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U. Kansas Cutting Humanities Department, As Wokeness Destroys Academia From Within

U. Kansas Cutting Humanities Department, As Wokeness Destroys Academia From Within

“It also will eliminate degrees in Humanities and Visual Art Education.”

Humanities departments at multiple schools have seen reductions in recent years. At some schools, the departments have been completely cut.

That’s what seems to be unfolding at the University of Kansas today.

The Associated Press reports, via KSN News:

University of Kansas eliminates 2 degrees, 1 department

The University of Kansas says it plans to eliminate two undergraduate programs and an entire department in a cost-cutting move.

Provost Barbara Bichelmeyer told the Kansas Board of Regents Wednesday 15 undergraduate programs did not meet enrollment requirements.

The university plans to discontinue its Humanities department. It also will eliminate degrees in Humanities and Visual Art Education.

This is part of an ongoing trend.

Michael T. Nietzel wrote at Forbes in 2019:

Whither The Humanities: The Ten-Year Trend In College Majors

Labor economists have predicted the need for more college graduates in coming years, citing the upticks in cognitive and technical skills the future economy will demand from workers. Such projections focus not only on the number of needed graduates but also the fields of study that will be most in demand.

How are college students responding to this information? Are they shifting to more occupationally entitling majors as many have suggested? Anecdotal reports suggest the arts and humanities have suffered substantial decreases, but national figures are seldom invoked to back such claims.

The most complete data on the majors of college graduates are reported by the National Center for Education Statistics, which charts the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded by U.S. colleges and universities in 32 degree fields…

Which majors are the losers, which the winners?

Considering those majors with at least 1000 graduates, nine fields of study experienced decreases in awarded baccalaureate degrees over this ten-year period despite the overall increase in college graduates.

These numbers are telling:

– Education suffered the most dramatic loss, a decrease of 20,021 graduates (19%); not since 1986 have there been so few education graduates.
– English saw a decline of 22% or 12,301 graduates.
– Philosophy and religious studies declined 15%.
– Transportation graduates also dropped 15%.
– Architecture and related fields were down 7%.
– Foreign language graduates were off 5%.
– Liberal arts and general studies had a dip of 3%.

In another 2019 article from Inside Higher Ed, Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt writes:

Academic Prioritization or Killing the Liberal Arts?

Many faculty members consider “academic prioritization” a dangerous buzzword used by college administrators to signal the imminent demise of one academic department or program and the forthcoming expansion of another.

This term is increasingly being employed, in theory and in practice, by administrators at liberal arts colleges and universities across the country to explain or justify decisions to cut certain programs or even entire departments. Such decisions are essentially a death sentence for the liberal arts. It is a simultaneous devaluation of the many underrepresented, first-generation and social justice-oriented faculty (who were hired as a result of various diversity initiatives) who teach in disciplines such as foreign languages, women’s and gender studies, area studies, critical race and global studies, etc.

Silent alarms go off in our heads and red flags begin waving whenever the term is used, because we know such euphemisms usually mean departments that serve the public good, such as the humanities, social sciences and even some sciences like math and physics, are going to be sacrificed for a robust expansion of other job-oriented programs such as health sciences, business administration, sports management and various pre-professional and polytechnic programs that serve the market-driven, neoliberal interests and profit-driven model of education.

Social justice-oriented faculty and people hired through diversity initiatives?

When you put it that way, maybe these cuts aren’t such a bad thing.

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STEMs should have required exposure to such classes to provide a more well rounded education . The major question is just how rigorous is the future education or just more watered down participation awards .

The Biden admin crushing tone deafness to trades is another issue.

    alaskabob in reply to alaskabob. | February 20, 2021 at 3:35 pm

    I started out in college with a sort of leaning toward STEM but solidified it when I transferred to NCSU for Nuclear Engineering. Knowing this would be it for anything else, I took music, history, language and politics courses at State. Good news was that I really know those were a contribution… bad news… when I decided after graduation to give it a go at applying to medical school those courses pulled down the GPA! Oops!! I made up ground in PBUG and grad school.. successfully. I’d do the same again. Reality demands that the overall need for pure majors in these liberal arts is overdone. Now… “free” education will result in more of these majors and less qualified people for a workforce.

    When I was studying for my BS in IT/IS, I was in fact required to take courses in a wide variety of non-stem topics. English, literature, social science electives, etc.

    I found them to be short on rigor and long on propaganda/indoctrination.

    No one should be forced to take that garbage.

    Albigensian in reply to alaskabob. | February 20, 2021 at 9:50 pm

    It’s tough to learn STEM without good instruction. But humanities existed long before it had a home in academia, and it will persist now that academics have destroyed it in the academy.

    It’s not as if there are no sources, online and elsewhere, to learn whatever in the humanities interests you.

    Although you’d think those who work in academic humanities departments would know better than to trash their own academic disciplines. After all, even a dog knows not to poop in its kennel.

    Ronbert in reply to alaskabob. | February 21, 2021 at 9:42 am

    The Uni I graduated from required 157 semester hours for an engineering degree. 30 hours were liberal arts 30 hours were electives of which 15 were in LA. Of the 390 graduates 330 were engineers. My Grand Daughter graduated from the same Uni and there were 740 graduates. 16 were engineers.

We’re always going to need some humanities. Philosophy, religious studies, English, and foreign languages are important (see alaskabob’s comment, above).

But it doesn’t follow that each requires a major program at each and every university. We don’t need for every state university to have a degree program, or graduate programs, in each of these. What we need is enough of each at each college and university to ensure that the undergraduates have proper exposure and education.

There’s a certain balance required. A few generations back we didn’t expect “teacher’s colleges” to load up on STEM, and we didn’t expect urban universities to do A & M. Take away the diversity nonsense (please!) and there’s a need for only so much humanities.

A large state might do well to have first-rate graduate programs in humanities at their flagship university, and none at the others. At those other schools the humanities departments might not even have any majors but rather would be committed to exposing students to what they’ll need in life.

    healthguyfsu in reply to stevewhitemd. | February 20, 2021 at 3:04 pm

    Answering both alaskabob and stevewhite above.

    Yes, some universally beneficial humanities courses should be part of a STEM curriculum. Ethics, Critical thinking, etc.

    However, I think this is a good move, and I seriously doubt they are eliminated entirely. I’m not convinced that the high sticker price of academia is the place for humanities degree programs that tend to be dead end diplomas (or feed the Higher Ed bubble because it’s almost the only viable place). Maybe these basic humanities programs, if they survive, can focus more on quality over quantity. Limit the number of majors allowed in based on merit (not quotas) and make it competitive entry.

    Other, for profit places can charge an arm and a leg for the frivolous sect if the less competitives still want to waste their money. It shouldn’t be done with tax dollars.

    Brave Sir Robbin in reply to stevewhitemd. | February 20, 2021 at 6:32 pm

    “We’re always going to need some humanities. Philosophy, religious studies, English, and foreign languages are important”

    True. Unfortunately, what we now have is ideological indoctrination courses.

    They do more harm than good. Shut it down.

Not like this is the first misstep from the University of Kansas system.


General Studies is where you end up after going to college for 5+ years and never doing well at anything. A loser team mate of mine went from computer science to that because after 6 years of college, he couldn’t cut the advanced CS classes. His partial athletic scholarship ran out, his parents were done paying, he was racking up student loan debt and he needed to “finish college.”

The “soft” degrees will never fully go away. They have to have the somewhere for the football and basketball and other scholarship athletes go. I was on full athletic scholarship and I recall one of my college coaches mocking me because I wanted to go to summer school and get a jump on some of the harder math/physics courses. Trust me, that’s not why most athletes are going to summer school.

Though this bunch of faculty hate Jordan Peterson, they should be on their knees thanking him for giving their fields of study credibility.

    henrybowman in reply to Andy. | February 20, 2021 at 6:50 pm

    “The “soft” degrees will never fully go away. They have to have the somewhere for the football and basketball and other scholarship athletes go.”

    Because they “deserve” a degree?
    Isn’t that where this whole can of worms began?

