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Humanities Research Supplements STEM Applications Yet Is Largely Unreported and Majorly Underfunded

Humanities Research Supplements STEM Applications Yet Is Largely Unreported and Majorly Underfunded

Humanities is in the middle of an image crisis, so says Gretchen Busl of The Guardian.

Though humanities is still being championed as necessary coursework for skills that employers desire- such as critical thinking, teamwork and communication abilities- Busl argues that this school of thought ignores the "impact of humanities research on the wider world."

"The public should know about Priscilla Wald, an English professor at Duke University, whose explanation of the 'outbreak narrative' of contagion is changing the way scientists think about the spread of infectious diseases. They should know about environmental humanities professor Joni Adamson, who is applying the study of indigenous cultures to make desert cities into more sustainable ecosystems," Busl says.

While many experts and institutions try to "save" the humanities as it suffers from a lack of federal, state and private funding, they tend to ignore the importance of humanities in aiding anything but a skill set for unrelated jobs.

Partly to blame, Busl says, is college and the university itself. She argues that humanities scholars are given little opportunity to explain to a broader community why his or her research will have an impact on a wider community.

"The inward-focused nature of scholarship has left the public with no choice but to respond to our work with indifference and even disdain, because we have made little effort to demonstrate what purpose our work may have beyond the lecture hall or academic journal."

Busl would agree that more unexpected institutions expanding humanities course offerings and requiring more liberal arts education is a good thing, as The Hechinger Report reported last week, but that the coursework should be taken a step further to create more opportunity in the job market.

"Humanities scholars need to take what feels – right now – like a risk, and engage in more public scholarship. After all, we are the best qualified to talk about our own work. And we need our chairs, our deans and our provosts to afford us the support and incentives to do so."

Read Busl's full post here.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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