Humanities degrees are essential to society


Illustration by Emmalene Oysti

North Wind Staff

Recently, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point proposed cutting 13 of its programs including American studies, art (but not graphic design), English (other than English for teacher certification), French, geography, geoscience, German, history (social science for teacher certification would continue), music literature, philosophy, political science, sociology (social work major would continue) and Spanish. Their hope is that by shuffling resources to programs with high demand career paths, the university will see an increase in enrollment and graduation rates.

Demand in STEM programs may be higher than other programs currently, but program enrollment rates will always be in a constant state of flux. When it comes to budget cuts, the humanities are typically the first target, but humanities programs are not just degrees in the arts; they are the creators of well-rounded individuals with diverse skill sets.

Unemployment and humanities degrees seem to carry a symbiotic association in society presently. Yet in 2015, only 4.3 percent of humanities majors were unemployed compared to the 3.6 percent unemployment rate of all other bachelor’s degree holders, according to Humanities Indicators, A Project of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

While cutting a program if it isn’t profitable or isn’t being allocated the necessary resources to stay afloat makes sense to some degree, cutting the humanities all together is egregious. The arts create culture, entertainment and breeds empathy, all of which are invaluable to a healthy society.

Theatre majors put on the plays you attend, artists create the photos and paintings that hang upon your walls, Spanish and French majors build bridges between cultures, digital cinema majors create the movies and films you covet and English majors create the very newspaper in your hands.

During our journey of obtaining degrees in the arts, we not only hone our crafts, but come to acquire the soft skills employers are in search of. Through the humanities we learn to empathize with individuals from all walks of life, gain the critical thinking and personal skills every employer seeks and develop the ability to view the world through multiple lens of analysis. We are specialized in our crafts and are well-rounded, informed individuals in many other areas.

We may not be able to build you a rocketship, but all STEAM majors share the same goal: leave a positive impact on the world.