Taking the Pulse of the Humanities: The Federal Government Should Play a Greater Role in Tracking Humanities Indicators

By Ekman, Richard | University Business, July 2006 | Go to article overview

Taking the Pulse of the Humanities: The Federal Government Should Play a Greater Role in Tracking Humanities Indicators


Ekman, Richard, University Business


IT IS VERY GOOD NEWS THAT the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) has received funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for its Humanities Indicators project. Without baseline information about the state of the humanities and systematic tracking of changes over time, no informed planning is possible by liberal arts institutions and others concerned about the health of these fields. At the same time, the foundation's generous grant does not ensure the collection and publication of reliable data over time. Now is the time to address the long-term future of data collection about the humanities.

The humanities play an especially large role in the preparation of well-informed citizens in a democracy: Low voter-participation rates and unfamiliarity with pressing current issues are the results of failings in schools and colleges to promote foreign language learning, familiarity with major texts of the American political tradition, and knowledge of American and world history. Quantitative measures of the state of the humanities are especially useful for college and university leaders who may be tempted in curricular and budget planning to give these fields short shrift. The humanities may not always be popular among students, but they are the heart of a liberal arts education.

The federal government should take responsibility for tracking the Humanities Indicators, just as for many years the National Science Foundation has been required by Congress to report on the state of the sciences. Despite political shifts in the White House and Congress and despite ups and downs in federal appropriations, NSF has produced Science Indicators regularly. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does something similar for employment, and the Education Department does it for school enrollment. Even libertarians who are skeptical about any expansive federal role concede that collecting basic data is an appropriate government role. As a matter of sound public policy, this responsibility should not be permanently in private hands, despite Mellon's recent largesse.

A LOOK BACK

There is a history to the AAAS project (in which I played a small part) that may offer lessons for the future. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Taking the Pulse of the Humanities: The Federal Government Should Play a Greater Role in Tracking Humanities Indicators
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.