Monday, January 07, 2008

Priorities, Priorities

Stanley Fish on the role of the humanities, both in itself, and in the context of a recent report from the New York State Commission on Higher education.  Especially interesting to read the spirited defenses of the humanities in the context of Yale offering to spend more of its endowment "to increase financial aid, expand scientific research, and other initiatives."  

It's clear that it's hard to valuate (or monetize) the outcome of a liberal arts education -- but we do have to think what type of education makes a good scientist, not just one who refines other people's work, but one who makes lasting original contributions.  Of course I have no numbers either, but I'd bet it's one that doesn't simply emphasize taking lots of math and science classes.  Are there any studies of different educational systems (e.g. comparing the US with Europe, China, Japan, etc.) which could address this?

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