Historian: “The challenges this country faces are a direct result of abandoning the humanities”

humanities text

Over at the Washington Post, Queens College, CUNY historian Katherine Pickering Antonova argues that the United States “has forgotten the value of the humanities at the moment it needs them most.”

Here is a taste:

Neil deGrasse Tyson recently tweeted, “In school, rarely do we learn how data become facts, how facts become knowledge, and how knowledge becomes wisdom.” A librarian replied, “Hi Neil, That’s literally what we teach. Thanks for the shoutout! Sincerely, The Humanities.”

When a champion of critical thinking like Tyson is unclear on the very purpose of the humanities, it’s fair to say higher education is facing a public relations crisis, a reality also highlighted by the recent Pew Research Center poll showing that a majority of Republicans believe higher education has a “negative effect” on the country.

This is a serious crisis. Universities face untenable budgets and a dire faculty job market at the same time the public is questioning the value of a college education in light of rising tuition and student loan burdens. But the transformation in public attitudes toward universities is not based on a concrete loss of value: Higher education continues to correlate with improved employability and incomes. U.S. universities continue — for the time being — to maintain a global competitive edge.

Read the entire piece here.

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