The American Philosophical Association (APA) and 22 other academic organizations issued a statement today opposing the plans of administrators at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP) to cease offering degrees in the humanities and social sciences.
The letter notes that certain vulnerable populations rely on regional universities:
it is especially important for regional public institutions, which serve large populations of first-generation college students, students of color, and students from families of limited means, to provide access to in-depth education in the full range of humanities and social science programs.
It also criticizes the narrowly careerist bent of the UWSP administrators’ plan to gut the traditional core of a university but preserve and promote programs in fire science and aquaponics:
There is convincing evidence that college graduates can be expected to change careers—not just jobs, but careers—several times in their working lives. By focusing on preparation only for narrowly defined jobs, Stevens Point administrators risk leaving students with considerably poorer preparation for the full range of careers most Americans will experience in a working lifetime.
Further, the plans suggest a failure to appreciate the practical benefits of studying the humanities and social sciences:
It is deeply misguided to eliminate humanities majors based on an inaccurate presumption that they do not prepare students for high-demand careers. Technology and business leaders continually affirm the value of humanities degrees, and employment rates and job satisfaction among humanities majors rival those in STEM and business fields.
The letter is reprinted in full, below.