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“Both inside the humanities and outside, people feel that the intellectual firepower in the universities is in the sciences, that the important issues that people of all sorts care about, like inequality and climate change, are being addressed not in the English departments,” said Andrew Delbanco, a Columbia University professor who writes about higher education.
Princeton, in an effort to recruit more humanities students, offers a program for high school students with a strong demonstrated interest in humanities — an idea Stanford, too, adopted last year.
Our society now looks at college as trade school.
Many do not understand that the study of humanities offers skills that will help them sort out values, conflicting issues and fundamental philosophical questions, said Leon Botstein, the president of Bard College. We have failed to make the case that those skills are as essential to engineers and scientists and businessmen as to philosophy professors.
“Degree inflation” and declining job prospects certainly doesn’t help. A bachelor’s degree isn’t worth what it used to be; a Humanities BA even less. So kids are looking for value, and more and more that means STEM.