Private Wealth Solutions Group, gave a speech laying out the wisdom he learned during his 80 years. Here are 15 of Wien's best life lessons, which teach us about improving our productivity, sleep, burnout avoidance, and everything in between.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.