What’s of Value to You?

Did you see this article in the New York Times‘ “Common Sense” column? A lot of people now seem to be measuring the worth of their investment in higher education in terms of the possibility of future earnings — their “return on investment.” But what would happen if the return that concerned you was something else that’s empirically measurable and that’s likely pretty relevant to people too, something like, say, life expectancy? After all, earning potential is a speculative generalization […]

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“The Same…, But Different”

 [This post is reblogged from Culture on the Edge] In 2008 I took a small group of undergraduate students from our Department at the University of Alabama to Thessaloniki, Greece (that’s us above, with a famous philosopher, who has a shiny toe, likely from tourists rubbing it), where I had been for a conference a couple years before, and at which I first met my Culture on the Edge colleague, Vaia Touna. I’ve returned several times since that first trip, […]

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The Hunger Games

Did you see this article by UVA’s Mark Edmundson, a — you guessed it — Professor of English, published at The Chronicle of Higher Education? It’s a pretty good example of how some play the zero sum game called “getting majors”: we cannibalize other Departments by positioning ourselves as the best place to prep for, say, law school or, in Edmundson’s rather ambitious argument, to become a better human being. […]

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The Humanities Aren’t in Crisis

Did you read the recent piece online at The Atlantic? Building on an earlier online piece from The Chronicle of Higher Education (and using its graphs, like me) it makes the point that, when judged by the percentage of all degrees earned, the anomaly in the Humanities isn’t now but a few decades ago, when the influx of baby boomer freshmen found college majors. The drop that followed their departure is therefore better understood as a normalization. […]

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The Heart of the Matter

What do you think the Humanities are? As we strive to create a more civil public discourse, a more adaptable and creative workforce, and a more secure nation, the humanities and social sciences are the heart of the matter, the keeper of the republic—a source of national memory and civic vigor, cultural understanding and communication, individual fulfillment and the ideals we hold in common. Read the full American Academy of Arts & Sciences report, written by its Commission on the […]

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