VALUING THE HUMANITIES
While we all know the value of humanistic study, our programs would benefit from a more robust and effective system for conveying this value. In an effort to move toward a more forceful public articulation of our work, the Miami University Humanities Center has brought together faculty from across the humanities to work collaboratively inorder to develop public relations materials and strategies on behalf of the humanities community. This initiative has helped to forge concrete, collaborative responses not simply to the endless “crisis in the humanities” but more urgently to the state and social pressures that threaten to diminish the institutional power of the humanities. Vibrant humanities programs are essential to Miami’s traditional strength in the liberal arts and they are crucial in preparing students to face the challenges of our age. The Humanities Center and humanities faculty are committed to demonstrating the social value of critical inquiry in history, philosophy, literature, and the study of culture.
Valuing the Humanities Task Force:
- Brian Domino, Philosophy
- Kimberly Hamlin, American Studies and History
- Andrew Hebard, English
- Elisabeth Hodges, French and Italian
- Elaine Miller, Philosophy
- Julie Minich, English and Latin American Studies
- Eva Rodriguez-Gonzáles, Spanish and Portuguese
- Pepper Stetler, Art History
- Cathy Wagner, English (Coordinator)
Goals of the Initiative:
- Create a range of evidence-based statements about the value of the liberal arts, and of the humanities in particular, for multiple audiences. These documents should address future careers and professional opportunities for humanities students and majors. They might also refer to traditional pedagogical commitments (e.g., commitment to rigorous analysis of textual detail, focus on writing, Socratic or discussion-based inquiry, etc.); to particular cognitive skills and habits cultivated by humanities study; to the value of such thinking in a democracy; and to the transferable value of such skills in various future professions. They should be widely accepted by the humanities community and suitable for use by CAS, the Humanities Center, Enrollment Management, CAS Advising, Orientation, and Career Services.
- Create similar statements specific to each major disciplinary cognate within the humanities: languages, history, philosophy, literary study, classics, religion, and interdisciplinary cultural studies. These statements should build on existing departmental and program efforts in coordination with chairs and faculty. The goal of this effort is to recruit new majors and maintain enrollments as a way of reinforcing Miami’s traditional strength in the liberal arts. Sustaining enrollments must become a humanities-wide strategic priority amid new state and institutional pressures threatening to decrease such enrollments.
- Write a statement about the role of the humanities in a Miami University education.
- Compile statistical and other evidence of the value of humanities study—for instance, relative LSAT and MCAT scores; admission rates to graduate and professional school; employer surveys; lists of successful graduates nationally and from MU; evidence-based distinctions in instructional style or student performance; expert testimony; and so on.
- Assist with Various digital and physical vehicles for disseminating the above information and statements. The center will provide editorial help and professional design services to create attractive and useful products such as brochures, posters, postcards, web pages, digital documents, and perhaps even white papers that can be used to convey the value of our work to diverse audiences, including parents, prospective students, alumni, community leaders, and colleagues across the institution. Members are expected to work through the design process to ensure that any materials created are factually accurate, attractive, high-quality products.
- Compile a small body of "most useful" essays, articles, and other writings about the value of the humanities and liberal arts. These texts will be made available on the Humanities Center website.