Humanities majors deserve more

Staff Editorial

David Foster Wallace has said liberal arts contain “the real value of a real education, which has almost nothing to do with knowledge and everything to do with simple awareness.”

Humanities degrees have been dismissed as useless. Some say they do not supply students with “real world skills.” On the contrary, soft skills and thinking skills associated with humanities majors have seen the largest pay and employment growth in the past three decades, according to a 2017 study by Harvard professor David Deming.

An education of this nature provides students with a way of understanding and interacting with their world.

It makes sense for administration to market the school with an emphasis on scientific research and tech.

Students with computer science degrees might make more the first year out of college, but it doesn’t mean higher education should prioritize STEM funding.

A variety of well-supported majors bring brilliance and success to our student body and our world. It is a poor branding decision and a missed opportunity for students and administrators alike because it may deter prospective humanities majors from applying.

In the past five years alone, we saw a new academic STEM building go up on our campus while places in need of renovation like Williams, Lafayette, and even Waterman are left in the dust.

In both Williams and Lafayette, water leaks from the ceilings have caused class disruptions. In Waterman, language and English classes are forced into classrooms the size of a walk-in closet. While we pride ourselves on the opportunity for intimate class settings in a large university, this is a bit much.

While administration pushes for more exploratory courses and majors within STEM, we still lack a well-resourced film major.

We still lack a space on campus for the entire philosophy department. The professors’ offices are technically bedrooms in a house behind Waterman. The classroom is a poorly repurposed living room.

We are making some process: Billings is getting renovated and journalism major is in the work, but it’s not enough.

This disregard for humanities paths like the English major (one of the student body’s most popular, according to the UVM website) is wrong. UVM must increase its budget and strengthen its support for humanities majors.