On June 8th, 2015 the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology informed national universities that they should cut or change their departments associated with the humanities and social sciences (HSS). The “nonbinding” notice went to the 86 national universities – universities that depend on the government for support for about 44% of their funding. It asked for plans, which many believe will then be taken into account by the Ministry in the allocation of future funds. A follow up survey of national university presidents found that at least 26 had plans to stop accepting students into HSS programs, though the important universities of Tokyo and Kyoto have refused. 4Humanities responds to this directive.
The President of the University of Windsor, Alan Wildeman, has contributed a piece to the Globe and Mail titled “We Ignore the Liberal Arts at Our Peril.” In it he argues for the humanities and social sciences.
The exhilaration of the Age of Enlightenment of the 17th and 18th centuries has been replaced by the nervousness of what appears to be an Age of Justification in the 21st century. Moderm society’s love of innovative gadgets and apps, pronouncements that youth can now be taught on the Internet (and possibly become high-profile entrepreneurs to boot), and social media outpourings that give falsehoods as much airplay as truths, have created a cocktail of rhetoric for critics who are sure that a liberal arts degree is a worthless investment.
Wildeman mentions research from the Education and Policy Research Initiative to the effect that humanities and social science students start with earnings of around CAD $40,000 after graduation and are earning close to double that 13 years later. You can read a summary by of the lead researchers, Ross Finnie, in an Ottawa Citizen piece, “How Your Degree Might Influence Your Earning Potential.” Too many people are basing their opinions on the liberal arts based on short-term employment. (Read more…)
In the London Review of Books there is depressing review essay by Stefan Collini titled Sold Out (Vol. 35, No. 20, Oct. 2013). This essay is a review of Everything for Sale? The Marketisation of UK Higher Education by Brown and Carasso and The Great University Gamble: Money, Markets and the Future of Higher Education […]
The Language Research Centre at the University of Calgary has posted a good example of an advocacy video on why people should learn a second language titled, Advantage for Life. The full video is 22 minutes long and you can order a DVD version of it. The video surveys the advantages to learning a second […]
On August 16th the Dean of Arts at the University of Alberta suspended admission to 20 small enrollment programs. (You can see a PDF of the memo here.) The programs suspended include programs in classics, a number of modern language programmes, printmaking, composition and theory, world music and technical theatre. Current students in these programmes […]
The Guardian online has a disturbing article about Language teaching crisis as 40% of university departments face closure. The Guardian is reporting that the universities in the UK offering degrees in modern language has dropped from 105 in 2000 to 62 today. Some of the reasons given for this drop include: The decision that languages […]
4Humanities is running an All Our Ideas campaign to see what you think are the best arguments for the humanities. The question we’ve posted is What is the value of the humanities?. Follow the link and vote on different answers (or propose your own.)