Some 45 percent of the faculty members in Stanford’s main undergraduate division are clustered in the humanities — but only 15 percent of the students.
With Stanford’s reputation in technology, it is no wonder that computer science is the university’s most popular major, and that there are no longer any humanities programs among the top five, reports the New York Times.
“But with the recession having helped turn college, in the popular view, into largely a tool for job preparation, administrators are concerned.
“We have 11 humanities departments that are quite extraordinary, and we want to provide for that faculty,” said Richard Shaw, Stanford’s dean of admission and financial aid.
“The concern that the humanities are being eclipsed by science goes far beyond Stanford.
“At some public universities, where funding is eroding, humanities are being pared. In September, for example, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania announced that it was closing its sparsely populated degree programs in German, philosophy, and world languages and culture.
“At elite universities, such departments are safe but wary. Harvard had a 20 percent decline in humanities majors over the last decade, a recent report found, and most students who say they intend to major in humanities end up in other fields. So the university is looking to reshape its first-year humanities courses to sustain student interest.
“Princeton, in an effort to recruit more humanities students, offers a program for high school students with a strong demonstrated interest in humanities — an idea Stanford, too, adopted last year. Continue reading “More bad news for humanities”