Humanities and 'soft' sciences matter, too

  • Article by: James Cuno , Los Angeles Times
  • Updated: June 25, 2013 - 12:01 PM

The push for students to pursue hard-science disciplines has led some schools to cut back on humanities and the arts. That’s the wrong approach.

  • 24
  • Comments

  • Results per page:
cstoney48Jun. 25, 1312:11 PM

You mean after decades which spawned legions of English and Sociology majors (and more recently bogus finance MBAs), students are discovering that STEM majors provide lucrative paths to real employment. In the globalized, technological world, we require them--lots of them more than ever. The Humanities and the soft sciences will always attract their acolytes--but we have for too long relied upon imported students to fill our hard science teaching and work force. Its about time.

18
14
walterwhiteJun. 25, 13 1:08 PM

How did Michelangelo paint that ceiling without a degree in art? These are worthwhile degrees but we have too many of them. I believe grants, scholarships and loans should go to more useful degrees.

14
15
vegasgalJun. 25, 13 1:15 PM

When I graduated in the 70's with a degree in History & Political Science from one of regions better private liberal arts schools, my advisor told me that he "didn't know to tell me to get a job". But that he could "tell me how to fill out a food stamp application". Things haven't changed much. I went back to night school and picked up a trade - accounting and have been working and paying my bills ever since. Yes, I am a better accountant because I can read and write well but that isn't what pays my bills. I say go to school and get a degree in something that will pay your bills and then devote yourself to reading great literature from the public library. It's free.

17
15
FrankLJun. 25, 13 1:59 PM

Why do we need to study foreign languages when one can already get a translation from a computer? Soon our cellphones will have a translator built in, eliminating the stuttering, tortuous, conversations between people from different countries. All brought to you by your STEM students.

13
20
mmcfetriJun. 25, 13 2:02 PM

I once had a T-shirt that read "Liberal Arts Major Will Think For Food." And, in fact, I did. I majored in Humanities. My skills--- critical thinking, analysis, problem solving, relationship building, verbal and written communication --were invaluable. I supported our family of four while my husband was the homemaker. After 38 years in the business world, I was able to retire at 59. No mortgage, no debt.

15
2
lostinstpaulJun. 25, 13 2:10 PM

Soft sciences are needed, and important as CLASSES within a degree. To form a degree program around these things is silly. You want to study near eastern studies? Pay for it your self. We surely dont need many more people "skilled" in near eastern studies now do we? Not on taxpayer's dime we sure dont

9
15
docgeddyJun. 25, 13 2:11 PM

Clearly the hhumanities are needed more than ever. So far, no comment has revealed any evidence the the author bothered to read the articly before responding.

13
13
FrankLJun. 25, 13 3:08 PM

Can someone tell me why we should even study a foreign language given technology is making this obsolete? Unless you are in a job where you are using those language skills weekly, you will quickly lose your fluency. I work with many international folks, but rarely from the same country for more than a few months at a time, thus any language skill is quickly lost.

5
9
regionguyJun. 25, 13 3:27 PM

Though all my degrees are in STEM disciplines, I join the author in not wanting funding for art, music, the social sciences, etc to be whacked, at least not at the K-12 level. I was fortunate enough to have parents who insisted that my four siblings and I take four years of all the core subjects in HS: math, science, English, foreign language, social studies. I never felt talented enough in the non-STEM areas to pursue a full-time career in them, but always felt that they helped make life worthwhile and interesting. My experience over the last several decades of work in multiple fields around the world, though, has been that the notion that a degree in the arts and humanities disciplines somehow conveys a superior ability to communicate and think is a crock. Many of the most intellectually lazy and narrow-minded people I've known have had a liberal-arts background.

8
8
ungabungazzJun. 25, 13 4:02 PM

James Cuno is chief executive and president of the J. Paul Getty Trust in Los Angeles. The Humanities and Social Sciences Commission study -- Now do ya get it?

8
8

Comment on this story   |  

ADVERTISEMENT

  • about opinion

  • The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.

  • Submit a letter or commentary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT