Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The vital role of the humanities and social sciences

A new report by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences Commission on the Humanities and Social Science, titled The Heart of the Matter, looks at the vital role of the humanities and social sciences in preparing and sustaining Americans for the responsibility of productive citizenship in the United States and the world.

The Heart of the Matter focuses on five areas of concern—K-12 Education; Two- and Four-Year Colleges; Research; Cultural Institutions and Lifelong Learning; and International Security and Competitiveness—and makes recommendations to achieve three goals:

  • Educate Americans in the knowledge, skills, and understanding needed to thrive in
    a 21st century democracy:
    • Invest in the preparation of citizens
      with a thorough grounding in history, civics, and social studies.
    • Increase access to online resources,
      including teaching materials.
  • Foster an innovative, competitive, and strong society.
    • To ensure the vibrancy of humanities
      and social science programs at all levels, philanthropists, states, and the federal
      government should significantly increase funding designated for these purposes.
    • Create a Humanities Master Teacher
      Corps to complement the STEM Master Teacher Corps recently proposed by the White
  • Equip the nation for leadership in an interconnected world.
    • Develop a “Culture Corps” that would
      match interested adults (retirees, veterans, artists, library and museum personnel)
      with schools, community centers, and other organizations to transmit humanistic
      and social scientific expertise from one generation to the next.
    • Expand education in international
      affairs and transnational studies.

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