More Than Numbers and Tests


“The Millennial Perspective: What College Students Say About the Value of the Arts and Humanities

“’As a senior on the job market, MaryGrace became highly aware of the worth of her not just one, but two degrees in the humanities. And to her surprise, and contrary to popular belief, she readily learned that the professional community was “not only impressed with my background, they seemed acutely aware of the line of reasoning that led me to pursue it in the first place.’ MaryGrace soon realized that critics of the arts and humanities were missing the point. What she wanted to say to them (and what many employers readily understood) was that, ‘I didn’t study philosophy and classics because I want to graduate and live in the woods by myself and ponder life. I don’t even want to get my Ph.D. and I don’t want to teach. I majored in these disciplines because they are a tool for learning and thinking about anything I could ever possibly want to do!’”

“Building a Bridge Between Engineering and the Humanities

“Acquiring the habit of overcoming habitual perception is one process that brings engineering and the arts together. It is how great writers impart human experience in new ways, and it is how engineers innovate. Technology does not proceed along a preordained single path, as one might suppose from a textbook or problem-solving approach. Like literature, engineering sometimes works not by satisfying recognized needs but by creating the needs it satisfies. And that is also like literature: Tolstoy did not satisfy someone’s need for a novel called Anna Karenina.”

“Why Teaching Poetry Is So Important”

“Students who don’t like writing essays may like poetry, with its dearth of fixed rules and its kinship with rap. For these students, poetry can become a gateway to other forms of writing. It can help teach skills that come in handy with other kinds of writing—like precise, economical diction, for example. When Carl Sandburg writes, “The fog comes/on little cat feet,” in just six words, he endows a natural phenomenon with character, a pace, and a spirit. All forms of writing benefits from the powerful and concise phrases found in poems.”

“Defending the Humanities: Ken Burns, in the Jefferson Lecture, champions fields that are under attack -- and speaks of the value of narratives.”

“In a larger sense, the humanities help us all understand almost everything better – and they liberate us from the myopia our media culture and politics impose upon us.”

“Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming”

“I was in China in 2007, at the first party-approved science fiction and fantasy convention in Chinese history. And at one point I took a top official aside and asked him Why? SF had been disapproved of for a long time. What had changed? It’s simple, he told me. The Chinese were brilliant at making things if other people brought them the plans. But they did not innovate and they did not invent. They did not imagine. So they sent a delegation to the US, to Apple, to Microsoft, to Google, and they asked the people there who were inventing the future about themselves. And they found that all of them had read science fiction when they were boys or girls.”