Humanities in decline at colleges

 

Facing tough job prospects, many students are shying away from humanities and opting for fields with more possibilities.  Fuse
Facing tough job prospects, many students are shying away from humanities and opting for fields with more possibilities.
Fuse

The term “humanities” covers a broad spectrum of topics covered in college — from literature to music and philosophy — and that’s sort of the point. Humanities is an inclusive idea that refers to many fields of study and is revered for providing a broad spectrum of learning to students. A recent report from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences titled “The Heart of the Matter” says that students are opting out of pursuing the humanities in college. As college tuitions go up and students look at a tough job market, the study suggests they are taking classes with a firmer guarantee of jobs after graduation.

“The Heart of the Matter” attempts to further the conversation about the importance of humanities. The report “calls on parents, teachers, scholars, the media and the public at-large to join a cohesive and constructive national discussion of these issues.” We spoke with several academics in an attempt to do just that.

Steven G. Brint, vice provost for undergraduate education and professor of sociology at the University of California, Riverside, has been watching academic disciplines rise and fall for years. “The fields that students study in colleges and universities are far from stable over time.  Instead, new fields come into being and some fall into obscurity,” says Brint. Though some may put the humanities into the “obscurity” category, Brint sees hope. “I am confident that those who have a feeling for the humanities will find a way to continue to appreciate them. These fields are not on the verge of going extinct,” he says.

Dr. Jana Mohr Lone is the director at University of Washington’s Northwest Center for Philosophy for Children. The program she introduces philosophy to K-12 students. “Engaging in philosophical exploration encourages children to think abstractly and deeply about themselves and their experiences, and helps them develop confidence in their own ideas and questions, as well as strong critical and creative thinking skills,” she says.

Lone  also has  hope for the humanities. “I believe that if we can tap into the natural interest children have in exploring some of the central questions at the heart of the humanities, children will grow up with an enduring passion for ideas and a commitment to furthering their imaginative thinking about these questions.”

 

 


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

News

Mets mascot Mr. Met target of Bill Clinton…

Mets mascot Mr. Met has told how he ended up in the crosshairs of a Secret Service sniper rifle. The man behind the Mr. Met…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners…

2014 Boston Marathon: Elite American, International runners to watch

NBA

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams…

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams have the best shot at a championship. The Thunder, Clippers, Heat and Rockets lead the way.

NFL

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.