Colleges defend the humanities
Oregon State University President Ed Ray flinched when a stranger confronted him to say his daughter had just graduated from the school with a degree in philosophy.
“I thought, ‘Oh my God,’” says Ray, who expected he would have to fend off yet another diatribe about the questionable value, in a weak employment market, of majoring in philosophy and other humanities subjects.
In fact, the man wanted to thank him, Ray says. His daughter, he said, had just gotten a good job as an ethicist at a hospital.
Ray’s anxiety was understandable. As rising tuition and mounting student debt makes prospective income a bigger part of choosing a major, humanities disciplines such as philosophy and history are under attack in favor of such fields as engineering and business, which are more likely to lead to jobs and salaries that justify the cost of four-year college education....
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