A Financial Win for the Humanities, For Once
|March 7, 2013||Posted by Josh Boldt under Arts & Humanities, Education, Graduate School, Writing|
Today, I’m bringing you the uplifting academic story of the week sponsored by the humanities.
But first, if you’ve spent any time on Order of Education, you know good news about the humanities is rare. Political obsession with STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) have pretty much squeezed the humanities into a tiny corner of the campus. Sure, we teach every single student who comes through the university (in freshman composition), but somehow our mission isn’t as important as those majors with skills that translate more obviously and measurably into the working world.
The key word here is obviously. All those skills that employers want–critical thinking, communication, collaboration–are exactly what we teach in the liberal arts and humanities. It’s just harder to prove with a test and thus, not as obvious. Which means we only get a small sliver of the financial love.
And Now For the Good News . . .
Here’s the silver lining. During a time when the humanities are in crisis and graduate enrollment is on the decline, an incredibly gracious supporter of writing and literature has just donated $50 million to the graduate writing program at the University of Michigan. So at least some people still love us. Even if the donor, Helen Zell, is in fact one of us.
Zell earned an English degree from the University of Michigan in 1964 and she wants to give back, arguing that the “new donation [is] an investment in some of the world’s promising young poets and novelists, to ensure the books they have inside them get written.”
Ahhhhh . . . a breath of fresh air for lovers of the humanities. It’s good to know that some people still care about us (especially when they have money and they’re generous). If only everyone would begin to realize the power of the arts and recognize how important it is that we continue to invest in them.