Posts from "April, 2015"

Fareed Zakaria on Thinking Beyond STEM

In a recent Washington Post Op-Ed, Fareed Zakaria challenges our country’s obsession with STEM fields at the expense of the humanities. Zakaria suggests that minimizing liberal arts education actually undermines our capacity to innovate. He brings his characteristic interest in international comparison to bear in arguing the America’s historical advantages in fostering a culture of ingenuity stem from its relative commitment to broad-based learning. He goes on to make that practical case that companies prefer “strong basics” over “narrow expertise” knowing that products and services distinguish themselves through narrative, not easily replicable technology. The same goes for employees.

See the link below for the full article.*

Zakaria on the Limitations of STEM

*Thanks to Braden Bolten for the reference.

NYT Op-Ed Sees Complementarity between Liberal Arts and Sciences

In a recent Op-Ed Nicholas Kristof makes the case for why the humanities offers an essential skill set in the modern economy. Kristof references the work of labor economist Lawrence Katz in claiming that the “economic return to pure technical skills has flattened, and the highest
return now goes to those who combine soft skills — excellence at
communicating and working with people — with technical skills.” This complementary relationship between technical competencies and the values associated with liberal arts is the formula for success in today’s marketplace.

Here’s the link to Kristof’s piece.*

Kristof on “Starving for Wisdom”

*Thanks to John Rosenberg for providing this source.

New Report Suggests ongoing Strength in Humanities

The Chronicle of Higher Education highlights findings in a recent Academy of Arts and Sciences report that challenge the images of the humanities in decline. While the number of humanities degrees awarded declined over the span of the recent financial crisis, the report notes signs of strength across an array of indicators. These include high school AP exam participation, community college course enrollment, and the number of  second majors in humanities fields (about 25% in 2013).

See links to the Chronicle article and the AAS report below.*

Chronicle review of Humanities

AAS Humanities Indicators

*Thanks to Melinda Semadeni for the link.