    I’ve never been on board with the fantasy that we need universities to function as prestigious training camps for professional athletes. For those who strongly disagree, let the universities offer bachelor programs in athletics (with a minor in basketball-ology or whatever) and leave the rest of the academic standards as they used to be. Such a degree will be exactly as meaningful as everyone realizes they actually are. Then the battle will move on to the NBA, NHL, NL, etc. as to how they can justify “requiring” an athletic degree on an applicant’s resume when there are so many equally-talented but uncredentialed ex-felon hoodrats looking to turn their lives around. They can spend a little of a treasure vaults they rake off these kids on that sort of PR/lawsuit action.

Psalm 34:21 Evil will slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.

Evil does destroy itself, but will any of us be left alive before the woke are gone?

There’s always kinesiology degree.
, or how to play sports… most of my daughters D1 basketball team were doing that while she was pre med

Libertas_7_4_1776 | February 20, 2021 at 4:22 pm

Cultural suicide.

The cancel culture began in the easy field of the humanities. Under-education PhDs of no accomplishment spread like a cancer in the humanities, fueled by student loans and grad departments that wanted the money for their own personal wealth. Grievance Studies and conformity were key to a PhD and an easy gig at a university complete with an outrageous salary. Of course these graduates are not just useless, they are in fact dangerous to hire. They believe their work is to destroy the employer, not fortify the corporation or agency that employs these hacks.

    henrybowman in reply to puhiawa. | February 20, 2021 at 6:56 pm

    You will note that in this article, the Humanities degrees being cancelled don’t include any of the grievance studies majors, presumably because they are still generating tuition revenue. Never mind that as they grow, they will consume and destroy your entire institution. It’s like the blissful feeling of warmth you get just before freezing to death.

No university should be receiving public funds, but in lieu of a total defunding the Japanese Model will have to do.

The cuts should be in the following curriculums…

– Journalism
– Sociology
– Political Science
– [fill-in-the-blank] Studies

IOW, in the curriculums based primarily on Marx’s theories.

I’ve mixed feelings about this. Some of the cuts I’m quite happy about. Once I ended up being forced to take a class where we were “taught” that the theory of evolution was just another example of how the patriarchy was denying “other ways of knowing”, and said other ways of knowing where used by women and non-whites. We were also “taught” that science, as a whole, was just a tool of oppression.

I’d be really happy if all of those classes and programs were cut.

What I’m sad about is the splash damage. I had an English class taught by an older professor who clearly really cared about literature, and taught how to read and appreciate a book or poem, and explained why the author/poet made the choices they did. It would be sad if all of literature’s greats were forgotten.

I am honestly encouraged by this and don’t have mixed feelings. It may sound horrible but we need to judge things by what they are today not what they used to be.

“WHOA! Weren’t you a Gender Studies professor? What are you doing at the drive up window ?”

Students are voting with their feet (or with their tuition dollars). Enrollment in Computer Science and STEM are increasingly popular. Grievance studies continue to be in low demand.

Kansas is taking the correct approach. Other schools are responding by requiring classes in “anti-racism”. This has the effect of steering more tuition dollars to departments that otherwise do not have the students to justify their separate existence.

Students want careers in investment banking, computer science, high tech, medicine, and law. Very few want careers in “student administration”, “Africana Studies”, etc. The Cornell English Department changed its name in the hope of becoming more popular and relevant.

Personally, I believe the humanities, as traditionally taught, would help us find our way out of wokeness. If more students had internalized the value of the individual and the philosophy of knowledge, they would have laughed a lot of these ideas out of academia.

A smart move in my opinion. You cannot justify things like gender, ethnic studies, which are designed to indoctrinate and are staffed by activists. Foreign languages, yes. They are the best part of the humanities.

So much money to be saved in big salaries for chairs, vice- chairs deans etc.

I remember one of my best friends in California went off to Kansas University to study pharmacology. That made sense.
Majoring in gay or gender studies is as dumb as it gets. What are you going to do with it when you graduate except get a PhD and indoctrinate the next generatiuon.