Humanities, Plain & Simple

Directed by Christine Henseler, Humanities, Plain & Simple is a special 4Humanities project. It is a comprehensive and targeted campaign that calls out to individuals and groups inside and outside of academia to write statements in “plain language” as to why the humanities matter. How has humanities-based thinking directly or indirectly altered or innovated strategies, ideas, research, leadership, learning? The statements will be published on the 4Humanities site and/or in mainstream print publications or digital media sites. The pieces may be of a serious or sarcastic nature; they may be of a few short paragraphs or of several pages; they may address the effects of a particular experience or talk about the Humanities as a whole. The only request is for writers to communicate in the language of everyday life, to address a general audience, and to refer to real-world situations.

We highly welcome the work of individuals from inside and outside of academia, and from inside and outside of the humanities. We are also interested in putting together teams from a variety of backgrounds to write and edit longer essays targeted to specific audiences. If you are interested in this initiative, or would like to submit advocacy statements, please send them to Christine Henseler (henselec@union.edu). The material will be evaluated by 4Humanities for possible publication and dissemination. All accepted pieces will be posted on the 4Humanities website.

Henseler, Christine: Are the Arts and Humanities Worth Your Investment? Making the Case for Our Shared Health and Wealth

A few weeks ago, I opened The Atlantic to read an article about Al Gore’s venture called The Generation Investment Management firm. What I liked about this company’s mission was the extent to which it promoted a long term and socially responsible investment approach that could also lead to increased profits in dollars and cents. Instead of disconnecting “doing the right thing” from “making money,” they believed that a company’s portfolio could include both health and wealth.

Henseler, Christine: The Millennial Perspective: What College Students Say About the Value of the Arts and Humanities

The high school and college students of today are the workforce of tomorrow. They have a personal interest in the shape of the future, and they are directly affected by national conversations about educational value, access, and cost.

These students are bombarded with messages concerning the usefulness of their college degrees. The practicality of different fields of study. Their employability and salary prospects. In essence, the major question running the show is: What is your worth when you consider the worth of your college degrees?

Although they are directly affected by these messages, college-age students have been largely absent from national conversations about the value of the arts and humanities in higher education, in the professional world and in society at large. It is for this reason that in the winter and spring of 2015, 13 out of 45 applicants were selected for a student fellowship generously granted to the New York Six Liberal Arts Consortium by the Andrew Mellon Foundation.