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This and That

Nate Silver weighs in on the humanities in higher education and in his customary way runs the numbers — a good many numbers. His conclusion is also interesting:

I hesitate to generalize too much from my own college experience, at the University of Chicago, but it is a school that emphasizes a broad and general course of study among all its undergraduates. My strategy was to choose a major – economics – that I expected to offer strong career prospects, but then to take as few courses in that field as required, diversifying my curriculum instead.

It won’t be the right approach for every student or every university. But perhaps there can be a balance between recognizing two concepts: on the one hand, that college has become more of a necessity for more careers and a wider array of Americans; on the other hand, Americans are now more likely than before to change professions throughout their working lives. Perhaps we should at once encourage or require college students to take coursework in English – and tell them to be wary about majoring in it.

Things will be quiet around here for the rest of the week as I conclude my twenty-nine years in Illinois and move south. Way south. When I’m able to resume there will be more posts on the past, present, and future of the humanities, plus a concluding thought or two on "defending the commune." There may even be more city meditations.

In the meantime, if anybody asks you can just tell them I’m GTT.

about the author

Alan Jacobs is a Distinguished Professor of the Humanities in the Honors Program at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and the author most recently of The Book of Common Prayer: A Biography.

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